When it comes to lighting, the architecture and design sector has very diverse needs, from decorative, task, area and safety lighting to outdoor, mood and accent lighting. So to be a leading player that supplies clients working on international projects, you need a wide product portfolio. Which B.lux most definitely has.
'We're conscious that lighting is an essential element in architecture and we strive to achieve solutions that integrate into all kinds of projects,' says Harriet Ibarretxe, general sales manager at B.lux.
As manufacturers of high-end bespoke lighting, the company, which was founded in 1980, has been called in to work on major projects with prestigious architects such as Frank O. Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Dominique Perrault and Francisco Mangado - and today B.lux lighting is in use in top hotels, private residences, office and public buildings in some 60 countries.
B.lux President Agustín Ibarretxe - father of Harriet - says the company has been so successful because it has always collaborated with the best independent designers, such as Jorge Pensi, Marco Bisenzi, Miguel Angel Ciganda and Gonzalo Milá.
'And this collaborative approach allowed us to develop a strategy based on product differentiation', he says, adding that while it is usual today for companies to bring in outside designers, 'it was not so common back in 1980-1981.'
More recently B.lux has started working with some new names on the international design scene including Werner Aisslinger, David Abad, Josep Lluís Xuclà and Jaime Beriestain. The result is an impressive product catalogue: it features lighting in finishes and with light sources that are always up-to-date so they meet architects and interior designers changing needs.
B.lux started out concentrating on decorative lighting, with its DECO collections. But in 2005 it launched two new lines: TECH and URBAN, which have gone from strength to strength.
The former offers lights for public spaces which are technically advanced but also have designer good looks. The URBAN collection comprises outdoor lights for public and private spaces. Again, the drive behind it was to offer high performance exterior lighting that also looks good, given that outdoor lights had tended to be rather dull, utilitarian products.
An example is the Kanpazar decorative outdoor light designed by Jon Santacoloma in 2005, and which has proved incredibly popular because it is so striking.
'B.lux manufactures some truly remarkable products,' says Harriet Ibarretxe, who cites Kanpazar, the Regina desktop lamp (1987, Jorge Pensi), the Veroca ceiling lamp (1996, Miguel Ángel Ciganda) as some fixtures that have stood the test of time.
And the success these products have has been recognized with top design awards, such as Red Dot, Delta, Good Design and Design Preis awards.
B.lux is committed to sustainability and energy efficiency, and uses LEDs wherever possible in its contract and decorative products. You find LEDs in many collections, including the Round, Cantharellus, Frame, Grand Canal, Scuff and Zenete families.
B.lux, which has its own advanced 5,000m2 manufacturing plant in Bizkaia province, has always been export-led and it works closely with designers to develop products that have international appeal. That means keeping on top of design trends and Ibarretxe cites the Tree Series and Hoodie collections by Werner Aisslinger as products with global appeal.
With its industrial know-how, manufacturing capability, deep understanding of international lighting markets, and above all a love of great design, B.lux is confident about its future. But it's not quite conquered the world yet...so this year it's concentrating on introducing B.lux lighting to Latin American countries.