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Issue 45 Oct / Nov 2008

David Morgan puts Bruno Gecchalin’s Technica range for iGuzzini to the test.

Bruno Gecchalin has produced some wonderfully innovative and distinctive luminaire ranges for iGuzzini over the course of his career, including the Shuttle spotlight range that won the highly prestigious Golden Compasses Award in 1989.

Last year he produced the Technica range for iGuzzini, a series of spotlights targeted at the museum, gallery and retail display lighting markets. Given the quality of Gecchalin’s work for iGuzzini over the years, expectations for Technica range were naturally high.

The cylindrical design of Technica looks back to the 1970s when Concord Lighting and others first enclosed PAR 38 lamps in spun aluminium cylinders. At that time iGuzzini was hardly known in the UK while Concord was the design leader in display lighting. Things have come a long way since then and now iGuzzini are one of the leading brands while Concord struggle to maintain their share in this area of the market.

However, with the Technica range, Gecchalin and iGuzzini seem to be design followers rather than leaders. The Erco Parscan range introduced a year earlier than Technica has a remarkably similar cylinder shape and hinged arm mechanism. The difference between the two is that the Erco design maintains the very clean cylindrical theme by housing the control gear in a separate cylindrical housing behind the lamp compartment, while the Technica range places these components in a rectangular plastic track-mounted box.

Despite the somewhat derivative design, the Technica range is comprehensive and covers a wide variety of lamp options in the three body sizes. Light sources range from 50W MR16 LV lamps up to 150 CDM and mains PAR 30 lamps.

The low voltage version operates capsule lamps up to 100 Watts and there is a screw adjustment device that moves the lampholder relative to the reflector to focus the lamp. In the flood version the beam angle can be adjusted while with the spot reflector the adjustment is only meant to adjust the optimum lamp position. One of the detail flaws with the design is that the reflectors are interchangeable but are held in place with three spring clips – not so easy if you only have two hands.

Where the Technica range seems to come into its own is with the accessory holder. Moulded in high temperature plastic it can take up to three accessories including colour filters and honeycomb louvers. The wire spring that holds the accessories in place is easy to fit and the whole assembly has an effective twist and lock mechanism that holds it into the spotlight body. There are two designs of snoot that also fit onto the accessory holder to make a sub assembly for easier lamp replacement.

Some of the wide range of colour correction filters, louvers and other accessories are also used in the Jean Michel Wilmotte designed Express range.

The gear enclosure for the low voltage and metal halide versions is integrated with the track adapter and sits in line with the track. This separation of gear and lamp overcomes many thermal problems where the lamps can overheat sensitive electronic ballasts, however it does not give the most elegant product configuration. The LV transformer incorporated a dimmer with a neat finger control so that the output from each luminaire could be individually adjusted.

In the 100 Watt low voltage halogen sample that I received there was a rather difficult to operate and ineffective plastic clip that prevents the end of the gear enclosure from drooping away from the track. The instruction sheet shows a different type of fixing for the medium size version which I was testing involving a screw rather than the plastic clip so perhaps this detail has changed on recent production. The gear enclosure plastic mouldings on my sample were a bit distorted and did not fit together particularly well.

The Technica range can be fixed in both vertical and horizontal axes with neat locking screws. This mechanism, to prevent aiming being accidentally changed during relamping, works well and is very discrete.
The Technica range has many good technical points and looks neat but some details of the build quality and the design prevent it from achieving the highest design standards that I would expect from iGuzzini and Bruno Gecchalin.


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