Valencia, CA: nestled in the Los Angeles suburbs is an up and coming lighting manufacturer of some of the smallest luminaires on the market. Darklight, a young company founded by Berkeley-Stanford engineer Quan Gan, prides itself on creating “Brilliant Light from Tiny Fixtures”. The company produces an arsenal of LED spotlights that are smaller than fist size yet packed with enough punch to illuminate a small stage.
The Gantom iQ, at only 4 inches in length, is capable of projecting razor sharp images and patterns that were previously only achievable with products several times its size. Darklight believes this will enable lighting designers to discover completely new and unique applications. For example because of the low cost of producing color slides, frequently changing restaurant menus or daily specials are very much possible with a small projector like this.
The versatility and size of Darklight’s luminaires enables a diverse customer base and wide range of applications. Museums, science centers, and theme parks have also scoped in on the Darklight products using them to create a variety of lighting effects from highlighting artifacts to illuminating dark rides. Some venues, such as the City Museum in St. Louis, have converted almost entirely to Darklight. The City Museum, best described as “a human sized gerbil maze created from scrap yard parts that cover a 10 story building with a school bus on top”, uses Darklight to illuminate their intricate system of tunnels and slides as well as their many eclectic pieces of artwork. Six Flags, the theme park corporation, uses Darklight for each parks’ FrightFest Halloween event to illuminate a large portion of their mazes and scare zones.
Darklight was established with a focus in Halloween lighting back in spring 2010 when the state of the art for haunted attraction lighting was hand soldering LEDs and resistors together and attaching paper clips. The need for a high quality and task specific light was not fulfilled so Gan and his two business partners, Charlie Xu and Jerry Dong, decided to take a stab at the problem. From napkin sketch at a local coffee shop to their first exhibiting show with working prototypes was merely 3 months. “The advantage of being small is that we are agile and flexible. We listen to our customers, make immediate changes, and get to market first.” Gan says. After exhibiting at a few shows, they realized the crossover potential with other industries and the partners doubled their efforts to produce ultra compact luminaires that were compatible with industry standard control systems such as the patent pending Precision DMX, the smallest DMX controllable floodlight on the market. The company has since gained industry recognition as the go-to source for compact LED fixtures for unique applications.
When asked about what motivates Darklight, Gan simply says, “We love being a part of the magic that our customers create.”