Following the modernist mantra that you should start with function and proceed from there to form, Duncan Jackson and Eoin Billings of architect Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners have come up with Tecton, a continuous row lighting system for industrial spaces, offices and retail environments.
The industrial design team was commissioned by Zumtobel Staff to design a high-volume, low-cost, adaptable product. What differentiates Tecton from other lighting tracks on the market, they maintain, is that inside the quite narrow metal units there are 11 poles.
A single track can accommodate many different services such as bus and emergency wires, smoke alarms or daylight response system. It is possible to plug luminaries into the trunking at any point of its length. The continuous access to the power and data cables allows the lighting planner to customise the location and the amount of light to suit different environments.
Tecton’s main body – the spine and reflectors – is made of pre-painted sheet steel. All other components are made of translucent plastic. Conceived as a simple clip-on system, it requires no tools for assembling on site. The turn-and-lock mechanism connects each light fitting or other electrical components at any point along the track. Also available is an overlapping lamp arrangement, Tetris, which eliminates dark spots in the continuous run of lighting.
The relationship between Zumtobel and NGP was forged over the work at London’s Waterloo International terminal, and flourished over Fusion, a travelling exhibition of industrial design with a custom-made display systems. When Zumtobel decided to develop the Tecton system, it turned to the industrial team at NGP. ‘Zumtobel is interested in design,’ says NGP industrial designer Billings. ‘It thought that if it involved NGP it would be an industrial project, but also one that satisfies architects’ needs.’
The system has been developed as a building block – hence the name Tecton – which architects can adapt and put their signature on. Alternatively, they can use it in combination with materials to suit their needs.
NGP team: Nicholas Grimshaw, Duncan Jackson, Eoin Billings, Richard Levene, Aidan Jamison
The Tecton light launches during the Milan furniture fair (4-9 April) at the Zumtobel showroom, 26 Via Pirelli. www.zumtobelstaff.co.at