Bending Light

3M offers a clean, uniform LED lighting solution that can turn corners.


The film inside is over 98 percent reflective. The combination with the outer diffuser film creates what 3M calls its “Sunlight Delivery System.”

The various modules include straight, right-angled, and T-shaped pieces. Although they appear to be chrome, the fixtures are made of polymers.

The versatile light fixtures are ideal for retail stores, health-care facilities, hotels, restaurants, and the workplace.

Post-it notes or Scotch tape might be 3M’s most recognizable creations, but today, some of the company’s most exciting products come from the Architectural Markets division. Take, for instance, its latest lighting solution, FLEX.

Two years ago, when 3M moved into the lighting arena, the company began working with Design Group Italia to create a sustainable lighting system that could follow the architectural lines of any space. The result is a collection of connectable-component, energy-efficient LED light sources that can be mixed and matched.

George Levendusky, 3M’s global business manager for lighting, emphasizes that it is not just the look of the fixtures that’s appealing. “The most important aspect of FLEX is the uniformity of the light that’s coming off the system,” he says. “There are two films. There’s a highly reflective film on the interior and a diffuser film on top. The combination of those two takes the point sources of the light (the LEDs on the side), and provides a uniform output.”

3M showcased an early version of the design in 2011 at Salone del Mobile in Milan. The full range of the FLEX system, which includes six standard modules and several more customizable parts, was launched at NeoCon this year. “Where we were coming from was offering complete flexibility to designers,” Levendusky says.

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