January 10, 2018

Rektor: a lesson in putting creative design into practice

In many ways, Modular’s Rektor spotlight is an eye-catcher. Not just for its pronounced cubist shapes and mono- and duotone colour palettes, but also for its ability to determine the mood of a room. In 2014, when the fixture was introduced, Rektor won the prestigious Henry van de Velde Award. Four years down the road, Rektor is available in numerous different versions for a range of interiors and applications. We spoke with some of the people responsible for its ingenious design

Rektor is the result of a long-standing collaboration between Modular’s R&D department and designer duo Bram Couvreur and Bjorn De Vos of Maister. “For Rektor, the assignment to design an adjustable, surface-mounted fixture provided us with a lot of freedom,” says Bram. “So when we started drawing, we aimed to create something that would fit as many rooms as possible. We tried at least 50 different shapes before the proportions felt right. There’s no math to the distinctive beauty and stylish, sleek design of Rektor: it’s all gut feeling.

Design in practice

Turning that gut feeling into a practical fixture, however, proved to be quite a challenge. By working closely together, the designers at Maister and Modular’s R&D team managed to make Rektor a reality. “Sometimes, we met up to two times per week to inspect 3D prints and discuss the design,” explains Vincent Chanterie, Senior Mechanical designer at Modular. “Then, small adjustments were made and the whole process started again until everything was absolutely perfect.

The result of this collaboration is exceptional. Vincent: “Like all Modular fixtures, it’s very clean. There are no visible bolts and nuts or wires. Everything has been put away meticulously. At the same time, however, the lamp case can turn 90° vertically and 360° horizontally. To make this possible, we had to design a special rotation system with a customized flat cable.

Because Rektor’s LED is entirely integrated in its relatively small lamp body, heat dissipation was another challenge. Vincent: “When a LED is exposed to high temperatures, the light output suffers and its life span shortens. To cool the LED unit as fast as possible, we connected the aluminium heat sink directly with the lamp body.

The power of variety

But it’s not just the ingenious rotation system and sleek design that set Rektor apart. Vincent: “The first thing that caught people’s eye in the original Rektor was the use of different materials and colours. We tried out many colour combinations for the fixture itself and the gearbox. Besides the classic black and white duotone versions, Rektor is now also available in brushed aluminium, chrome and ‘smoked bronze’. While the first offer a more distinguished style, the latter is extremely popular in rural interiors.

While the original idea for Rektor was to create a mounted spotlight ideal for renovations, a new, recessed version was soon introduced as well. On top of that, the fixture can also be used as a wall light. “It also plays well with other Modular products like the MP78-profile,” adds Vincent. “We specifically designed it for easy integration with Rektor. This allows users to combine functional lighting with some tastefully chosen accentuation.

Because of its many different colours and mounting options and inherent flexibility, Rektor has been installed in interiors ranging from residential to hospitality and small stores. “If atmosphere is what you’re after, Rektor has got what it takes,” Vincent concludes

Recently, the Rektor product lineage was further expanded with a white-white colour version and the Rektor 2L, which contains two fixtures instead of one. Discover the complete Rektor and Rektor Recessed collection.