Kiën’s unique LED strip lights are encased in concrete and app controlled

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Strip lights with fluorescent tubes inside may instantly conjure up images of an office and not very pleasant lighting conditions. That’s about to change with the Kiën Licht 1, a new lamp that takes the humble strip light out of the dull office, makes it a lot smarter, and uses some very cool materials to bring this trusty and effective lighting source right up to date.

The Licht 1 is a Kickstarter campaign, but we managed to check out the system during the London Design Week’s DesignJunction showcase. The system works in a very similar way to the smart lightbulbs we’ve seen from Philips, Belkin, and others; but because the casing is much more part of the system, Kiën has put special effort into making them look fantastic.

Lights, lumens, and watts: Know the facts before you buy

There are three different types of finishes from which to choose: aluminum, wood, and concrete. Yes, concrete. It has taken a while for the company to get this right, after early versions cracked, just like the concrete used in construction is prone to do. The extra effort to get round this problem was worth it. The striking finish and texture looks great matched to the slim, sleek cylindrical Licht 1’s body, and is our favorite of the line-up.

Alternatively, go for a walnut or oak wood veneer finish, or powder coated aluminum in black, white, blue, or a striking red. Again, the texture here makes the fittings standout. There are three sizes available — 60cm, 100cm, and 140cm — and you can daisy-chain several together, all linked to a single power source. The connections are custom made and incredibly easy to fit and remove. There’s no messing around trying to line any pins up, like old fluorescent tubes forced you to do. Kiën told Digital Trends that provided you’re handy with a few tools, then fitting a set of Licht 1 lamps shouldn’t present a problem for the amateur, but obviously a qualified electrician should be called in if you’re in doubt.

The LED lamps save energy, produce a natural light with high color accuracy to make them suitable for many rooms, and are all controlled via an app, where brightness and temperature can be adjusted. It’s possible to group lights together to create different settings for different rooms, and individually control separate lamps through the same, simple-to-use interface. Interestingly, the connected lights can send anonymous data back to Kiën, which is monitored to identify faults, power consumption, or handle warranty claims. This probably won’t be something the average user will require, but in a building with many Licht 1 lights, it may save time and effort.

Kiën’s Licht 1 lights impressed us with their design and simplicity. From plugging the whole system in, to using the app and mounting the cylindrical power unit, it neatly avoids over-complicating what could be an intimidating setup. To get a Licht 1 light for yourself, you’ll need to spend between $430 and $652, depending on the size required. If you’re really quick, it’s possible to pick one up for a little less.

The Kickstarter campaign is live here, and has a 50,000 euro goal. Should it be successful, the lamps will ship out in April 2017.

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