written by:
February 1, 2014
The CEO of Flos USA addresses the versatility of LED and what's next for lighting design.
AIM lamps by Flos

Designed by the French brothers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, the AIM lamps can be configured in any number of ways. Photo by Philippe Jarrigeon.

1 / 6
AIM lamps by Flos

The AIM lamps' power cables double as a tactile, decorative element. Photo courtesy of Flos.

2 / 6
AIM lamps by Flos

A sketch for Flos' AIM pendant lamp. Image courtesy of Flos.

3 / 6
String Lights by Flos

Scheduled for release in May 2014, Flos' String Lights can be combined and customized. They are held together with thin black electrical cords that are drawn into taught, geometric shapes. Photo by Ben Murphy.

5 / 6
String Lights by Flos

The String Lights represent another way that Flos is, as Vingerhoets puts it, giving “people the tools to express themselves with our lights.” Photo by Ben Murphy.

6 / 6
AIM lamps by Flos

Designed by the French brothers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, the AIM lamps can be configured in any number of ways. Photo by Philippe Jarrigeon.

Jan Vingerhoets, the CEO of Flos USA, understands that no technological change is threatening to radically alter his industry—lighting—the way many believe that 3D printers are on the verge of upending manufacturing.

And he’s comfortable with that. Lighting, he said this week in a presentation on the future of interior design at New York’s Museum of Arts and Design, hasn’t fundamentally changed since Thomas Edison filed for a patent on the incandescent light bulb in 1879.

That has left Flos to innovate in subtler, more incremental ways, for example by adapting to and experimenting with LED lighting. “The big advantage of LED is that it’s small, it’s very long lasting and it enables you to be much more dynamic [and] creative,” he said. “The big downside is the cost. It’s much more expensive. Costs are coming down rapidly, however.”

Those developments have enabled Flos to retrofit some of its classic lamps—notably its signature Arco lamp—for LED lighting, providing a modern, efficient spin on a reliable classic. “All of our new concepts are LED-focused because it gives us a lot of freedom,” Vingerhoets said.

Vingerhoets also said he has observed a shift “to more indirect lighting, ambient lighting” in recent years. As an example, he cited the traditional office setup of desks, each with its own lamp. But the ubiquity of computers, with monitors that are their own light source, has rendered that arrangement all but obsolete, he said.

“Offices are changing, becoming almost like residences,” he said. “So the office, the meeting room, the desk, they all melt into each other, and we like that because we think it’s much more [of] a home feeling, it’s less of a cubicle feeling. Sharing is much more important. So when we thought about this, we started working more with light that is incorporated into the wall. We call it ‘soft architecture.”

The “soft architecture” effect is achieved, he said, by using a “special composite”— a lightweight stand-in for plaster that can be molded around LED lighting, making a wall appear to glow from within.

Vingerhoets said that one of Flos’ best-selling items over the last year has been its AIM line of pendant lamps. Designed by the French brothers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, the AIM lamps can be configured in any number of ways, its power cables serving as a tactile, decorative element. “You change it the way you want,” Vingerhoets said. “So the expression in these cases of yourself or your idea of doing things is very much there.”

He said Flos plans to release a similar line in May 2014 that it is calling String Lights. Designed by Michael Anastassiades, a Cyprus-born, London-based designer, the String Lights also can be combined and customized, held together with thin black electrical cords that are drawn into taught, geometric shapes. They represent another way that Flos is, as Vingerhoets puts it, giving “people the tools to express themselves with our lights.”

