March 1, 2018

Behind the ceiling with Qbini

At just 44mm x 44mm, Qbini is the smallest miniature square recessed spot in the Modular family. But behind the scenes — or in this case, behind the ceiling — a lot of big thinking went into creating the world’s first plug-and-play, no screws required recessed spot. Modular engineer Lukas Weyhaeghe tells us how he came to design the groundbreaking functionality behind Qbini’s perfect form.

Breaking with convention

With a second degree in arts, a background in furniture design and a side hustle in photography, Lukas Weyhaeghe is not your typical lighting engineer. No surprise, then, that Qbini is not your typical light. The palm-sized spot is as versatile as its engineer — a modular system that lets you continually create fresh iterations through different combinations of frames, shapes, colours and accessories. It’s also totally unique: based on a one-of-a-kind patented click-in/click-out installation system — something completely new for the lighting market.

Different by design

Weyhaeghe’s background may be atypical, but it fits very well with the Modular philosophy. “We are all very different — but difference is a big part of our culture. As a company we really believe in following our own path, being daring, even a bit ‘crazy’… but never just for the sake of it. It’s always to add value and create newness."

Qbini is the perfect case in point. Every element of the award-winning luminaire — apart from the LED bulb — was custom created from scratch. “Nothing is standard. Even the reflector. It truly is a unique product, from the way it is made, to how it installs, to the kind of light experience it delivers."

Inspired construction

So how was Qbini made? “On the surface, it’s very, very simple. The installation system is made of just three parts.” But, as Weyhaeghe explains, getting there was a little more complex. Each of those parts has been designed, refined, tested and perfected — from the right heat-withstanding materials to the ultimate streamlined shape. And that’s only after the concept was decided.

The concept for Qbini’s system emerged through the power of ‘what if’. “The very small size of the light came with a lot of technical consequences,” says Weyhaeghe. But instead of seeing them as challenges, he saw them as opportunities to do things differently. “What if we could click without having to screw? Is it possible? Why not?!” With this method Weyhaege also found ingenious ways to pack a whopping 400 lm in each tiny luminaire, and ensure it offered exceptional colour rendering. Perfection reached by trying, failing, pushing further and playing with possibilities.

Playful by nature

Just as the design of Qbini is inspired by the shape-sorting boxes we played with as children, so too were the engineering principles influenced by the simplicity of children’s toys. “Children’s toys are so simple and durable, they work so easily that you don’t even notice or think about how they were made. That was our aim for Qbini. We wanted to take all the responsibility of thinking and figuring out on our side, so our customers could just push it in. Qbini is that simple, because its component are that technical."

Little wonder then, that the patented installation system is indeed ‘child’s play’. It’s literally as easy as one, two, three. Push Qbini once to install it in the first position. Push it again to recess deeper. Push it a third time to remove it.

It all just clicks

“We not only designed Qbini to be easy to install in terms of no screws, no tools and no complicated wiring. We designed it to be monkey-proof. You don’t need to angle it this way or that. It fits in exactly right as you push it in. It’s impossible to insert Qbini wrongly. And you know it’s in position, because there is an audible click at each press, to reassure you that you are doing things right."

The whole beauty of Qbini is that indeed there is no ‘wrong way’. As a modular system it’s designed to be put together in any combination that takes your fancy — and is just as easy to change when you change your mind. Whether using multiple frames in contrasting colours to create inspired patterns on your ceiling, or choosing a discreet adjustable spot, anything is possible with Qbini.

Endless opportunities

The possibilities are quite literally endless. Because it’s a modular system, Qbini will keep on growing — with new additions and accessories being added each year. Already there’s a new gold unit and frame to bling up the creativity of your colour combinations, as well as integrated warm dim technology so you can explore new lighting dimensions with an intimate soft glow to create magical spaces. And Qbini’s not stopping there...

“It’s part of Qbini’s DNA to always stay cutting edge, though for 2018, we’ve actually cut off all the edges to create our new Qbini trimless. We’re very excited about this new recessed frame, because it literally removes the borders to your creativity. Qbini trimless clicks in flush to the ceiling, with no visible edges, so you can link an almost limitless number of lamps at 90° or 180°.

Fitting with all existing Qbini lamps and as modular, flexible and creative as the original, Qbini trimless makes for a lighting family of unbounded potential. The ceiling’s your only limit!