Allure in Design – Intelligent LED lighting for luxury car showrooms

In an age in which consumers increasingly connect with different brands and products via web-based channels, the car dealership has still endured as the central part of the promotional and buying process. Exciting displays, evocative surroundings and inviting atmospheres, leave powerful impressions on customers that have a direct impact on sales.

For luxury showrooms, creating a sense of allure, exclusivity and value is essential to maintain a strong and trustworthy brand identity. Designing unique and professional lighting solutions for these retail spaces requires the latest specialised components and manufacturing capabilities to tailor each lighting system to the exact demands of the modern retailer.

Successful projects are the result of a close collaboration with architects, interior designers, brand/franchise managers, structural engineers, and other consultants to ensure that every detail of the installation is perfectly aligned with the image and architecture of the dealership, whilst being adaptable to periodic changes in branding strategy.

The role of lighting, in this sector, cannot be understated. Continuity of style and quality needs to be kept across every aspect of the dealership – which includes every fitting and fixture installed across the premises.

As the cars themselves are constructed with coloured and highly reflective materials, lighting becomes the natural tool for bringing out their form, shape and character.

Light and colour are used very creatively in these contexts, to elicit a specific emotional connection with the cars on display and ultimately create an atmosphere that will encourage sales.

Excitement and prestige are at the centre of this market, as luxury brands are not driven simply by popularity, but aim to set long standing standards for tomorrow. Typically, the design objective for luxury car showrooms is to emulate the technological edge of the brand and hone in on what makes it unique. Many of these architectural projects flirt with ideas from the art world; experiment with the “avant garde” – and often treat the cars themselves as art objects displayed in a gallery.

To make these creative visions possible in lighting terms, suppliers and manufacturers need to offer a great deal in terms of the latest products and quality. Being one of the UK’s leading purchasers and worldwide distributers of cutting-edge LED components, Dextra Group plc has access to:

• A vast and ever increasing range of the highest quality premium components from industry-leading European suppliers and technology partners
• State-of-the-art software including sophisticated CAD CAM and light modelling tools
• The expertise of its in-house technical and design teams
As a result, it can give its specialised components subsidiary – LEDExtra, the support it needs to cater for the luxury car sector with both precision and speed.

Intelligent Accent and Ambient lighting

Beyond Dextra Group’s existing range of customisable luminaires, LEDExtra supplies and adapts cutting-edge components that allow lighting systems to be seamlessly integrated within the showroom’s architecture. For instance, using the Osram LINEARlight Flex, the highest output RGB flexible strip available on the market, designers have the freedom to specify accent and ambient lighting in restricting or hard to access areas, or incorporate colourful lighting with the decor or furniture, or even create customised decorative light features.

Coloured accent lights can be an effective way of providing aesthetically appealing orientation lighting, helping to create a guided flow within the showroom.

The convenient LED strip can be both bent and cut to size, with a self-adhesive back which allows for easy mounting onto a wide range of surfaces. The LINEARlight Flex’s modular design makes it expandable, offering a broad luminous flux range of between 200 to 1850 lm/m in a full colour spectrum, to create different atmospheres and match colour branding schemes. As a result of its versatility, it can be used for a variety of purposes such as, setting a relaxing and reassuring ambience in the sales offices, creating an inviting yet vibrant reception area, or even to produce eye-catching bespoke signage.

With highly durable, long-life LEDs (up to 50,000 operating hours) and IP67 protection where needed (e.g. exterior applications), the strip can be installed with the assurance that the system will operate at maximum efficiency with minimal maintenance effort.

From an aesthetic standpoint, the strip’s hidden electronics and seamless light without shadowing makes it ideal to complement a modern minimalist design approach characteristic of modern car showrooms.

By pairing the highly efficient and reliable line of Osram constant voltage power supplies with the Osram DMX 3 channel dimming unit, the colour temperature and light output of the LED strips can be precisely tuned via intelligent DMX controls. When combined, these products can offer highly flexible controls with dimming below 1% and constant luminous flux for very low and high temperatures.

Dynamic Colour Control – Displays / Architectural

Colour plays an important role in bringing the showroom and the cars on display to life. High-performance LED colour projectors such as the Philips Color Kinetics ColorBlast Powercore, can be used to create a range of scenographic lighting effects, combining wall-washing, grazing, floodlighting, and spotlighting to deliver excitement with each display. Capable of producing saturated, full-colour light outputs in excess of 1400 lumens at a projection range of over 60m, this product can be used for a wide range of indoor or exterior applications. The projector can also be adapted by Dextra to suit specific mounting requirements for either customised gantries, walls, ceilings, or floors.

Dramatic changes in atmosphere can be achieved when combining the projector with compatible industry-leading controls, whilst maintaining continuity in branding colour and style. Amongst the available control options, is the Philips Color Kinetics iplayer3, an advanced colour and scene controller, which allows retailers to fine-tune the projector’s colour and light intensity and pre-programme intricate light shows from a user-friendly, wall-mounted iColor keypad.

The Philips Color Kinetics iplayer3 is supplied by Dextra in countries where approval to UL safety and energy-efficiency standards is required.

To power the colour changing system, the Philips Colour Kinetics Data Enabler Pro can be supplied, offering rapid, accurate and efficient control of the fixture’s power output. By integrating power and control data into a single 4core cable, the Data Enabler Pro keeps installation quick, easy and cost-effective with the added benefit of a clean and attractive finish. Designed for energy-efficiency, the Powercore system operates at a maximum of 20W and can be set to power-saving mode for additional savings in electricity costs.

In addition to the energy-efficiency and cost-effectiveness of Powercore and LED technology, the fixture is manufactured in a rugged die-cast aluminium housing – minimising both energy and maintenance costs for dealerships, whilst providing an attractive high-quality appearance.

Advanced Lighting Controls – Remote WiFi Access

Like most retail environments, showrooms are extremely dynamic spaces with constantly changing displays and multi-purpose rooms hosting exciting new products launches and other promotional events. For this reason, versatility and control are at the centre of showroom lighting design.

RAKO’s range of ethernet bridges and interfaces make it possible to control full-colour DMX lighting systems remotely via WiFi or mobile internet connection, giving dealers / retailers the ability to program and adjust lighting in different areas of the showroom using iOS or Android devices. This allows dealers to rapidly respond to changes to display arrangements from the comfort of their smartphones, but also adapt the lighting to accommodate visitors when they see fit, for a more personalised customer experience.

Once the RAKO Ethernet Bridge is configured with the local WiFi router, the RAKO DMX Receivers can then relay the DMX signal to the OSRAM dimming units, which control the LED fixtures across the entire showroom. To offer multiple points of access, practical and user-friendly RAKO 7-button Wireless Wall Switches can also be easily fitted in strategic locations, offering extra-long battery life and no wiring for a timely and cost-effective installation.

By helping fulfil the ambitious visions of showroom designers internationally, with the latest specialised components and cutting-edge design software, Dextra Group has engaged in partnerships that will continue to push the limits of what is possible in retail lighting, paving the way for exciting new developments in the industry.

Content correct at time of writing.

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