We love a good origin story – and Fagerhult has a great one. It began over 75 years ago when its founder Bertil Svensson made a lamp for his mother as a Christmas present. His mother would knit a lot, and the long dark nights of Sweden in the early 20th century made that task especially difficult. As an electrician, he felt they could do better. His neighbours, seeing how good his lamp was, started requesting it for their own homes. When he saw the joy it brought his mother and neighbours, he decided to mass produce them, his garage work eventually evolving into a full-fledged factory operation called Fagerhult. And since those humble beginnings, Fagerhult has grown to become one of the largest and most innovative lighting suppliers in the world.
The Review Crew
From left to right: Bill Johnson, Director, CD+M Lighting; Niya Nikolova, Interior Designer, Roar; Mohammad Darwish, Sales Director, Fagerhult MENA
While most see Fagerhult as one brand, it actually refers to the group of brands under the Fagerhult name. The group has made multiple acquisitions since their inception, and have taken several popular names under their umbrella; brands that also share the innovative vision that Fagerhult has for lighting, such as iGuzzini, White Croft, and Atelie Lyktan.
In this review, we experience the Fagerhult expertise honed from years, with Notor 65 Dynamic, one of Fagerhult’s latest products born out of their research on double dynamic lighting. Notor 65 Dynamic is a prime example of Fagerhult’s holistic and sustainable approach to lighting, with an emphasis on balance and health.
The designers joining us for this review were quite impressed with its keen, functional, innovative and human centered design. This is what Niya Nokolova, Interior Designer at Roar, and Bill Johnson, Director at CD+M Lighting Design had to say.
Niya: I love the concept, and that there is deep research and thought gone into it. This is something very important for the space that we design nowadays, that there has to be a thought-through method of lighting it, taking into consideration the human aspects, such as circadian rhythms. I love the look of it too because the design is versatile and can be used for an office, school, or even a hospital. The product design is simple and adaptable – the colours white, silver, and black can work anywhere. Having said that, it would be great to have some customisable options too.
Bill: What Fagerhult is doing is creating an awareness of circadian rhythms, colour temperatures, and just how important light is to our health. All of this is geared towards well being, and productivity is linked to that. Using the technology that’s out there and giving employees options to create a better workplace is so good. I know a lot of people will appreciate this product, especially the ones sitting in an office all day long without any natural daylight. I like the form as well – it’s very diminutive, simple and geometric. It’s really not trying to introduce itself into the space, and blends in well.
What is Double Dynamic Lighting?
“At Fagerhult, we care a lot about how the quality of light affects people,” says Mohammad Darwish, Sales Director at Fagerhult MENA. “We make lighting for people, not spaces.”
The idea for this product emerged from a study conducted at Aalborg University in Copenhagen in 2016. The research spanned over four years involving four different manufacturers who focused on the effect of natural light on human beings and how this could be mimicked. How this type of lighting could be brought into those interiors where there was limited source of natural light, such as offices and workspaces.
The study looked into how different types of lighting conditions affected people at different times of the day and in different seasons. The aim was to investigate how a combination of daylight and smart dynamic lighting could contribute to better health and well being. “We found that it’s a combination of things – the temperature, warmth, intensity and more,” says Mohammad. “The best reference is natural night, and we tried to mimic this. It moves from 2600 to 5500 kelvin throughout the day, and we set about to understand how we could replicate this pattern in our products.”
The report from Aalborg University further explains, ‘In this new dynamic lighting approach, the skylight and daylight inflow are taken into consideration actively, bringing the dynamic office lighting to life instead of only meeting the static illuminance requirement through artificial lighting. The daylight components, direct warm sunlight, and diffused cool skylight are the main source of inspiration for working with a unique combination of dynamic interaction between directional task lighting and diffused ambient lighting, with respective intensities and colour temperatures to create naturally perceived luminous variations in the office environment’.
Dynamic Lighting, Superior Design
“In Notor 65 Dynamic, we combine a cold diffused light with a warm directed light,” says Mohammad. “This creates a dynamic and natural lighting effect, giving us more pronounced shadows, contrasts and colours. It also creates a sort of personalised lighting space with high quality warm light.”
What works well with this is how it promotes healthy spaces while creating optimum working conditions based on natural lighting conditions. “In Scandinavian countries, the intensity and temperature range is a couple of kelvins different from what we normally need. They need a warmer shade of light,” says Mohammad. “In the Middle East, strangely enough, people want bright white lights because they’re supposedly used to it! But that’s not healthy. Our Notor 65 helps with that.”
The structure involves a main aluminium body offering a direct or indirect light. This tunable light can be installed in any length, and is available in the standard colours, black, white, and silver, with customisable colours available above a certain length and commercially viable order number.
As a company, Fagerhult also has a nice, practical approach to sustainability. “We focus on the longevity and lifetime of our products,” says Mohammad. “We design our lights to deliver 100 percent of its potential output throughout its lifetime, unlike other products, which reduce 70 percent of output quickly. This reduces the need for replacement, which in turn reduces landfills. To us, this is a truly sustainable approach.”
Notor 65 Dynamic is an innovative product in a unique space that combines sustainability and practical biophilic design. The design and execution are solid, and the value is seen and felt immediately. The choice between different light distributions with direct and indirect light, or asymmetric light is great for flexibility. We particularly like the spotlight design, but all of their profiles are equally effective. The double dynamic lighting is a strong consideration given few other products have it. Additionally, the CLO (Constant Light Output) technology maintains the correct light from the luminaire for the duration of its rated life, guaranteeing the longevity of the product. While the price point might be a touch higher than other products, there are few to none that compare to the offerings of the Notor 65.
Niya: As a design firm we’re constantly having to look at samples and materials, so we need a certain type of light. But not all the time. So it helps to have a light that we can adjust and fine tune to our needs. The innovation and flexibility here is really appreciated. I love the fact that there are different opportunities for the design to provide the same kind of effect in the end. You’re not limited to only this linear fixture that we would have above our desks. But this could be something that we can create on the ceiling. We could really play from a design point of view and create very interesting segments.
Bill: As a lighting designer, longevity is important to me. Investing in your lighting is important. The biggest problem that owners and operators face when they go with the lowest quality equipment is a slow steady deterioration of your light output and flicker. And these are things that are hidden in the small print. So companies like Fagerhult are great to partner with, because you can be assured of the longevity and quality of your investment. I like the balance of this ambient and task lighting combo, it really kind of makes it work and adds a bit of sharpness to your day.