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

monogram dwell sf 039 1
After last year’s collaboration, we were excited to team up with Monogram again for the 2016 Monogram Modern Home Tour.
June 27, 2016
switch over chicago smart renovation penthouse deck smar green ball lamps quinze milan lounge furniture garapa hardwood
A strategic rewire enhances a spec house’s gut renovation.
June 26, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent coralie gourguechon treviso italy cphotos by coralie gourguechon co produced by isdat planche anatomique de haut parleur1
Coralie Gourguechon's paper objects will make you see technology in a whole new way.
June 26, 2016
green machine smart home aspen colorado facade yard bocci deck patio savant
Smart technology helps a house in Aspen, Colorado, stay on its sustainable course.
June 25, 2016
Rare green AD65 radio from Ecko.
The aesthetic appeal of personal electronics has long fueled consumer interest. A new industrial design book celebrates devices that broke the mold.
June 25, 2016
modern backyard deck ipe wood
An angled deck transforms a backyard in Menlo Park, California, into a welcoming gathering spot.
June 24, 2016
dscf5485 1
Today, we kicked off this year’s annual Dwell on Design at the LA Convention Center, which will continue through Sunday, June 26th. Though we’ve been hosting this extensive event for years, this time around is particularly special.
June 24, 2016
under the radar renovation napa
Two designers restore a low-slung midcentury gem in Napa, California, by an unsung Bay Area modernist.
June 24, 2016
light and shadow bathroom walnut storage units corian counter vola faucet
A Toronto couple remodel their home with a special emphasis on a spacious kitchen and a material-rich bathroom.
June 24, 2016
Affordable home in Kansas City living room
In Kansas City, an architecture studio designs an adaptable house for a musician on a budget.
June 23, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment oak vertical slats office
By straightening angles, installing windows, and adding vertical accents, architect Aaron Ritenour brought light and order to an irregularly shaped apartment in the heart of Athens, Greece.
June 23, 2016
kitchen confidential tiles custom cabinetry oak veneer timber house
A modest kitchen addition to a couple’s cottage outside of Brisbane proves that one 376-square-foot room can revive an entire home.
June 23, 2016
feldman architecture 0
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 22, 2016
Blackened timber Dutch home
A modern dwelling replaces a fallen farmhouse.
June 22, 2016
hillcrest house interior kitchen 3
Seeking an escape from bustling city life, a Manhattan couple embarks on a renovation in the verdant Hudson Valley.
June 22, 2016
angular
Atelier Moderno renovated an old industrial building to create a luminous, modern home.
June 21, 2016
San Francisco floating home exterior
Anchored in a small San Francisco canal, this floating home takes its cues from a classic city habitat.
June 21, 2016
modern renovation addition solar powered scotland facade steel balcony
From the bones of a neglected farmstead in rural Scotland emerges a low-impact, solar-powered home that’s all about working with what was already there.
June 21, 2016
up in the air small space new zealand facade corrugated metal cladding
An architect with a taste for unconventional living spaces creates a small house at lofty heights with a starring view.
June 21, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent marjan van aubel london cwai ming ng current window
Marjan Van Aubel makes technology a little more natural.
June 21, 2016
urban pastoral brooklyn family home facade steel cypress double
Building on the site of a former one-car garage, an architect creates his family’s home in an evolving neighborhood of Brooklyn.
June 20, 2016
Modern Brooklyn backyard studio with plexiglass skylight, green roof, and cedar cladding facade
In a Brooklyn backyard, an off-duty architect builds a structure that tests his attention to the little things.
June 20, 2016
the outer limits paris prefab home living area vertigo lamp constance guisset gijs bakker strip tablemetal panels
In the suburbs of Paris, an architect with an eco-friendly practice doesn’t let tradition stand in the way of innovation.
June 20, 2016
amaroso40040
When a garage damaged by termites had to go, a studio emerges.
June 19, 2016
the blue lagoon iceland geothermal spa hotel water visitors
The famed geothermal spa outside Reykjavík, Iceland, is entering a major new phase—paving the way for the area’s first five-star hotel.
June 19, 2016
heaven on earth maya lin topography what is missing california academy sciences wood video
A new monograph by Rizzoli explores the memorial project by the renowned artist.
June 19, 2016
gable game austin texas cantilevered home facade windows upper level car port
For Dwell's annual issue dedicated to indoor/outdoor living. Here, we introduce you to the photographers and writers who made it happen.
June 18, 2016
Modern prefab lakeside home in Bloomingdale, New Jersey
Every week, we highlight one amazing Dwell home that went viral on Pinterest. Follow Dwell's Pinterest account for more daily design inspiration.
June 18, 2016
Rectangular bento glass table with compartments.
These top-notch projects by design students earned a spot on our honor roll.
June 18, 2016
bozley all
Jory Brigham picks up his family’s trade and takes it in unexpected directions.
June 17, 2016