Happy Birthday MELLOW LIGHT

30th anniversary of Zumtobel’s iconic office luminaire

In a time of classic aluminium louvre luminaires in 1988, Zumtobel was the first to develop the concept of MELLOW LIGHT. Over the past 30 years MELLOW LIGHT has become an icon in the world of office lighting. Today, in 2018, we can look back on six generations. Let's take a journey through time on the occasion of MELLOW LIGHT'S 30th anniversary.

30th anniversary of Zumtobel’s MELLOW LIGHT
Joachim Frick, Heinz Fasser, Michael Spiegel, Wolfgang Wolber, Harald Schwarzer and Georg Kempter have worked on the first MELLOW LIGHT generations. © Zumtobel

MELLOW LIGHT plays with light. It brings the depth of the room to life in the mellow colours of the sky from day until night. Walls and ceilings begin to breathe and give people a renewed sense of outdoor freedom. MELLOW LIGHT is the ideal solution for computer work and in spaces where reflections have to be eliminated and moods need to be created. The minimalist look allows the luminaire to integrate seamlessly into the overall interior architecture. It extends the architectural language of design with a clear, separate word. MELLOW LIGHT.

30th anniversary of Zumtobel’s MELLOW LIGHT
First MELLOW LIGHT project with generation one. © Zumtobel
30th anniversary of Zumtobel’s MELLOW LIGHT
Office project with MELLOW LIGHT V. © Zumtobel

In 1988, the initial design was a square recessed luminaire with two concave white painted metal reflectors. The light source, a compact fluorescent lamp, was covered by a perforated plate. The white luminaire on a white ceiling created a whole new aesthetic and quickly became a popular design tool for many architects.

"MELLOW LIGHT was a complete new technology and revolution in office lighting solutions," remembers Harald Schwarzer, product manager of the first MELLOW LIGHT generation. "At that time MELLOW LIGHT was critically reviewed internally. The standard technology were louver luminaires for glare control on computer screens. MELLOW LIGHT was not conform with all the regulations and standards. But architects loved it."

30th anniversary of Zumtobel’s MELLOW LIGHT
1988 - 2018: This is the evolution of MELLOW LIGHT over the past 30 years. © Zumtobel

Almost 30 years later Zumtobel developed the sixth generation of the luminaire – MELLOW LIGHT evolution/infinity. "When asked to redefine MELLOW LIGHT, an icon in the world of office lighting, we were not only tasked with writing the next chapter in a long history of archetypal Zumtobel design, but also changing the way we engage with workplace lighting. Taking design cues from the previous five generations of MELLOW LIGHT luminaires, we referenced this iconic vernacular to shape the future of workplace lighting," says Daniel Stromborg Practice Area Leader, Gensler.

30th anniversary of Zumtobel’s MELLOW LIGHT
Thanks to all our staff and product managers from generation one...
30th anniversary of Zumtobel’s MELLOW LIGHT
... to six for creating an icon like MELLOW LIGHT is. © Zumtobel

MELLOW LIGHT – Memories of its product managers

  • Harald Schwarzer, first MELLOW LIGHT product manager: "During the first development process, Jürg Zumtobel grumbled against me, that this product is far away from any innovation, because it´s made out of painted sheet metal only. But than a customer ordered MELLOW LIGHT before it was finished and it became a successful story."
  • Manfred Petschulat, product manager of MELLOW LIGHT II to IV: "MELLOW LIGHT was the first human centric lighting concept with a focus on wellbeing. It shows Zumtobel’s attitude towards developing good light for people.” His favorite memory of MELLOW LIGHT? "Seeing the customers faces when we presented the design of MELLOW LIGHT IV – it was an instant love affair."
  • Sebastian Schubnell, product manager of MELLOW LIGHT IV: "MELLOW LIGHT means to me the best possible combination of soft and wide distributed ambient light for a pleasant room atmosphere and an efficiently controlled direct component to generate optimum contrast rendition and readability within one luminaire."
  • Katja Vonach-Lubetz, product manager of MELLOW LIGHT V and evolution/infinity: "MELLOW LIGHT is not just a product but the outcome of a great team working on the same vision: To provide the best lighting for people." Katja also developed five new colour ranges for the present MELLOW LIGHT evolution/infinity series. "After a long discussion on colours for the endcaps, our Project Leader just made a joke: 'Come on, we just send the endcaps out raw.' We were all laughing. Then we stopped. We looked at each other and mounted a raw endcap to the luminaire on the table. And it looked fantastic. A new look was born and it became the customers favorite."
  • Lisa Duennebacke, future product manager of MELLOW LIGHT: "It is an honor to be the product manager for a product with such a long history. MELLOW LIGHT was always about lighting quality and the newest generation sets new standards for that. It is our task for the next years to make people more aware of high quality lighting and its benefits for the wellbeing of people."
30th anniversary of Zumtobel’s MELLOW LIGHT
Thomas Rein, Simon Cerv, Martin Hillmert, Andreas Schwaighofer, Manfred Petschulat, Emanuel Spiegel, Katja Vonach–Lubetz, Lisa Duennebacke, Thomas Haemmerle have been working on the latest MELLOW LIGHT generations. © Zumtobel