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Fluidity, flexibility and functionality: The latest generation of OLED lighting

Interior lighting has come a long way since the advent of the fluorescent tube. Links between lighting and perception of a visual space are well established, while the use of colour has been shown to have a profound effect on our emotional responses.

The latest technological developments are pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved in terms of both creativity and efficiency.

One such innovation is Organic Light Emitting Diodes, or OLED. While it is widely used in televisions and portable tech such as phones and tablets, it is also emerging as a choice for lighting designers wanting to create a stunning effect without eye-wateringly large energy bills.

Slimmer than regular LED products – OLEDs have no backlight – it’s a technology that is versatile and virtually glare-free, offering a plethora of possibilities. The modules emit a soft light akin to natural daylight, creating a relaxing, cosy atmosphere.

Natural style lighting is preferable to more obviously man-made versions as it shows off colours better and can make a room appear bigger by bouncing off reflective surfaces, not to mention helping people feel calmer and more focused.

OLED’s flexible nature allows it to be embedded in furniture, walls and textiles, redefining what can be achieved from a design point of view. It can even be used in conjunction with 3D printing techniques to create a stunning centrepiece.

Applelec supplied OLED modules for one such installation, The Ribbon, which was showcased recently at the London Design Festival. The shape emulates a flowing ribbon, celebrating the flexibility and fluidity of OLED.

Created by lighting artist Min Sang Cho, The Ribbon was 3D printed in its basic form and then delicately shaped and finished by hand, with 24-carat gold leaf applied to each piece to heighten the light reflection from the OLED modules.

The stunning centrepiece now resides in the VIP reception area of the Genting Highland Casino in Malaysia.

The sculpture is extremely energy efficient with remarkably low power consumption, using a mere 9W per unit. This is largely thanks to the fact that OLEDs have no backlight. Unlike regular LEDs, an OLED doesn’t just block the pixel shutter, but turns it off entirely, meaning it consumes no power when switched off.

Applelec is a trade supplier and manufacturer of signs, displays and lighting, based in Bradford, West Yorkshire. The company recently launched its innovative range of lighting modules that utilise OLED technology, revolutionising lighting design. For more, go to

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