Archive for 2008


A New Product We Like

At Form + Function we are always looking innovative lighting solutions and we are especially excited when we come across products that “just make sense”, like the Dark Sky light bulbs designed by Bulbrite.
These energy-star rated compact fluorescent lamps have a shielded base that aims the light only where it is needed. This eliminates the need to replace or retrofit an existing fixture to comply with dark sky regulations.
Using a 15W compact fluorescent lamp it produces the same amount and quality of light as your conventional 60W incandescent lamp.
Even if your neighborhood does not call for dark-sky-friendly lighting you might still want to consider these innovative bulbs as a responsible and at the same time aesthetically pleasing, glare-free solution for your outdoor fixtures.

Less Is More
Outdoor lighting is important not only for decorative reasons, but also to improve safety and security.
Many homeowners, however, are not aware that a little light goes quite a long ways outdoors. They think more is better and install an excessive amount of light sources, or – almost worse – a few harsh spotlights with high wattage that bathe their driveway (and half of the neighborhood) in a bright light.
Aside from these commercial spotlights just looking plain ugly and making your front yard resemble a prison camp, they are not a very neighbor-friendly or environmentally responsible solution.
Some people say they feel safer when their property is properly lit. However, light alone does not provide security. In brightly lit spaces you are exposed to glare as well as harsh shadows and the abrupt transition between these areas feels uncomfortable (someone lurking in the shadows?).
Good outdoor lighting design on the other hand defines the space in an aesthetically pleasing way. It just feels comfortable and safe. It is indirect, discreet and subtle. You know it when you see it, you feel it a sub-conscious level, but you don’t stop to think about why.
That’s the reason we recommend to light where you need it, when you need it, and no more.

Tip: If you live in an area where you feel there’s a need for a bright spotlight at times (just in case) put it on separate switch that you can turn on from inside your home – and keep it off unless it’s an emergency.

Having moved from Germany to New Mexico many years ago I still can’t get over the beauty of the starlit sky. For that matter I didn’t really know that there were THAT many stars before we moved here. Living in a large metropolitan area I had never actually seen them.
I therefore welcome the efforts our community is making to avoid or fight light pollution.
The phrase Light pollution was first coined by astronomers in the 1970s. It refers to the sky glow mainly above major cities that obscures our view of the night sky.
One could say that if light pollution were the inevitable price of progress, we’d just have to live with that loss and accept it, but it is not. Most light pollution is totally unnecessary, caused by inefficient light sources and lack of awareness.


LEDs innovative lighting solutions at Form + Function

You just had to spend a few minutes at this year’s Lightfair in Las Vegas to see what is hot: Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) were EVERYWHERE! Strip lights, under cabinet lights, a really cool paper thin tape light, puck lights – you name it. This (relatively) new kid on the block was definitely the star!So what’s all the buzz about? LEDS have been around since the sixties and we have all used LEDs in our everyday lives, most often without even being aware of it.

In the early years,LEDs were only available in the colors yellow, green and red and therefore their use was limited to signage, street signals and household appliances.  The color-changing capabilities and the unique vivid hues also made LEDs attractive for upscale bars, restaurants and even avant-garde home theaters.With the breakthrough development of a blue LED in the early ‘90s and the following developing a white LED new and exciting possibilities opened up to the lighting industry and they for sure took this challenge and ran with it! New products embracing the Solid-State technology are popping up everywhere.

Now for the very first time the consumer is faced with the choice: Do I choose an incandescent, a fluorescent or an LED sconce for my bathroom? Can I read by that cool LED desk lamp or am I safer with choosing the much more familiar halogen light?

As exciting as all the innovations are, white LED light is definitely still in the early stages and has quite a few hurdles to overcome before it will be a competitive alternative to other traditional light sources.
In my opinion the three main concerns our customers face are: What do I get for my money, how much energy do they really save and can they actually illuminate something, like a page in my book, or are they just decorative?

