Negotiating technology change: the challenge of designing lighting with LEDs for domestic settings

  • YEAR
    McDermott, Ruth
    Stewart, Susan
    2015 Conference Papers
    Conference Papers
    Thermal Comfort, Lighting and Acoustics


The focus of this paper is on the shift from the GLS (incandescent) technologies that dominated 20th century experience of light, to Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs). It argues that expectations, based upon the performance and behaviour of 20th century lighting technologies, have profoundly influenced the direction taken in developing LED technologies for lighting design applications. However, the light from LEDs, stubbornly refuses to conform to the norms of previous forms of lighting. As a light source the LED is completely different in feeling, form and technological delivery, and does not easily create the same lighting conditions as the 20th century light sources. The profound differences between GLS and LED lighting mean that the expectations of both designers and consumers are often inappropriate, and contribute to unsatisfactory applications of the technology. This paper reports on findings from experimental, practice-based research into approaches to lighting design using LED technologies. The research posed a series of questions around designing with LEDS: How can designers come to grips with the challenges and potential of LED technology? What changes in attitudes and expectations for lighting does this new technology require from designers and consumers? What radically different possibilities for lighting design might emerge once we move beyond the conditioning and practices established by 20th century light sources?


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