Paris may be known as the City of Lights, but French company BLACKBODY has chosen NYC as the location of its new OLED showroom - the first of its kind in the world. BLACKBODY opened the new space to the public last night, illuminating SoHo's 25 Greene Street with futuristic chandeliers, over-sized lighting installations and even giant OLED-laced trees. Click through our gallery for a peek at some of the showroom's most intriguing and innovative offerings - from a mesmerizing light wall that does double duty as a mirror to a motion-activated ripple chandelier that uses an XBOX Kinect camera to detect when people are nearby.
Blackbody is the commercial design lighting arm of parent company, Astron FIAMM, which makes OLED lights for aerospace and automotive applications. Because of this existing expertise, Blackbody is able to leverage the R&D that has already been completed by its parent company to create revolutionary interior lighting products that use light in a new way.
So what exactly are OLEDs (Organic Light-Emitting Diodes) and how do they differ from LEDs and other lights? OLEDs are similar to LEDs in that they are energy-efficient and lightweight, but they also have additional benefits such as being ultra-flat (2mm thick), glare-free, shadow-free and nearly heat-free (they do get slightly warm but nothing compared to a traditional incandescent). OLEDs create more opportunities for out-of-the-box design uses by allowing for larger surfaces of light, and because of their non-dazzling appearance, they can be gazed upon freely with no need for shades or obstructions. According to Blackbody, the typical longevity of one of their bulbs is 20,000 hours, similar to that of an LED and much longer than an incandescent.
“With no shadows, glare, or heat, OLED fixtures provide soft, flattering and welcoming light. The romantic lighting, when incorporated into dramatic designs, creates a breathtaking display hardly accessible to other electronic lighting options,” said Alessandro Dolcetta, co-founder of BLACKBODY.
The showroom and many of the lighting pieces within were designed by BLACKBODY art director Thierry Gaugain, who is seen here demonstrating a portable light designed by BLACKBODY for Louis Vuitton. When not in use as a light, it doubles as a mirror.
“With the opening of our New York City showroom, we are glad to be introducing this new light to American designers and architects and are excited to see how they will integrate this technology in their work,” said Bruno Dussert-Vidalet, co-founder of BLACKBODY. In addition to members of the industry, the space will also be open to the public and those shopping for their own homes. There are numerous pre-fabricated designs available, but BLACKBODY also offers customized solutions. At the moment, the prices are on the steep side (about $8,000 for a wall column of lights and $30,000 for a large chandelier), but more affordable pieces are also available and of course the cost will eventually come down with volume.
BLACKBODY co-founder Bruno Dussert-Vidalet demonstrating how their light displays can do double duty as mirrors simply by switching them off.
The showroom’s opening party was co-hosted by international design magazine Intramuros and supported by WantedDesign. The new space is located at 25 Greene Street in Manhattan and is open Monday-Saturday from 10am-7pm.
Photos ©Yuka Yoneda