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Company overview: Visa Lighting and the evolution of lighting technology
With lighting technology developing faster than ever, it is no wonder that more companies have taken the steps toward LED, and now OLED, product development and innovation. Visa Lighting, an architectural lighting company based in Milwaukee, Wis., that prides itself on American manufacturing, sustainable practices, and commitment to high-quality illumination products, is at the forefront of both LED and OLED product development. While most are familiar with the application of LED-based fixtures, OLEDs (Organic Light Emitting Diodes) have sprung up for use in the A+D market only within the last few years.
“OLEDs have widespread use in backlighting phone and small display screens,” noted Jay Eissner, senior research and development engineer at Visa Lighting. “It was only in the last two years that OLEDs bright enough to practically illuminate a space have become available.” These advancements in technology have allowed Visa to release OLED-based fixtures for general use over the last year. This is not to say its LED research and development strides have halted, as the company is coming out with innovative LED-based fixtures that allow for more user control than ever before.
As illustrated in the timeline below, both LED and OLED technology have rapidly advanced. The industry can eagerly anticipate ample innovation in the new generation of products from Visa Lighting in the years to come.
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Daniela Marquez graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in 2017 with a B.F.A. in Interior Design. She will be starting her M.Arch at the Georgia Institute of Technology this fall.
EXPANSION of LED TECHNOLOGY
LEDs were typically coming from electronic component manufacturers—not intended for illumination. During this time, Visa Lighting had research and development engineers such as Eissner experimenting with color mixing using RGB LEDs. Visa also hired a dedicated LED product manager in 2006 to start overseeing the production and development of LED lighting fixtures.
FIRST LED FIXTURE SOLD
Visa Lighting sells its first LED fixture, a custom mirror for a children’s hospital. The company was asked to design a mirror that emitted a warm glow of light from the sides to function as a nightlight. LEDs were selected for their long lifetime and low energy usage; however, at the time, they were only available in a cool white light. To create the warm glow, a color filter was used.
LED FIXTURE INTRODUCED as a STANDARD CATALOG PRODUCT
Visa Lighting introduces a standard catalog LED product, a hybrid fluorescent/LED pendant. This was known as a hybrid fixture due to its main light source being an indirect fluorescent light while LEDs lit the luminous bowl on the bottom. The reason for the use of both light types was the high dollars-per-lumen cost of LEDs at the time. This allowed Visa to get into LED lighting without creating an excessively expensive product.
SHIFT to ALL LED and OLED PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT
Visa Lighting shifts product-development focus on LED and OLEDs. In the commercial A+D market during the 1990s and 2000s, halogen and incandescent lamps were typically replaced by fluorescents. Yet, with the development of LED quality and lower price points, LEDs began to replace most other light sources. Visa Lighting also decided to start building OLED fixtures as technology demonstration models.
TWO OLED FIXTURES INTRODUCED as STANDARD CATALOG PRODUCTS
Visa unveils two OLED fixtures as standard catalog products: Petal and Limit. OLED fixtures solve the issue of glare while maintaining excellent color rendition. With Petal, a pendant that offers exceptional ambient light, designers have the option of uplighting or downlighting areas that require a high quality of light, whether alone or in a clustered configuration. Limit, on the other hand, creates a soft, organic flow through its zigzag shape. Both hold multiple OLED panels that have three dimmable settings and allow for unique fixture designs.
FIRST TUNABLE WHITE/COLOR LED FIXTURE INTRODUCED
Symmetry is introduced as the first tunable white/color LED fixture. As Visa’s latest release, Symmetry is available in three models that allow for maximum LED controllability: the Tunable White LED model, Over-Bed Patient Room model, and General Use Ambient model. The LED technology facilitates control of FC levels ranging from 30 to 100, and color temperature controls from 1650K to 8000K, all while maintaining a 90 CRI. Symmetry will become a pioneer in solving the issue of circadian-effective light exposure in architectural spaces.