CADA Design Group share their views on LED lighting for food retail
November 23, 2011
For our latest expert interview, we spoke to David Callcott (Chairman) and Stephen Richardson (Head of Interior Design) of CADA Design Group. Headquartered in London, CADA Design provides strategic consulting, fresh
thinking and creative design expertise to a national and international portfolio of clients including AMD,
Dean & DeLuca, Harrods, INTERSPORT and Nike.
How would you describe the current status of LED lighting in UK food retail?
DC: LED lighting is definitely in vogue at the moment. I would say its current status is still new but it’s taking off rapidly. In terms of overall lux levels, LED lighting is not there yet but it’s certainly getting there for accent lighting.
In fact, the real move forward that we see here in the UK in terms of food retail is LED accent lighting. In the past, with conventional lighting, it’s been a struggle to bring lighting very close to the products. We’ve had to light from afar, relying on a spread of light which doesn’t always hit and if it does, goes into shadow under the displays. The emphasis for LED accent lighting should be to redefine it in terms of bringer light closer to the product and of course one of the big advantages for food is that it doesn’t generate heat.
We visited Carrefour’s new hypermarket concept earlier this year and were really impressed by the way LED lighting was used to define the fresh food departments. It created a strong differential between departments and all the light was concentrated on the product displays.
Have you seen any particularly interesting LED lighting products or applications recently?
DC: Actually, one of the really interesting LED lighting applications we saw earlier this year at Euroshop is edge lighting close to the product on shelving systems. That caught our eye more than anything else.
Where do you think LED lighting can be used to greatest success in food retail stores at the moment?
SR: Right now it’s probably most useful in accent lighting applications. In terms of brightness, there is still a way to go for the technology for general lighting applications however I’m sure it will get there. It’s a growing technology, moving forward, but of course may not ever fully replace what we have at the moment.
LED scores particularly well in terms of food, both because of the heat and because you need different types of lighting for different types of food.
In terms of R&D, where do you think LED lighting manufacturers should be focusing their efforts right now?
SR: Well one of the main issues with LED lighting now is affordability, we would love to specify more of it but the upfront cost is difficult. However we’re told that there is a very long fixture life which would go some way towards solving this issue but the technology has not been out there long enough to find out.
DC: Also, it seems that manufacturers out there are concentrating on improving the lux levels and as a consequence it can actually be difficult to find fixtures with the right aesthetics to achieve the overall look. The aesthetics of lighting fixtures are a big part of the interior atmosphere and it is definitely difficult at the moment to find the right objects for this.
SR: LED lighting needs to find its own feet in terms of aesthetics. The technology lends itself to different shapes and forms. It would be good to see fixtures become smaller, sleeker and neater. It would also be interesting to see new ways for example of integrating more into cabinetry and surfaces. LED can really score on new forms and totally new ways of applying it and somebody needs to do some development work on this whole area.
New ideas about sustainable store design are creating an impact on how lighting is deployed in stores. What trends are you seeing in this regard?
SR: Things are slowly changing and some high street retailers are darkening their stores. However this is happening more in fashion where they are dropping their light levels.
It’s complicated though because in retail, lower lux levels are generally used to show that a store is higher end and equally, higher lux levels tend to mean low to mid market.
This new approach is also starting to happen in the food area where store designers are creating more ambience by using more light levels on the food.
There are many retailers trialling all-LED concept stores at the moment, do you believe these will translate into roll-outs?
SR: Yes, I don’t believe that all-LED stores are just concept stores, I believe that they will genuinely happen. Retailers are exploring this from a cost point of view right now. If LED proves itself in terms of longevity and cost savings, the technology will get there.
DC: But here’s something else to think about in relation to new technologies. Think about all new technologies and third world countries. All other countries have the old technologies and it takes years to migrate to the new ones. As a new technology, perhaps LED should also be targeted at emerging nations and it would really fly!
CADA Design Group
Suite 4, 9 Bell Yard Mews
London SE1 3UY