Light fixtures equipped with LEDS are in general quite a bit more expensive than alternate choices, but if you got exactly the same value in terms of efficacy and quality light output, their long life would make them the more cost effective choice.

The life span of LEDs is impressive compared to incandescent, halogen or fluorescent alternatives with expectancies in the 100.000+ hours (A good old incandescent lamp has a life expectance of a measly 750 hours and a halogen lamp 3000+ hours). You’d have to change quite a few conventional light bulbs in those 100.000 hours!
FYI: LEDs don’t just burn out, but continue to operate while slowly producing less and less lumens. At some point don’t they produce enough lumens for task lighting. Their life span is therefore generally measured up until the time when they have lost 30 – 50 percent of their initial light output.

So, back to the second question: How is their overall effectiveness, how energy-efficient are LEDs?
In 2006, some LEDs became as effective as incandescent lamps with 15 – 30 lumens per watt, just two years later, in 2008, LEDs reached the efficacy of linear fluorescents with 60-80 lumens per watt.
Just like the infant years of fluorescents that made millions of consumers loathe the product for bathing a space in an unattractive greenish or pinkish hue, the color temperature of the white LED is still being fine-tuned. Great strides are being made to reach warmer tones that resemble what we are used to for interior lighting and some latest product releases show real promise in that respect.
At Lightfair we ordered several samples of LED task lighting that are currently being installed in our new showroom. We like to see for ourselves before we start dealing out advice to our customers and getting carried away by cool innovations.

So the answer to the third question will follow later.

Cyan Showroom, Dallas

Cyan Showroom, Dallas

Sometimes a showroom display just stops me in my tracks.
At the Dallas Market I couldn’t walk past this striking composition of a life-size porcelain horse cautiously approaching a strange object: a lit (white porcelain) chandelier lying on the ground.



We are moving!!!

After 10 year in our current location (851 W. San Mateo Rd, Santa Fe, NM) the time has come for a dramatic change!
Form + Function is moving!!!
Very soon we will be moving into our new space in Pacheco Park.
This exciting complex has over the last few years turned into the contemporary design mecca of Santa Fe and when a great space opened up we decided that we couldn’t pass it up.

For the last 24 years Form + Function has had showrooms in Santa Fe.
Since our retail business was strongly established before we ventured into e-commerce, the two sides of the business somehow never really merged. That’s what we now want to change.
If it didn’t sound so terribly boring I’d call our concept for the new space a “Lighting Lab”.
We want to show the newest , most interesting lighting solutions displayed not like in a showroom, but just how you’d use them in your home.
Paired with lighting consultations, mini-seminars, Open House events with exciting guest speakers (web cast on our site, of course), we hope to bridge the different sides of our business and create a unique environment for our clients.
Now our “minor” dilemma is just to get rid of 12,000 sq.ft of “stuff” (furniture, of course tons of lighting fixtures, as well as home accessories etc., since we want to start out with a clean slate and brand new displays.Our first big sale is scheduled for March 1st.



The Dallas Market was inspiring as always.
Since we are planning major exciting changes at our Form + Function retail location in Santa Fe, NM, we were primarily there to get ideas for our brand new showroom – and it was well worth the trip for that reason alone!
As always Forecast had a great display in their front window: A huge birds nest of branches and twisted copper wire on a bed of moss with a backdrop of a gigantic floating feather signaling their new focus on “Organic Modern” design. Pendants and wall sconces with diffusers of cork, interesting hand made papers and other organic materials gave off their soft glow among the warm colorful glass shades.The interest in the newest developments within “Green Lighting” was apparent everywhere we went: LEDs, Compact Fluorescents in all shapes and forms.
We saw one exciting new product that we are planning on using in our new showroom: LED tape!! A thin tape with an adhesive back embedded with tiny LEDS. Can be cut with scissors every inch and used almost anywhere for indirect light effects: Coves, undercounter lighting, bordering stairs etc.