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Philips Design Backgrounder

Designing the Philips Wake-up Light Now in its fourth generation, the Wake-up Light has sold more than one million units since launching in 2006. By gradually increasing its light, the product wakes users up naturally, leaving them feeling more refreshed and ready for the day ahead. Over the years, designers have honed the product’s aesthetics from that of a combination of alarm and bedside lamp, into a strikingly pure, stand-alone design. The simple yet organic profile of the new lamp is reminiscent of the Wake-up Light’s first inspiration: the sun rising in the morning.

History Philips demonstrated an early prototype of the Wake-up Light at its 2006 Simplicity Event. Dubbed the Rise & Shine light, the concept formed part of the’ Next Simplicity’ area, where the company showcased simplicity-inspired designs which could potentially launch in the following three to five years. All fifteen concepts had been developed based on extensive worldwide research into the social and cultural trends that would influence consumers’ future needs and desires. The bedside lamp was showcased as part of the ‘Care for your Body’ theme, which explored new ways to use light in products to energize and rejuvenate people. At the time, Philips sought to address consumers’ needs for scientifically proven, yet engaging and relaxing activities. The Rise & Shine lamp was designed to help people wake up and fall asleep by mimicking the gradual changes in the sun’s light.

First Wake-Up Light

Clinical research Around the same time, Philips had carried out extensive research with leading light therapy experts into the relationship between light and well-being. That research showed a positive correlation between dawn simulation and how people feel when they wake up. Waking up to gradual light, like a sunrise, is hard-wired into the human brain. As light falls on a person’s eyes, a message is sent to their brain that stimulates production of cortisol, known as the energy hormone. Waking up to dawn simulation has also been proven to help keep a person’s internal body clock in sync. It helps to regulate our circadian rhythm, promoting better sleep and reduced stress levels – unlike waking up in the dark to a sudden noise like a traditional alarm clock.

Second generation Wake-Up Light

Trend analysis The creation of the Wake-up Light concept called on Philips Design’s trend research program, which seeks out emerging trends for the future. As part of the program, a creative team of trend experts analyze emerging themes in areas such as art and architecture to help them pinpoint future concepts, influences and aesthetics. At the time, the trends team found that consumers were becoming more focused on listening to nature’s rhythms, and linking this back to their biological clock. They observed a strong desire to focus on seasonal changes and live a healthier life. Third Wake-up Light design Philips Design October 2012


The research also showed a change in peoples’ attitude toward their bedrooms. Although those interviewed still thought of the room as a very personal and intimate space, the team saw a change toward fashion and more frequent decoration, and an upswing in the importance of including aesthetic objects like vases and art.

design by removing the base section, effectively turning the entire object into a light. The product’s main material, a sturdy natural polycarbonate in a high-end matt finish, echoed those used in more traditional lamps, such as glass, ceramic and metal. The designers also worked with a sound artist to create an improved range of noises for the alarm.

Before launching the Wake-up Light, Philips Design went through a rigorous process of consumer tests to validate the insight behind the product. They received extremely positive feedback, with comments such as, “I have more energy and get up without any stress,” and, “my boyfriend and I noticed that, since we have the Wake-up Light, we have more energy throughout the day. Our productivity is higher and we feel that our daily rhythm is smoother.” Independent research showed that eight out of 10 Wakeup Light users found it easier to get out of bed in the morning.

By moving the display panel inside the product, the team gave the lamp a sense of pure simplicity, that both consumers and the industry loved. In 2009, the second generation scooped iF and red dot awards for outstanding product design.

Designing the light However, designing the final version proved a challenge. Tests showed that people need a lot of light to wake up successfully – around 250-300 lux – which is difficult to achieve in a small unit. In addition to this, the team needed to integrate a large number of features – including the alarm settings, radio stations, pre-recorded sounds, and light intensity – in a simple and intuitive way. Philips designers initially addressed this issue by creating a mushroom-shaped product with a large lamp head that was big enough to give off 300 lux, and an alarm clock base that housed the time display and all the buttons. This first version was a huge market success from its launch in 2006. But by 2008, research indicated that people wanted a more compact and contemporary aesthetic, so Philips Design created the second generation. The team simplified the

However, in simplifying the lamp, the designers had to move the user interface to the side of the product. With so many buttons and switches to navigate, users sometimes found the interface too complex. So with the third version, the designers stripped down the user interface to a simpler selection, but reworked the look into a more rounded, traditional lampshade-like shape. Rising sun With the fourth generation, launched in September 2012, the Philips Design team transformed both the style and form of the Wake-up Light into a fully-blown interior design object. Consumer workshops had revealed that many people associated a circle with the Wake-up Light concept. With this in mind, the design team reworked the existing upright, lamp-shaped light into a version inspired by the sun – both in shape and function. The resulting design is the smallest yet, leaving more room on the bedside table. To keep the front of the light clear of clutter, the design team created an innovative new display interface. An LCD sitting inside the casing creates the image, which is then projected onto the front.

Sketching out ideas for the latest Wake-up Light

Philips Design October 2012


Colored Sunrise Simulation

The effect is a seamless and stylish display, which appears to float within the light. The lamp also features a brand new light sequence that simulates the color of the sun rising, slowly changing from soft dawn reds to a warm daylight bright yellow. The multiple functions of the new light have also been designed for intuitive use. The physical controls that switch the alarm and radio on and off, and alter the volume and light, are housed in a discreet ring around the outer edge of the light. For the first time, this latest model also has a reverse mode that sets the light sequences and sound levels to work in the opposite way to aid falling asleep. The menu itself is controlled by touch-sensitive buttons on the front, placed just below the seamless display.

High-end finishes For the top two models, the design team found an elegant way to add a high-end finish to the light. Inside, they incorporated a thin layer of a white, light-diffusing plastic to create a pleasingly soft light effect. Over that, they added a thick layer of transparent plastic to give the finished product a pleasing sense of depth and a glass-like finish.

Design Awards 2009 iF product design award 2009 red dot award: product design

The new light comes in three models. The topend version is operated by docking to an iPhone. The Philips Wake-up Light App enables simple and intuitive navigation through the menu options. All three models contain long-life LED lights, which make the lamps energy efficient whilst also making the new Colored Sunrise Simulation possible.

For further information contact: Ange Dunselman Philips Design Communications +31 (0)6 2032 4488

Philips Design Philips Design is a recognized global leader in people-centric design. Our creative team strives to understand people’s needs and desires and to translate these into solutions and experiences that create value for people and business. Design at Philips ensures

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that our innovations are meaningful and that the Philips brand experience is preferable and consistent across all its touch-points.

Designing the Philips Wake-up Light