The light we're happy is late
Delaying a product's release is something that can fill any company with dread. Sales plans go out the window, production and delivery around the world comes to a screeching halt, and hundreds of people have at best a frantic job to make up for the unexpected stop.
But in the case of STRÖMLINJE LED worktop lighting, we couldn't be happier for a late arrival. You see by stopping production at the last minute, our engineers had the chance to make a more planet friendly light.
That's only part of the story though. STRÖMLINJE is also a type of light different to anything we've done before, and maybe a stepping-stone to lighting in the future too.
What is the perfect kitchen light?
Have you ever had dinner under bright kitchen lights? No matter how delicious your recipe, how well garnished it is, or even the addition of a few candles can make up for the fact that the light is all wrong. It's too functional. On the flipside, as anyone who's tried to stir-fry by candle light might know, those functional bright light qualities are essential for cooking.
Which is why it makes sense that the ideal kitchen light needs to wear a couple of hats. It should combine direct light for cooking and mood lighting for dining. Not to mention adapt to kitchens of all sizes and heights, as well as shrug off the odd burst of steam or splash of water. Combining all these needs together has been the ambition of STRÖMLINJE LED worktop lighting.
From a laptop screen to your kitchen
"STRÖMLINJE is the pilot project for a lighting technique that is actually completely new for us," says STRÖMLINJE engineer Lars Nilsson.
Lars explains STRÖMLINJE is the result of three years of research with a UK firm called Design LED into a lighting technique that was first developed for laptop screens and televisions.
"Using this technique lets us make lights that are very thin, flexible and can actually be connected together like building blocks to fit almost any sort of kitchen," Lars says.
They're also water resistant and can be dimmed or brightened by remote control, so you don't have to get up from the table if the ambience is off.
There was just one thing that wasn't right.
We’re our own toughest critics
Each country in the world has different regulations when it comes to making safe lighting. Because IKEA is so international it's our policy to have stricter regulations then any individual country. Which is why Lars had a special eye on STRÖMLINJE.
"This technology is completely new and as part of the construction we found there were trace elements of mercury used to harden the plastic resin in the lighting fixture," he says. "The amount according to international standards was completely fine, but not for us."
Due to its toxicity level IKEA has banned mercury (along with lead and cadmium) from everything we make, as part of our commitment to make the safest possible products.
A brighter solution
A decision was quickly made between the team and IKEA sustainability leaders. Stop the production and find a better alternative.
Tapping into the IKEA global network, a safe, alternative hardener was found and STRÖMLINJE was happily delayed a year before sales release, something that gives us (and Lars) a source of pride.
"We have to feel proud of what we create," Lars says. "For us there was no question about making the absolute safest product. IKEA values like these are what inspires me to come to work each morning."