NEW BRAND | IN-LITE® | Sam & Fred's exciting trip to The Netherlands
In this blog, Sam writes about the amazing experience he and Fred had visiting in-lite® HQ in The Netherlands, the "Playground" and getting hands on with the in-lite® system.
Introducing a new brand to our range is never a decision we take lightly; having spent over 20 years supplying and gaining the trust of Landscape Professionals across the UK, we always ensure that new products slot into our systems, are of a professional quality and are fit to withstand the varying weather conditions found in UK gardens. Having been at Landscapeplus for over 12 years, I've seen many brands added to the range and every-so-often there is one that really stands out, forcing you to take note. in-lite are definitely a brand that falls into that category!
Our Trip to The Netherlands
'A company with a mission' aptly describes Netherlands based in-lite® who, since 1999, have been developing outdoor lighting products and inspiring as many people as possible showing them that light belongs in every garden. In early 2023, in-lite® approached Landscapeplus to partner in the UK, bringing the premium low-voltage in-lite® ecosystem to the UK's thriving professional landscape market. From the moment I started to investigate it was obvious the opportunity was too good to miss. Fast forward a few months and I found myself setting a 4am alarm for an early flight to the Netherlands, along with Landscapeplus team member, Fred.
Waiting for us at Schiphol Amsterdam airport was Thijs, one of the founders of in-lite® LAB (more about that later!), who is the epitome of an in-lite® member of staff: Forward thinking, creative and extremely passionate about everything garden lighting. And no, he didn't pay me to say that! During the drive we discussed the UK market, garden lighting in general and Thijs’ love for the Chelsea Flower Show after he got the opportunity to attend in 2022. Needless to say, our long term involvement in the show certainly piqued his interest! We also discussed the in-lite® 'Playground' or demo area that had been described as the Disneyland of lighting.
The IN-LITE® Playground
When we arrived at in-lite® HQ we headed straight to the Playground and it didn’t disappoint! This 700m2 area of warehouse had been transformed into an expansive indoor garden including a water feature, seating areas, green-wall, outdoor kitchen and of course, beautiful lighting system.
Over to Fred now to talk all about the Playground and the in-lite® ecosystem:
I can’t say I’ve ever seen anything like the Playground before. When we first walked into the building, it was all quiet and pitch black. When Thijs got the in-lite® app up on his phone and turned on the lighting across the whole Playground, my face lit up (pardon the pun!). I was met with wide steps that were perfectly lit by the EVO FLEX strip light, paved paths lit by the EVO & ACE path lights and FUSION 22 recessed marker lights, and a large feature wall lit by a SMART SCOPE TONE with colour change capability. The feature wall, located near the centre of the Playground, almost acted like a blank canvas for the SMART SCOPE TONE, with different coloured light changing the feel and mood of the Playground before Thijs set the colour back to the familiar warm white.
Thijs explained all about the fitting selection and construction choices in the Playground, which was built in-house by the in-lite® team. The in-lite® SMART system is at the heart of the lighting system in the Playground, which is how he was able to control the lighting from his phone. The app on his phone was linked to the SMART HUB-150 transformers that were powering the lighting, allowing him to control the different zones of lighting. Each SMART HUB-150 has three individually controllable outlets, allowing three zones of lighting to be created per transformer. He was even able to dim any of the SMART light fittings and control the colour of any of the TONE fittings, all through the app on his phone.
The in-lite® range is broken up into “concepts”, for example the ACE, DISC, EVO and SWAY. These concepts consist of a series of products of different categories, but with similar appearances and design across each concept family. This allows you to combine bollards, wall lights, planting lights, hanging lights and so on, without losing unity across the project.
The fittings that really stood out in the Playground were the SWAY concept which were used amongst planting in wide beds. The name may give it away, but the SWAY fittings are designed to move and sway dynamically with the wind, matching the movement of the planting that they are lighting. Mounted into soft ground using the provided spike, they are available with two different heads of varying size, as well as three different heights of 300mm, 600mm and 1000mm. The team at in-lite® used each of the different height SWAYs next to each other in the same bed, which created this stunning lighting effect that I can’t say I have ever seen before. Some of the SWAY fittings were installed with a small hood called the SWAY CAP that was clipped over the head of certain fittings. This directed all the light downwards which would be amazing for any dark skies applications here in the UK.
Not meaning to get too technical, but another thing that really impressed me was the LED chips that the in-lite® fittings utilise. They all feature incredibly high CRI ratings, meaning the purity of the light they emit is very high. In layman's terms, this means that the objects you are lighting up will look much closer to their true colour instead of looking like the colour of the light that is emitted from the fitting. This is especially important with outdoor lighting that is used around planting in borders, preserving the natural colours of foliage and flowers when the sun goes down.
Thank you Fred for your insight. Pictured below is just one small section of the in-lite® Playground. The faux Wisteria were painstakingly put together leaf by leaf, petal by petal, again all by the in-lite® team. The same can be said for the multi-stem tree in the background, the attention to detail is fantastic. Impressive to say the least!
Meeting the IN-LITE® Team
Having had lunch in the Playground, Fred & I headed over to the main office for an introduction to the wider 50+ strong team including in-house R&D, customer service and a vibrant marketing department, everyone was welcoming and represented the in-lite® brand with passion. Brand alignment is something that's become increasingly more important to me and it's clear that in-lite® and Landscapeplus think the same way in many aspects of business and garden lighting.
On the in-lite® R&D department, Fred says: The R&D department was really impressive and just goes to show the fine details that in-lite® focus on to ensure their products are the best they can be. One story that stood out for me was that, in the past, in-lite® were having issues with water ingress on the tiltable recessed lights. After their R&D department put theirs heads together, they discovered that the issue stemmed from when the installers on site were opening up the fittings to adjust the tilting module, before reassembling the fittings back together. On occasion, the seal would not be seated correctly during re-assembly, which eventually resulted in water ingress over time. To fix this, in-lite® came up with an ingenious solution – magnets! Each of the BIG NERO tilting recessed lights now come with a magnet that enables adjustment of the tilting module by simply touching the magnet against the bezel. This makes the tilting module slowly oscillate back and forth. The magnet is then disconnected once the desired beam angle is achieved, locking the module in place again.
LAB: Light and Beyond
Finally we met the team at LAB, which for me is what really make in-lite® unique. Formed in 2016 by colleagues Thijs and Vincent, LAB's aim is simple; to inspire the world with in-lite® outdoor lighting projects. Several years into their journey LAB has been involved in some truly amazing projects across the world, proving that premium 12v lighting can be used on even the biggest of projects. Their inspirational 'Light & Beyond' coffee table book highlights some of their favourite projects ranging from Netherlands, Ibiza and The Caribbean. LAB have a very unique style and I can’t wait for the first UK project to feature in a future copy!
So that sums up our trip to The Netherlands, the in-lite® brand and their amazing team.
Are you interested in learning more about in-lite® or their outdoor lighting systems? We have listed every in-lite® product, so why not take a look through the in-lite® category on our website, or alternatively download their brochure.
If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch on 01666 577577 or email email@example.com.