Design: An everyday companion

“As the world self-isolates, we’ve become increasingly more attuned to the importance of the everyday things that serve to comfort us, bring us joy, increase our productivity or provide a sense of stability during these otherwise uncertain times,” the World Design Organization writes. Today, June 29, World Industrial Design Day takes place for the 14th time. This year it celebrates design for everyday life.

For many people, design corresponds to aesthetics. If they praise their sofa as designer, they are likely referring to its visual appeal or the fact that it was very expensive. However, design is not a property but rather the plan needed to realize the product itself. The requirement for such a plan has existed since the Industrial Revolution when mass production brought the need for prototypes. The principle “form follows function” differentiates design from other art or architecture. Industrial design is a problem-solving process that focuses on function and the end user. It drives innovation and leads to a better quality of life.

SCHOTT has known this for a long time and, together with partners jetlite and Lufthansa Technik, is developing human-centric lighting, a lighting concept that focuses on people and how they feel. Light can create ambience and simulate sunrises and sunsets in otherwise rather uncomfortable interiors such as aircraft cabins, making travelers feel more comfortable with time differences. For example, embedding fiber optic light guides with tiny light emission points into the aircraft cabin ceiling can give the traveler the feeling of sitting under the night sky. This makes airplane travel an experience in itself.

Human-centric lighting is also apparent in the design of the new Jade aircraft reading light, which is not only beautiful to look at but also operated intuitively by touch. “As designers of aircraft seating products for different clients, we understand that each airline has differing requirements,” says Ben Rowan, director of the design agency PriestmanGoode, which developed Jade together with SCHOTT. “We saw an exceptional opportunity to create designs that could adapt to, not hinder, the aesthetic of a seat.”

Light and color can also contribute to the well-being and recovery of patients. Functional light in medicine and microscopy primarily helps clinicians see better and, therefore, diagnose better. Here, it is important that doctors or laboratory technicians can operate equipment easily. There is a suitable light source for every application: Some light sources must be mechanically robust or temperature-resistant while others need a complex geometry or special light temperature control.

In tight spaces such as the human body, glass fibers can be bent to the smallest of radii and guide light from the source to the point of action with high quality. SCHOTT works with its customers to develop customized solutions, keeping function and the end user in focus. The designs that result are as versatile as the everyday life of their customers.

June 29, 2020


Brigitte Sterf
Lighting and Imaging
SCHOTT North America, Inc.