Illuminating the Brand: Cooledge Lighting Advances the Value of Lighting

Producing lighting products at the intersection of engineering and design, Vancouver’s Cooledge Lighting makes the illumination of space a consistent and valuable part of a brand’s premium.

Cooledge Lighting has been nominated for the BCTIA’s Technology Impact Awards in the category of Emerging Company of the Year.

Founded in 2009, Cooledge Lighting provides a long sought-after solution for architects and interior designers:  flat and flexible LED lighting that enhances illumination’s place in design, and frees it from the constraints of power source locations or spatial dimensions.

CEO Wade Sheen says, “What we’ve been working on from the very beginning is a way to address LED lighting from a systems level, to get away from the traditional model of luminaires that come in a box that you pull out and bolt into a building, and then connect to electrical wires.  We wanted to enable the vision that architects and designers have had for over a century of intimately integrating light in architecture.”

From an electrical code perspective their products do not require sophisticated engineering to implement.  Cooledge’s lighting solutions can be directly attached to drywall, painted surfaces, fabrics, and leathers. 

“It basically puts the lights and materials together in ways that have never been enabled before in the history of lighting.  From that, the lighting and architectural community have really embraced this product as a very high end light source that creates the luminous walls, luminous ceilings, luminous environments in which you don’t see a light fixture, or a light bulb.  You just have this high quality white light generated from the architecture itself,” says Sheen.

The opportunity and inspiration for this product came from the gap that existed between practical production methods in the lighting industry and the desires of the architecture and design communities. 

“The bulk of the lighting industry is heavily invested in building these luminaires, what you’d buy at home depot or at the lighting store, a fixture that you can hang in your building,” says Sheen. “That is different from what the architectural and lighting design community wanted.  They saw LED lighting as a discreet, almost digital kind of lighting that could be applied almost like a paintbrush across an area.  That’s what Cooledge enables.”

Since the meticulously-designed Apple Store brought the concept into retail’s mass consciousness, companies have been considering their retail spaces as an essential part of their branding and buyer’s journey, to such a degree that nuanced, consistent lighting has become an acute need.  These companies use specific, subtle lighting to create an atmosphere that reinforces their brand.

Sheen says, “Starting with Apple, the retail brands really look at their retail space as part of their branding.  The look and feel of that shopping environment is part of the brand, and because of that they really want a consistent look and feel.  

They really like our product because in retail space, from one individual retail site to another individual retail site, the dimensions may be different, where the columns sit, where the power sits may be very different, but with our light source being constructible on site, they really don’t have to worry about that.  It arrives to the contractor, and he just cuts it to length and fits it where he wants.  You certainly can’t do that with a fluorescent light bulb.”

These brands seek a consistent retail aesthetic across the globe in spite of the fact that spaces, structure, electrical codes, and local lighting expertise will undoubtedly be varied.  Cooledge enables that predictable consistency.

For the owners of the lights, Cooledge provides a trifecta of value with lights that are low cost due to their simplicity, high efficiency, and straightforward to dispose of as they are made from materials that are completely recyclable.

For the installation community – general and electrical contractors – Cooledge’s products are simple to understand and install.  The lighting system comes in 12×12 tiles which snap together.  One can cut off any excess, something that cannot be done with fixtures.  The product is so well designed that it does not require a licensed electrician to install.

Cooledge is already working with top brands such as Coach and Harley Davidson, as well as architecture firms Foster & Partners and Gensler.  In 2014, Cooledge earned over $2 million CAD and expects more than three times growth this year.

The need Cooledge addresses exists globally.  Being in the high-end lighting business means that their product is installed all over the world, from Dubai to Singapore.  This worldwide expansion and developing a global distribution network with localized support is the next focus for the company.

At this time, Cooledge is recruiting Project Engineers who have both the skill and interest in doing product development within the bounds of the Cooledge brand, working at the intersection of lighting design and engineering.

You can purchase tickets here to see Cooledge at the 2015 Technology Impact Awards.