What comes to mind when you mention “German-made”? For those clued in to the engineering and manufacturing scene, it stands for quality, precision and design — and these are the very traits that Thomas Dulas, founder and CEO of German lighting brand Oligo, wants people to remember about his brand.
“Oligo is a Greek word meaning ‘a little bit’,” he shared on a recent trip to Singapore to meet the media at P5, the local distributor of his brand.
“We designed our lighting to offer a touch-free mechanism that always works, whether it’s to switch off and on, to intensify the brightness or to dim.”
Thomas began his career in the interiors business, starting from a flooring business, then moving on to the furniture, kitchen and bathroom industries. While he isn’t an engineer by training — Dulas holds an MBA — his years in the interiors industries equipped him not only with an intuition for aesthetics and functionality, but also an understanding of cultural sensitivities that he believes can make or break a brand.
“When I worked in the bathroom industry and dealt with faucets and sinks, I became attuned to the touch of water and how it made a difference to our senses and mood. In the same way, light can be fascinating. Light is always around us — it changes so many things. For instance, whether it’s raining or sunny, whether a space is bathed in warm or cool lighting… it not only has an effect on your mood, but light has an important role in whatever you’re doing.”
What sets Oligo apart from other lighting is its focus on touch or, more accurately, touch-free capabilities. While in the past you would flick a switch or turn a knob to adjust the intensity of a dimmer-controlled light, Oligo lighting only requires that you hold your hand near its sensor or bulb to turn the light up or down, or to switch from warm to cool light.
Of course, in this digital age, you can also control a room’s lighting from wherever you may be — Oligo has a specialised app that can programme your lighting preferences into your mobile phone and allow you to adjust it without having to get up. That’s a tick in the functionality box.
As with most other luxury German brands, a sleek aesthetic is almost always a given. Oligo scores in this department with its minimal yet robust lighting that is designed to appeal to modern homeowners. With certain product lines, you can adjust the height of your ceiling-mounted lights as easily as pushing them up or pulling them down. There aren’t any unsightly cables to spoil the look of your interior spaces; in fact, the ceiling lights are designed with retractable cables so they appear like they are floating when the rest of the room is dark.
“Our primary market is in residences,” Dulas shares. “But in Asia, we have also seen an uptake among lawyers’ offices and boutique hotels. In Malaysia, we work with developers to outfit condominium showflats as well.”
In Singapore, Oligo is exclusively distributed by P5, a partner Dulas has worked with for five years.
“In every market we are in, we need to trust insiders,” he shares. “I remember how, when I was in the bathroom industry, one of the top brands in the market which sold bidets very successfully in Japan wanted to break into the European market. They did not heed the advice of local partners who told them that culturally, it would not work. And true enough, it was a failed venture. Simply because while Japanese people view the bidet as a necessary hygiene contraption, the Europeans thought it was the opposite — that it was not very hygienic!”
As a company that’s constantly on the cusp of innovation, Oligo is working on lighting that incorporates scent diffusers and Bluetooth speakers into their future lines. If they had their way, the lighting of tomorrow would be what you can not just see, but hear, smell and feel as well.
Thomas Dulas shares that all of Oligo’s designs take around two years from design to production.
“We’ve never had an LED that didn’t work,” he says with pride. All their lighting are made in Germany.
New Lamp Designs by Oligo
Cone, Nabo, Globe
Mix, match and create a different look for your dining room or workspace with these beautifully crafted lighting, which hold their own as table ornaments when not suspended in use.
A slim tubular design, Break-It delivers diffused lighting for the length of a table or focused lighting when “broken” into a vertical tube. The tubes are joined magnetically when placed horizontally.
Kendo Floor Lamp
Mounted vertically on floor pedestals, this series of tubular lamps can also be mounted as ceiling lamps using Slackline suspension cables.