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MONDO ARC

Jake Dyson

Issue 45 Oct / Nov 2008


As Jake Dyson launches the next generation in the Motorlight series, he reveals his passion for the mechanics and engineering behind good design.

Hailed as the world’s first variable angle uplight, Jake Dyson’s Motorlight Floor broke new ground when it was unveiled in 2007. Now, the designer has created a wall version promising to build on the success of its predecessor.

Working from his studio in Clerkenwell, London, Dyson is a relative newcomer to lighting design. His creative aspirations however, date back to his teens when a family friend taught him the skill of using a mill and lathe. Dyson later graduated in Industrial Design from the prestigious Central St Martins College of Art and Design before working as an interior designer, then with a manufacturer, to acquire hands-on knowledge of the process of designing and manufacturing a product from start to finish.

In due course he purchased his own mill and lathe and set up his first workshop in which to begin experimenting. In 2003 the Jake Dyson Studio was established and, along with his small team of design engineers, their first inventions were born.

Dyson’s decision to tackle lighting stems from his time as an interior designer. “I found that lighting, particularly uplighting hadn’t had any attention paid to it,” he explains. “I enjoy experimenting with light and as an interior designer felt that uplighting had been completely neglected. I realised that more could be done about angle adjustments and being able to control what you’re illuminating upwards.”

The Motorlight Floor was two years in development and the fulfilment of Dyson’s vision of a light that offers greater versatility, as well as being aesthetically pleasing. It is constructed using an innovative mix of materials and uses a single lamp and angle adjusting reflector. The uplight allows the user to adjust the beam angle between 8 degrees and 60 degrees, from a tight spotlight to a wide flood of light. As the aluminium wheel at the front of the luminaire rotates, the outer reflector raises and lowers thus increasing and decreasing the width of the beam. The Motorlight can be set to a precise angle of light or can be activated to cycle through continually adjusting angles for ‘active’ mood lighting that almost give the impression that the room is ‘breathing’.

The new Motorlight Wall follows in the footsteps of the floorlight. As the name suggests, it is a wall-mounted version which can be appointed singularly or as a series. Its motorised shutter smoothly opens between minimum and maximum angles of 10 and 120 degrees on a 45 second cycle. This latest addition to the series is operated via remote control, which means that the light can be programmed to open automatically with mesmerising effects. The remote control can operate up to 30 lights simultaneously, allowing control the shaft of light and brightness on each luminaire individually, or as a group.

Dyson’s progression to develop a variable angle wall uplight came about following feedback from commercial architects: “The floor light is very good for lighting up walls and ceiling detail and is a piece that you place on the floor so it becomes part of the furniture. However a lot of architects had commented on the fact that if it is placed in the path of human traffic, it becomes an obstacle and could be damaged.”

He continues: “I wanted to produce an architectural fitting that is robust, but still a focus piece in the room. The wall light still hadn’t been paid any attention in the form of uplighting and there was nothing on the market with angle adjustment features or synchronisation of multi units by remote control. So it’s another one in the family involving new technology and giving the user more functions.”

Each Motorlight is hand assembled and comes in a variety of colourways. The transparent ‘Clear Glow’ in particular shows Dyson’s dedication to the mechanical workings of the product, a philosophy that lies at the heart of all his inventions. The Jake Dyson Studio focuses its efforts on coming up with new ideas that are not only visually stunning, but also go where no-one has gone before in providing innovative, functional benefits.

Other than in entertainment, the industry has steered away from lights that move mechanically because of their expense, maintenance, and perceived short life. However Dyson and his team have welcomed the challenge embarking on their own stringent life testing methods.

“The biggest challenge we face is educating people,” says Dyson. “We’ve already life tested for five years of non stop use with only one sighted failure, but until people use the lights they won’t understand how well designed they are and the life that can be expected.”

After previously being misconstrued as the ‘new Lava Lamp’, consumers and architects are coming around to the Motorlight series and to Dyson’s mechanical style of designing, comparable to that of his father’s (inventor of the Dyson vacuum cleaner).
“I love lighting,” exclaims Dyson. “Particularly the mechanics of what we’re doing and the detailed engineering that we’ve used for the lights. It’s one of the things that drives me.”

For now Dyson’s focus remains on lighting and developing the third addition to the Motorlight family: “I intend to continue the series with an exterior version potentially for swimming pools and ponds, for lighting trees in parks, and to illuminate large buildings. That’s my next conquest.”

www.jakedyson.com

 

JAKE DYSON
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