Interview with designer Rubén Saldaña Acle (RS), regarding views on design, and for the award-winning design Zen Spotlight, Interior Luminaire.

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Interview with Rubén Saldaña Acle at Monday 14th of April 2014: DI: What is the main principle, idea and inspiration behind your design?
RS : Technically it has to perfectly fulfill the function or purpose for which it has been designed. Aesthetically it has to be original, innovative.. but not ostentatious; proportionate, balanced, simple but sophisticated, timeless. Qualitatively it has to be flawless, every detail should be carefully treated and there must be rigor within the selection of finishes and materials.

DI: What has been your main focus in designing this work? Especially what did you want to achieve?
RS : In the briefing, the idea behind this concept was to design a spot light which offered the same performance as traditional 100W halogen spot lights but with LED instead; achieving like this, the maximum efficiency with a 90% of energy saving. Furthermore, basing on the fact that spotlights are usualy voluminous and intrusive, the objective was to design a product which had the smallest possible dimensions, with pure, neutral and timeless lines, including a great variety of finishing options for its most voluminous part so that it could be customized. These finishing options which can even be made out of natural wood such as iroko, ash or walnut, allow Zen to integrate perfectly in the environments where it is installed, without generating an invasive presence to the interior design of the places where it is located. Moreover, the intention was to design a very versatile product that would satisfy all customers' needs. Depending on the amount of light needed, Zen is available in 3 different powers and each power offers up to 2 different color temperature options; warm light (3000K) or cold light (4000K). In addition the customer can choose between 3 different types of reflectors varying the beam's angle from Flood to Medium or Spot.

DI: What are your future plans for this award winning design?
RS : Due to its great success we are discussing about the possibility to expand this product line... We'll design a larger and more powerful version maybe.

DI: How long did it take you to design this particular concept?
RS : It took me about 3 months..

DI: Why did you design this particular concept? Was this design commissioned or did you decide to pursuit an inspiration?
RS : LED technology is in constant evolution.. I decided to design this type of product when it became viable, I mean, when LED technology could equate to halogen lamps or even to halide lamps in terms of light output. Thanks to the LED, all standards of lighting products can be redefined; taking advantage of it and of its great energy saving, it was just the right moment to go ahead with such design.

DI: Is your design being produced or used by another company, or do you plan to sell or lease the production rights or do you intent to produce your work yourself?
RS : This product is produced and distributed only by Arkoslight.

DI: What made you design this particular type of work?
RS : Answerd in Q5.

DI: Where there any other designs and/or designers that helped the influence the design of your work?
RS : There are always historical references to look back when trying to improve actual products, however the technology change from halogen or any other to LED, made this design shift away from traditional products. We could't have much influence.

DI: Who is the target customer for his design?
RS : Lighting designers, architects and interior designers.

DI: What sets this design apart from other similar or resembling concepts?
RS : The spotlight's head had the challenge to integrate the LED's heatsink; component which usually comes to be quite unaesthetic... In order to integrate it completely within the aesthetic of the product, it was designed to be a continuation of the spotlight's head. Smooth and progressive lines made the spotlight's heatsink look like the trace left behind by a rake in a Japaneese ZEN garden. There's where the name comes from.

DI: How did you come up with the name for this design? What does it mean?
RS : Explained in Q10.

DI: Which design tools did you use when you were working on this project?
RS : Many sketches were done in the first stage of the product's design in order to achieve the desired aesthetic. In a second stage, in order to scale and fit together every component, the product was dimensioned using 3D programs. Furthermore, thermal calculating programs were used to obtain the best possible aesthetic-functional ratio for the LED's heatsink. Finally, many sintered prototypes were made to validate proportions, volumes and components assembly, as well as many other finishing tests checking textures, colours and materials in order to define the product's final aspect.

DI: What is the most unique aspect of your design?
RS : I would say... the possibility to be able to customize the box part of the product with any material, even with any kind of natural wood if it is previously demanded.

DI: Who did you collaborate with for this design? Did you work with people with technical / specialized skills?
RS : Yes, ofcourse, the help provided by one of my Design department members, Jerónimo Miralles; whose meticulosity and hability with many different softwares is faultless, was vital to accomplish the design in a record time.

DI: What is the role of technology in this particular design?
RS : This product is technology itself. It's a very technical product with sophisticated components and with much engineering behind its design.

DI: Is your design influenced by data or analytical research in any way? What kind of research did you conduct for making this design?
RS : Before starting the design we did an exhaustive labour of gathering technical information in order to find the perfect balance between design and functionality.

DI: What are some of the challenges you faced during the design/realization of your concept?
RS : On one hand we had to check the correct heat dissipation in order to guarantee the LED's lifetime as well as its eficiency; bearing in mind it is a product which is able to rotate, its heat behaviour is different on every position. On the other hand... the fact that we had to integrate on a single product many different possibilities and variants without modifying the final design.

DI: How did you decide to submit your design to an international design competition?
RS : This product was a very brave bet from Arkoslight as it is a type of product in which the business it's not specialised and there had been a strong investment behind. The design was a great success and all the positive comments from our customers pushed us to submit the product to various international design contests. We are extremely proud that ZEN has been awarded with 3 international design awards.

DI: What did you learn or how did you improve yourself during the designing of this work?
RS : You always learn new things with every new project because every new project offers a new solution.

DI: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
RS : Form follows function...