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It’s not surprising that the word ‘sustainability’ has become almost a pejorative term. The claims made by some organisations boasting of how they better discharge their corporate social responsibilities plus widely differing interpretations of what constitutes sustainability create both confusion and scepticism. Here’s a different story . . .

Responsible companies set themselves realistic targets and concern themselves with those aspects of sustainability that lie within their control and which may have significant impact. Equally, their understanding and interpretation of sustainability is pragmatic, focused and the objective achievable. For example, if a product lasts for longer it’s a more sustainable choice. If it uses less energy then of course it’s more sustainable. If the methods and components of manufacture can be less harmful or wasteful, that too is more sustainable. And if products can be future-proofed to accept new technology then sustainability credentials can be extended.

Louis Poulsen devotes its energies – not to spurious or ambitious claims – but to a programme of development that builds durability, longevity and adaptability as key integral parts of their central Design to Shape Light philosophy. Louis Poulsen recognises that additional benefits accrue down the line from this practice -fewer replacements and less maintenance leading to reduced cost, less disruption for companies or communities . . . greater value, less waste and less pollution.

Louis Poulsen’s street lighting project at Rudersdal in Denmark illustrates the effectiveness of this approach . . .

LP Icon Mini Post in Rudersdal Municipality

The Icon Street Lamp by Louis Poulsen has lit the roads in the Rudersdal Municipality of Denmark for two decades. While the design and structure of this aptly named luminaire has easily stood the test of time, the technical components have become outdated and superseded by next generation LED. However, instead of replacing the Icon street lamps, which by now had become part of Rudersdal’s urban personality, the Municipality decided to retrofit over 4000 of them with new LED boards. Not only has this decision saved considerable capital investment and the inevitable disruption during replacement, it has also led to reductions in energy consumption and carbon emissions with no compromise on good design or greener energy solutions. The Icon is like a lighthouse, creating a calm, reassuring and pleasant light in the evening and night hours. This atmospheric lamp has been installed across Scandinavia and abroad, exemplifying simple, functional and elegant design that still looks as good today as when it was first installed more than 20 years ago. The Icon street lamp is the perfect expression of Louis Poulsen’s design philosophy.

Icon’s designer Mads Odgård observes ‘designing a new street lamp can be a thankless task. You have to battle against all the elements of nature which you don’t have to worry about when you work with indoor lighting’. Initial development of Icon took two years after which a prototype was constructed and rigorously tested in real world conditions.

designing a new street lamp can be a thankless task

Odgård goes on to say ‘It’s one thing to be able to withstand any weather conditions thrown at it but you also have to balance the design to create a lamp that provides clear lighting without disrupting the street setting’. The project began with Rudersdal Municipality’s desire to reduce total electricity consumption which would have an impact on both budget and carbon footprint. The decision to retrofit has led to a powerful combination of economic, aesthetic and sustainability benefits. “We were pleased to retain our lamps while updating them with energy-efficient modern light sources’ says Karsten Kristensen, Rudersdal’s chief landscape architect and project manager.

The Albertslund Maxi street lamp is another retrofit success story

Designer of the Albertslund Maxi is Danish designer Jens Møller-Jensen who has also worked with Bang & Olufsen, Novo Nordisk and Danish Railways. Today, Jens’ son Peter is in charge of Louis Poulsen’s design office, the third generation architect and designer in the Møller-Jensen family.

Louis Poulsen fixtures and lamps come with the latest LED technology and existing installations can be easily updated via an energy retrofit. So, just like the Albertslund Maxi, our lamps and fixtures ensure lower energy consumption to the benefit of the global climate. Quality is key so fixtures and lamps are easy to maintain whether they exist outdoors or inside. Whichever way we look at it, this all means lower operating costs, less maintenance, no replacement costs and lower energy bills.

This article and more are on our Fresh Magazine Issue n.5 2020