Is This The Coolest Lighting System You’ve Ever Seen?
WRITTEN BY PASQUALE CASULLO
PHOTOS COURTESY OF NANOLEAF
“How many guys does it take to screw in a light bulb?’
By now, the three founders of Nanoleaf must have been asked that question a million times over the past five years. But Gimmy Chu, Christian Yan, and Tom Rodinger have only themselves to blame: in 2012, they started Nanoleaf, a company specializing in the world’s most efficient LED light bulbs and fixtures, and have since changed the way we illuminate our spaces.
Meeting in 2005 while working on University of Toronto’s solar car racing team, the engineering and sciences students had a seed for sustainability planted in their heads, and post-graduation commenced work on creating green energy products for the planet.
Nanoleaf One (originally called NanoLight), their launch-product, uses only twelve-watts of power and runs at a lower temperature than other LED bulbs. A Kickstarter campaign for NanoLight would act as a catalyst to the beginnings of the company, surpassing their goal of $20,000 and reaching a whopping $250,000 by the campaign’s end. A second Kickstarter for a new dimmable bulb was launched, but it didn’t matter: the trio found backers in Hong Kong businessman, Li Ka Shing, and Silicon Valley venture capital firm, Kleiner Perkins.
Zipping along, Nanoleaf has since opened offices in Hong Kong and a headquarters in Toronto – a combined coffee shop and pub on King Street West. Aurora, another pillar in their growing portfolio that was inspired by the Aurora Borealis, is a modular smart lighting panel system that is easily customizable and can be controlled by the swipe of your finger or sound of your voice. Rhythm, their latest, combines the senses by transforming Aurora light panels into a real-time music visualizer.
“How you experience each and every moment of your day is largely determined by light, so we wanted to give that experience back to the user,” says Chu. They’ve got the basics down and are now changing the design industry, too.