Thought Leader Peter DallePezze: His Two-Sided Solution for the Linear Market
LEX News sat down with Peter DallePezze, President of Lumato Lighting and American Linear Lighting, to discuss changes in the linear market and the best approach for meeting the very different needs of specifiers and design-build contractors.
1. How is the linear market changing?
PD: The linear market is a unique category within the lighting industry. It gained momentum for offering beautiful, continuous runs of light. Now, the design and technology behind linear lighting has advanced so much that new creative applications are emerging. Instead of long runs, designers are starting to use shorter linear fixtures as an alternative to the traditional troffer, staggering vertical and horizontal slots of light across a ceiling. This new application has peaked the interest of the design-build community, who are looking for ways to differentiate their designs, but maintain a reasonable price point. Today, the market for linear fixtures consists of both high-end specifiers and design-build contractors; however, these two audiences have very different product needs.
2. What is the key difference in the linear lighting product demanded by the specification and design-build communities?
PD: Customization. Usually, linear lighting applications require a lot of customization to ensure that the lighting system, and the way it is controlled, are perfectly tailored to a project. With long, continuous runs of light, or highly creative applications, the control aspect can be very complicated. The zoning of the system, available dimming, and the energy management responses, such as daylight harvesting and occupancy sensing, must be carefully thought out to deliver the experience and performance demanded by the designer and their clients. Design-build contractors need a straightforward, off-the-shelf linear lighting solution that is easy to install, code compliant, and performs as expected. They need the ease and reliability of a basic troffer, in a basic slot.
3. What does a basic linear product look like?
PD: The most crucial feature of a basic linear product is that it is the right size to easily install into a typical grid ceiling, like the traditional troffer. These linear fixtures offer the clean lines and quality light that make the linear form so appealing and they can be wired onsite for emergency functionality and controlled in a way that is compliant with the latest energy codes.
4. From your perspective, what is the best way to approach these two very different linear lighting markets?
PD: Two very different products are necessary. Well, two different companies really, because the key differentiators are customization and service. You often see companies offering different types of linear products, with different features, at different price points. It’s Econ 101. Typically, the most expensive product has a full array of functionalities and then there are various lite flavors that do a little less for a little less cost.
Because customization and service are so important on high-end projects and price and delivery are the most important aspects in design-build projects, two different models are needed. If a designer is outfitting a high-end space and selects a linear product with the most features and functionalities, they will still need assistance in creating a linear lighting system that meets their expectations and the level of customization available is typically limited, because they must work within the constraints of the products available. If a design-build contractor selects the lowest cost linear fixture in that product family, to stay within their budget, they will still need service and support to complete the installation, which impacts their bottom line.
5. How do your companies, Lumato Lighting and American Linear Lighting illustrate this two-pronged approach to the linear market?
PD: Because of the dichotomy we saw in these markets, we’ve decided to offer two brands: one that offers highly-customizable solutions and the other that offers the basic linear products, fast and inexpensively. At Lumato Lighting, service and customization are the cornerstone of our linear product offering. We meet with the designer, listen to what they want to accomplish in a space, and provide detailed drawings, often with customized wiring and control solutions. Our products and the complete lighting and controls solution installed on a project is tailored to create the specific experience demanded by the designers and their clients.
American Linear Lighting delivers quality, off-the-shelf linear solutions for design-build contractors who want to amp up their designs and differentiate their services. These systems are engineered for an easy, fast installation, helping the contractor minimize the total project cost.