How the concept of RAY came about
A lightbulb moment
Lighting is our passion. Truly. It must be beautiful. But beyond that it should acknowledge that we respond to light not just visually, but also psychologically (light creates very specific emotional responses) and biologically (an aspect the scientific world is increasingly aware of). Above all, it should not do us harm. It must be as gentle on our systems as sunlight, while bringing the wonder of colour and texture to our indoor environments.
How the concept of RAY came about
Over the course of two decades we – Jason (J) and Simon – have completed a vast number of high-specification lighting design and installation projects for our exacting clients. Whilst we’ve been immersed in the world of light in every possible application, we have seen the very best the industry has to offer, but also become aware of some of the shortcomings of artificial light.
Specifically, when it comes to LED lighting (the go-to technology in the 21st century). LED light is an incredible thing. It is cost-effective and energy saving, and with the right design can produce beautiful light for homes and commercial use.
There’s just one problem; the effects of the past decade of LED light are only now being truly seen and understood. By now, most people will be aware that too much blue light is bad for you, but it’s not just in our phones or tablets. It’s at the source of 99% of LEDs we currently see.
Blue isn’t all bad – read more here about the complex BlueBalance RAY achieved in its technology, and why it helps our health. Click here
On top of that, the little-known ‘flicker factor’ is a major issue. Every LED flickers. It maybe so fast that your eyes don’t even perceive it but our brain records that flicker, and – simply put – as a result is hyper alert. In other words, it makes it hard for people to switch off. Learn more about the flicker factor in this blog.
A lightbulb moment for Jason
A bright beginning
J felt strongly that lighting should feel great, not artificial, not uncomfortable or over-stimulating and certainly not synthetic. He had an instinct that more could be done.
When he realised that we were actually putting our health and wellbeing at risk due to blue light and flicker, and that his idea was – in fact – more that just a gut feeling, he began to seek solutions. With more of us staying at home, or working in artificially-lit offices, it was clear to him that something had to be done.
A Shared Vision
Simon had formerly worked with Nobel Prize winner, Shuji Nakamura who first harnessed the use of LED in a lighting application. As a result, he was a passionate advocate for the technology, with a great depth of understanding about its makeup. He also shared J’s passion for creating light that contributed to the health and wellbeing of the people who enjoyed it.
Simon felt strongly that a full range of products was required so that requirements for full installations in a vast range of applications – from homes to offices, hospitals to education centres, hotels to exhibition centres – could be met. With his global contacts and trade connections, Simon knew he could find a voice in the market once the right family of products was created.
The latest chapter
Developing a lightbulb that emits beautiful light reliably and safely was never going to be easy. Far bigger companies than ours, with larger resources, had previously tried.
The technology to build an LED light that is bright enough for us to live by, without relying on blue light as its root source, was in its infancy when we began our journey. And to combine it with a driver that addresses the flicker issue, not just in the larger fittings but also in the tiny globe of a retrofit lightbulb, has been a pioneering development.
The process took more than two years from conception, to research, development, testing and – finally – manufacturing. And it took us far beyond the original technologies we had identified. But working with the original manufacturers of the technology we were able to innovate around the new chips, adding a unique Full Spectrum phosphor blend, building in a completely new heat syncing approach and even looking at issues such as dimming, not to mention the incredible Flicker Bridging Technology.
RAY is the realisation of a great deal of hard work, and has resulted in the creation of the healthiest lighting solution currently available on the market; one that aligns itself as closely as possible with sunlight. A light without the blue spikes, without the dangerous levels of flicker and with a colour rendering index of 97+ (sunlight is 100). But also – crucially – a light that incorporates that vital 4th dimension which J had initially sensed was missing: the feeling of natural light.
With the SunRAY ranges it is our hope that we can change the light in which we live and positively impact everyone who uses our creations.
Meet the co-founders
Jason, known to many simply as J, has been passionate about lighting for more than two decades. Trained initially as an electronics technician in the armed forces, J went on to spend almost two decades in lighting installations for everyone from famous footballers and TV stars, through to Nobel prize winners and royalty. These high net worth clients have taken him all over the world, including Mustique and Balearics. “I spent twenty years honing skills and sculpting businesses, inducing enormous stress and financial complexities, yet somehow I kept gravitating back to invention. I am passionate about new ideas and finding better ways of doing things.”
He built his successful companies from the ground up but he didn’t always know what he felt passionate about: “As the son of a strong compassionate achiever who loves his family and served his country, and the grandson of men of honour (a Group Captain who led men onto the beaches of Normandy and a surgeon who spent his life saving lives) I had tough acts to follow. I was determined to succeed, no matter how hard or how big the task at hand; to never stand idle. But what was the task? What should I be doing? What did I believe?”
“So, here we are in 2020, the year of the pandemic. It’s a stark reminder that nature holds the true power. Coincidentally, for better or worse, this is the year that all I have learned and what I have believed in, fiercely, is coming to fruition. We at RAY are bringing organic, natural sunlight indoors and shifting our priorities towards looking after our brains and, in turn, our bodies. We want to combat the synthetic and enable people to thrive in their home and work environments.”
Simon is a graduate in Business Information Systems Management.
He started his career in lighting in 2002 and has worked around the globe with world class designers, distributors, contractors and developers in some of the most advanced and striking buildings – from blue chip company headquarters, to kings’ palaces and multiple hotels.
In 2015, Simon established a consultancy, working with brands such as John Cullen, The light corporation, Siemens, Redwood, SORAA and Power vamp, as well as winning projects from Microsoft HQ to The Mayfair.
As co-founder of RAY Lighting, Simon now fulfils the Sales Director role for the company and plays a key role in development. “I am more excited about this start-up than anything I have ever done,” he enthuses. “We have the chance here to improve people’s lives through lighting; to make people feel better every day; to improve their health; help their children develop; and to make the world a more beautiful place – literally. What a great honour.”