Lighting companies tend to fall into particular categories – so decorative, contract, residential, affordable, luxury, technical. Milan Iluminación is a rare breed that covers all bases, so to speak, without being a jack of all trades. Rather it has an enviable reputation for design and quality across the product sectors.
That said, David Jané, the company’s CEO, says this year it’s been focusing on decorative lighting for the residential market, with new additions including the glamorous Medusa pendant, which combines glass drops under a large metallic dome shade with a reflective gold finish on the inside.
It has also brought out new collections that can be used in contract or residential interiors, such as the Tagomago pendant lights by Jordi Jané, a jaunty fitting that has a rounded drop light source with an metallic shade available in different sizes and colours. With LED as the light source, these work well hung in groups and have proved popular with restaurants.
Jané says the focus has been on making products that have character and warmth.
But more sculptural and architectural products have been manufactured too, with distinctive minimalist design combined with energy-saving LEDs proving a winning combination. The Carril and Kefren products are good examples, the former comprising small ‘balls’ on a track, while the latter puts triangular ‘hats’ on tension wire.
Milan Iluminación was founded in 1960 by its president Jordi Jané Pujol, who wanted a manufacturing company that would focus on original design and high quality manufacturing. Based outside Barcelona in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, it’s proud to manufacture in Spain and emphasises that it doesn’t have any components made overseas to be assembled in Spain. It exports around 65 per cent of its products, mainly to EU countries, but it does have clients in some 40 countries so its reach is global.
Jané says the design department is the beating heart of Milan Iluminación -and Jordi Jané is the lead designer, as well as being the company president: “It’s here we’ve built up our knowhow over the past 46 years, so we understand how to avoid any potential
quality or production problems.”
“The role of the design team is constantly to improve our product portfolio, to make it easy for our clients to adapt and update their lighting.”
Product reliability is crucial if you’re to keep clients with you for the longterm, and Jané says it’s having a stringent uncompromising approach to testing that has ensured Milan
Iluminación’s reputation for quality. It has a system comprising 16 internal procedures and eight technical instructions that enable technicians to detect any drop in quality standards.
And a refusal to outsource any part of the assembly process means control stays with the company. “The entire lamp assembly is carried out in our factory. We understand every last detail about the components that make our products,” says Jané.
LEDs have become the dominant light source in the lighting industry for obvious reasons – they save energy and their reduced volume compared to CFL or the old incandescent bulbs has been a boon for designers. Jané says Milan Iluminación welcomes the move to LED and all of its products are now available using integrated LED or LED retrofit bulbs.
He feels that the industry as a whole is becoming ‘greener’ and Milan Iluminación is proud of its sustainability credentials. It uses high quality materials which offer great longevity, while most products can be dismantled for recycling. “We use aluminium, steel, glass and high grade plastics such as polycarbonate and PMMA (polymethylmethacrylate).”And Jané stresses that by manufacturing in Spain and buying materials and components that are made in Spain, the company has to meet EU standards on sustainability, which are becoming ever more demanding.
Milan Iluminación, which was given ISO 2001 certification in the mid ‘90s, exhibits at the major international fairs, where clients and exhibitors get a sense of how the economy is doing and how well-placed their industry is for growth. Jané feels largely upbeat about the lighting industry because big building projects are going ahead
and consumer spending has been increasing. “I don’t think we’re quite back to pre-2008 levels of growth and confidence - and that’s in part because LED innovations have allowed a huge number of new players to come into market,” says Jané.
Of course, many of them offer cheap and cheerful product and probably won’t stay the course. Milan Iluminación, on the other hand, has deep roots and will continue to go
from strength to strength.