Dominique LaFond

“LEDs are changing the way we design fixtures. LED is not another source. It's a component that creates light, and that component has to be integrated into a system. It's no longer about a ‘new lamp in an old box' mentality, you have to redesign your product and that is capital intensive.”

Possessing a mixture of business acumen and design sensitivity, FX Souvay has established one of today's leading architectural lighting companies—Lumenpulse. The fact that its product base is focused on LEDs is a testament to Souvay's foresight. He first started thinking about launching his own lighting company in 2002, but at the time, he knew that LED technology wasn't stable enough. By 2006, though, that had changed, and advances, particularly in white light, were finally at a place where Souvay believed that he could offer something new to the existing industry matrix: uncompromising LED-specific luminaires.

What makes a great luminaire?
Our desire is to deliver the designer a toolbox.

What do you consider innovation in lighting?
The opportunity with solid-state lighting is that it is a networkable fixture. This means the fixture can serve as a communications gateway. That opens up exciting possibilities.

Does it matter how many lumens per watt an LED produces?
Lumens per watt is the most misleading metric in the industry right now. You don't choose any architectural or high-performance product based on lumens per watt. You choose those products based on candela distribution—how the fixture will distribute the light.

How do we get back to appropriate metrics?
We need to establish common metrics that are meaningful for the lighting industry.

Where do you see lighting heading?
There is a new skill set required, one that requires not just mechanical engineering and optics but an understanding of firmware, software, and the electronics supply chain.

What's the next big hurdle for SSL to tackle?
To create a more stable manufacturing process for white LEDs so you don't have to go through sophisticated binning methods to deliver consistent color and temperature.

What advice would you offer lighting designers who are frustrated by LEDs?
Lighting designers should evaluate the fixture's overall delivered performance. And work with manufacturers who are providing test results from independent laboratories only.