New food for thought

MBN GmbH – Proled is a specialist for the development, manufacture and distribution of LED lighting. In an interview, Managing Director Peter Gawlik tells us what often receives too little attention in the discourse on "good light" and what role the company would like to fulfill in the future.

Anna Moldenhauer: Mr Gawlik, in addition to managing the mawa company, you also took over the management of MBN GmbH – Proled and Proled Holding GmbH. In which direction do you want to set sail?

Peter Gawlik: We are currently active in the project business and are focusing our efforts on presenting our range of products in a way that is easier to understand. We are strengthening our role in the market as a consultant for architects, for light planners, specialist planners, electronic companies and all other lighting fans. People often talk about “good light” without really appreciating what it means. Or how it can be realized. We want to assume the role of facilitator in the use of good light but without being expensive, to offer a product portfolio that in collaboration with our sister companies mawa and Unibright will enable a truly “one-stop-shop” in the field of both technical and decorative lighting.

How would you define “good light”?

Peter Gawlik: In recent years the lighting industry has experienced a kind of digitization craze that completely ignored what light has always been and continues to be: one of the strongest emotional elements for designing both indoor and outdoor spaces. However, this emotional aspect was often sacrificed out of a desire to digitize the lighting industry and all the processes it involves. Lighting must be as energy-efficient as possible and satisfy all technical requirements, yet its main task will naturally remain to define a space. The art is to consider all parameters that are technically and emotionally relevant. Good light is capable of upgrading a room that would otherwise seem mediocre while bad light can destroy even an attractive room. And a key concern of ours is always that good light need not be expensive.

In 1996, the first white LED came onto the market and since 2005 MBN GmbH – Proled has focused exclusively on LEDs. What prompted that decision to stake everything on this new technology – despite the uncertainty in the market regarding the future of LEDs?

Peter Gawlik: MBN GmbH with the brand name Proled has its roots in the events sector and in show, studio and stage lighting – a business field we still successfully serve today. Much of what is standard in architecture lighting today actually comes from stage lighting. The spectator’s attention is guided to the narrow space of the stage through accentuated lights. The founder of MBN GmbH, Bernd Menrad, recognized this and set the company’s course to pursue the new LED technology, something I’m very grateful to him for. The company wasn’t burdened by a legacy of analog light but immediately started out with LED technology.

MBN GmbH - Proled offers clients many options for adapting LED lighting to their individual projects which means very much more work for your firm. Why is this service nonetheless so important to you?

Peter Gawlik: It is very important to us to be close to the market and to understand where the challenges are, what solutions are needed and we want our customers to be able to rely on us even when their project is complicated. This is the only way of finding out with what systems and products you can input new ideas into the market. For many years linear light was employed primarily to produce spatial effects, say to trace lines in the room or on the outlines of buildings. This is where we are seeing a change because the focus is increasingly shifting to the light itself, its impact and possibilities that arise from the linear course of steering it. For the Proled brand linear light is a very important area of business. Simultaneously, we are advancing our down lights, track-mounted spotlights, outdoor lighting and our expertise in digital control. We are a group of several companies and thanks to this and our close collaboration with our sister companies mawa and Unibright we can provide answers to almost all the questions our clients have regarding good light and good design.

Is there a current product you will be presenting shortly that you could tell us something about?

Peter Gawlik: Not only will we definitely have a booth at Light + Building 2022 we are also working amongst other things on a new system for flexible linear solutions that would allow us to evenly light large areas vertically both inside and outdoors. Naturally it will be energy efficient and will be very reasonably priced. That is one of the exciting projects we are currently working on.