LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, are now all about light-emitting design as well. No longer harsh or unflattering, these LED beauties give off a soft glow with seriously sophisticated style.

Inside Out

0114-led-lighting-1Use LEDs in hard-to-reach places (you won’t have to change the bulb, pretty much ever) or where lights are on for long periods of time (like exterior lighting for security). Davide Groppi’s Blumen outdoor LED fixture—arriving soon in North America—is bulb-like in shape and moon-like in glow. davidegroppi.com

Haute Hang0114-led-lighting-2

Art Deco’s geometric glam gives graphic punch to the Zium light from Elan Lighting ($1,088), which melds shapely form with everyday function. elan-lighting.com

Straight On0114-led-lighting-3

Sleek simplicity meets soft sheen in the linear lines and glare-free diffused LED luminosity of the Zhane suspension light ($1,260) techlighting.com

Go Big

luzifer lamps

The Candelabro by LZF (from $34,000) is an over-the-top multi-port extravaganza of LED fantasy (with a price tag to match). lzf-lamps.com

Synaptic Showpiece


Not only is this inventive LED light by Francisco Gomez Paz for Luceplan (from $3,330) modular, it also adjusts its glow and colour balance to its environment. luceplan.com

Bright Idea0114-led-lighting-6

Davide Groppi’s LED Is More pendant light ($450) harkens back to Edison’s singular light bulb. It’s a juxtaposition of clever contemporary commentary and a hip homage to the past. Proverbial (and real) light bulb: on. davidegroppi.com davidegroppi.com

Sustainable Style0114-led-lighting-7

The Clamp lamp by Pablo Designs ($700) mixes warm North American hardwood with the brilliance of LED for an organic and high-tech mix that’s the best of both worlds. It’s also a Red Dot design award-winner for Best Product Design and Innovation. pablodesigns.comTrip the LED Fantastic: When searching for design-forward LED lighting, keep these tips in mind.Look for high CRIThis is the measurement of a light’s accuracy in rendering different colors; the closer it is to 100 (where incandescent light sits), the better your visual perception of colour. While most LEDs on the market still range between 70 to 80 CRI, today’s high-end designs use LEDs closer to the 100 CRI count found in incandescents.Take your temperatureAn LED’s colour temperature makes a big difference—the higher the Kelvin measurement, the brighter the light but cooler and bluer the colour. Here, go low. Most neutral living spaces are better with the warmer glow of about 2,700 K, while a workspace could go up to 3,500 K. Avoid most of the lower-end LEDs which, at 4,000 K, emit a less flattering and more bluish light.It’s all about integrationLEDs now allow lighting controls such as dimming (already low on power consumption and long on life, dimming LEDs further decreases power consumption and increases lifespan), RGB colour adjustment (pick to match your mood) and programmed settings. Go for as much multi-function as you can afford. LED fixtures are also compatible with home automation and lighting control systems, such as Lutron RadioRA or Vancouver’s own Xprt Integration.