A LightArt Spotlight: The LightLab
Lighting plays a huge role in the appearance of all things. The right lighting can take an object from ordinary to spectacular. At the heart of our Seattle studio, Josh Colton and Ron Trowbridge are working hard to outfit the hearts of all of our LightArt fixtures with lighting that makes our fixtures truly shine.
Back in the day, LightArt outsourced the installation of the lamps used in our fixtures. About three years ago, Josh helped to pioneer the LightLab with Will, our operations manager. Ron joined just a year later. After each having spent their first three years working in LightArt’s fabrication department, Josh and Ron were familiar with the construction of our fixtures, and learned almost everything they know about lighting on the job.
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Aside from the obvious benefits of being able to illuminate our own fixtures, our LightLab has come a long way since its inauguration. Set up in an enclosed “clean room” and outfitted with concrete floors and anti-static mats (and with our technicians wearing gloves to eliminate grease and static discharge), the LightLab is the perfect environment for our lamps to be configured and tested for the customers who will receive them.
One of LightArt’s more technical departments, the LightLab is easily accessible for employees who need to troubleshoot lighting issues. This frequent contact with all LightArt departments has undoubtedly helped Josh and Ron perfect their craft.
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In fact, they are so capable in all things illumination that on top of being a UL shop, the LightLab has also been certified under Canadian Standards Association or CSA's witness testing program. This allows the LightLab to test our own fixtures for CSA certification. On top of saving the time and cost of shipping fixtures to a third party lab, this provides the LightLab more control over the testing and certification process. This insures that before each LightArt fixture is shipped that it meets the latest safety standards and is functioning as designed.
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As the vast spectrum of our projects constantly expands, there really is no “typical” day in the LightLab. Some days are spent wiring multiple fixtures for large quantity orders, while others are spent investigating unique issues or experimenting with RGB LED lighting—a favorite task for both of our LightLab technicians. As it is not something they get to indulge in frequently, Ron says, “Working with RGB is always a learning process. Since each new RGB project is unique, each new fixture needs some playing around with.” As we test each individual fixture, Josh and Ron are more or less used to the results of these tests on our standard products. However, when working on custom jobs or things that have not yet been attempted, there are often some surprises and even a little anxiety. “It’s always exciting when a fixture turns on for the first time that hasn’t been done before,” says Josh.
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Innovation is the name of the game here at LightArt, and Josh and Ron are two great examples of this principle. While we continue to grow and release some of the most groundbreaking light fixtures on the market, our LightLab technicians are continually working with our Product Development team to get our customers the best lighting possible in their fixtures. While we embark on the second half of this already action-packed year, we are relieved to know that our LightLab technicians will be there for us, ready to shed some light on the road ahead.