Yes you read that right! Jake Dyson, son of Sir James Dyson, who claims he hasn’t just changed the lightbulb, but created a new kind of light entirely.
By seeking to design a light bulb that lasts a lifetime, Jake Dyson and his firm Jake Dyson Products
have made Ariel, a suspended light which apparently lasts 40 years before the bulb needs replacing. How they have determined this timescale since it was only launched in 2013 is unclear.
Designing lights since 2006 (no, I never heard if him either)
, Jake seemingly became frustrated with the 'stagnant state of lighting', where beautiful lamps are sold for a high price yet designed with little attention to the function. I can relate to that as the owner of several Louis Poulsen inspired lights.
“LEDs have the ability to last for life – that’s why they were invented in the first place,” Jake says. “But companies sell LED lights that only last seven years so they can sell more in seven years’ time. I want my product to go into spaces where the interior doesn’t want to be changed for at least 25 years: airports or high-profile buildings, for example. What airport would want a light that only lasts seven years? Is there a light out there that answers their needs? Probably not.”
It seems a tall order, but it is unclear if his designs are catering to homes or businesses.
In the cellar of his central London office, “the dungeon” as he refers to it, Jake Dyson and his team have tested lights on the market to see if they live up to their claims of long-lasting brightness and efficiency. And – spoiler alert – they don’t. “In some cases you can buy an LED product and six months later it’s 30% less bright – but you won’t realise that because you’re living with it,” Dyson told the Guardian, standing in front of several small piles of cardboard boxes containing his competitors’ products.
In comparison, the Ariel will maintain its brightness for 180,000 hours he says, which if the light was on for twelve hours a day, each day, at full brightness, is around forty years. Or thirty seven as they now claim.
Available in two models (although not officially launched yet that I can find till next May) - as a downlight (for targeted lighting of a kitchen island, or a bank of office desks) and an uplight (for general illumination of a room) – and it will retail at around £1,400
Ariel isn’t cheap. But it is apparently clever. In the four years it took to design it, Jake learned that to make an LED’s performance last as long as possible, it needs to be kept under 60 degrees centigrade.
For the Ariel, they got the heat down to 55 degrees, using pipes that draw the heat away from the LED as quickly as it is released. “It’s like a big radiator,” Jake explains. “The heat comes off the pipes, is transferred through the fins, and is then dispersed into the air, so you get a continual cycle of heat being removed.”
The light also has a unique lens to give greater illumination and, as Jake and his team found out: “You need three or four of our competitors’ fittings to do what one of ours is doing, and each one of their fittings is the same power as one of ours, so that’s four times more electricity, four times more installation cost, and four times the product purchased cost, so Ariel actually comes out cheaply in comparison.”
The Ariel is also ZigBee WiFi-enabled, so can be controlled via an app, allowing users to set timers, or to link up their Ariel(s) to external light sensors so the light is dimmer on a sunny day, and brighter when it gets darker.
It also records the light’s electricity consumption and converts that into the KW/hour cost in the country it’s installed in – something that, surprisingly, other apps haven’t yet caught onto at this energy-conscious time.
Innovative product design clearly runs in the family. But was the surname a help or a hindrance when Jake Dyson Products took off? “I’m not sure people took the product seriously when I first went out to sell my lights. Everyone in Britain’s got quite bitter about nepotism,” he says, matter-of-factly. In contrast, manufacturing the lights in Malaysia was a doddle: “Companies out there wouldn’t have touched a company [like mine], but because of the power of the Dyson name they bent over backwards to help me.” Ultimately he believes the quality of the product will speak for itself. “In Italy, where they make lights as beautiful objects, they looked at it and went…” Dyson kisses his fingertips: “Bellissimo.”
They are now plugging these on Dyson's US facing website. Although his own site seems to be down at the moment.
What are your thoughts on a £1400 LED light?