17. Aug 2015

Like a  “living object”

Photos: Marina Mellado, Lexus

Luz is designed to provide ambient light in indoor spaces. Luminous intensity and colour respond to and change according to weather conditions and time of day. It is a “living object” with a simple internal brain which it uses to transform the atmosphere in a room in a subtle but powerful way.

Luz consists of a T-shaped aluminum ring containing two RGB LED SMD 5050 strips, which wrap around the circumference, one attached to the outer surface, and the other to the inner surface. The LED strips are concealed within the extruded profile and illuminate the wall both inside and outside of the ring. It can be very easily mounted onto any wall in the home using just two simple screws. Two small key-hole shapes on the rear side of the fixture are placed over the screws, and when rotated just a fraction Luz is fixed securely to the wall. The creative mind behind Luz is Marina Mellado Mendieta. After studying Product Design in Spain, during which time she was a BA exchange student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdansk and at Central Saint Martins in London, she is currently an Industrial Design Master Programme student. The focus of her work is improving everyday aspects of life, applying product design skills with cultural influences and technology to achieve the right balance. Luz was inspired by Marina’s own experience when living in Northern Europe for two years and studying at Gdansk. As winter approached, the days became shorter and the weather more cloudy, rainy and snowy. People became moody or saddened due to the lack of daylight. Marina thought a lot about her sunny hometown and the physical and emotional warmth she felt in that society. It was then that she started to develop the design of a luminaire where the light interacts with nature and removes the barrier between the inside and the outside of a home. “I wanted the light to be alive, and to breathe life into the home,” she explains. Originally Luz was designed with a diameter of 100 centimetres, which lends itself to the majority of domestic surroundings. During the development phase with Lexus, designer Max Lamb and the manufacturer, Marina realised it was also possible to design the fixture with different sized diameters. At the “Lexus – A Journey of the Senses” exhibition during the Milan Design Week 2015 two sizes were presented: a 60-centimetre diameter Luz, which provides a more intimate quality of light for smaller homes and rooms, and a 100-centimetre diameter version, whereby the light generates an immersive experience. In future it will also be possible to produce another version of Luz with an even larger diameter, possibly for public spaces and commercial environments. Both LED strips are connected to an open source micro controller that receives data (luminous intensity and colour temperature) about the atmosphere outside sent wirelessly from a sensor placed by the window. The micro controller translates the information into RGB light colours in both LED strips. For example, when it is cloudy, the light will be bright orange, simulating the sun, and when it is dark outside, the light can be bright blue and refreshing. Right now an app is being developed which enables the user to change the luminous colours depending on the weather conditions. Images can be shared online and compared with people using Luz from all over the planet whose environmental conditions and emotions are totally different. Luz was the Prototype winner of the Lexus Design Award 2015.

Project team:

Design: Marina Mellado
Mentor: Max Lamb
Collaboration: Victor Mazón and Angel Azpicueta


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