Fashion + Intelligence: These Smart Home Lights Are Beautiful And Smart
A Utah-based startup just launched a smart lighting collection that focuses on aesthetics just as much as it incorporates digital intelligence. Viro’s new lights are smartphone controlled, smart assistant capable, hand-blown, and one of them just won a LAMP international lighting design award. While they’re more costly than the smart lights IKEA is now testing in select European markets, they’re also classy enough to complement the most upscale decor.
Smart home products have typically followed one of two paths: focusing on intelligence over looks, or attempting to be so small they disappear into your walls or shelves and become outposts of your home’s ambient intelligence. In other words, present but unseen.
Viro’s taking a different path with products are are designed to be seen, admired, and loved, but also part of an intelligent and responsive home environment.
The smarts are fairly basic for lights in 2023: app control, or voice control via Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. In addition, like many smart lights, owners can control color hue and brightness thanks to the use of LED technology. (No word on Matter compatibility, which will matter — sorry — to some smart home aficionados.)
The beauty, however, comes from artistic designs by glass artist Emma Walters and industrial designer Robert Morrison. One pendant, the Fresnel, incorporates over eight pounds of hand-blown glass in its design. Another, the Lune, uses five pounds of glass. In other words, this is not something you will be typically be able to purchase at Walmart or Amazon.
Of course, beauty and craftsmanship don’t come cheap.
Viro’s lamps range in price from $395 to $695.
In a world where Amazon Echo Dots are $35, that’s ridiculously high pricing for just a smart home gadget. But when viewed alongside quality furniture and other elements of decor in a home, that’s not out of range.
“Viro is setting a new standard in lighting design by pairing our beautiful hand-blown crystal glass with innovative smart lighting technology that’s easy to assemble, install and re-use,” says designer Robert Morrison.
I haven’t personally handled or tried them and I don’t easily purchase furniture or decor items online — Viro’s designs are purchasable only on the company’s website — but I find them tempting.
Of course, you can also just retrofit your existing lamps with smart bulbs from Waze, Philips, or Lifx for $11 to $30.