PLUG & LIGHT – the plug socket for luminaires

A new interface between architecture and light

Plug & Light revolutionises how we manage light. Luminaires can be connected to conventional sockets using magnets and coordinated to match the design of the switch. At the heart are three concentric circles which transmit power as well as data.


The Plug & Light socket is based on a concept designed by Tobias Link Lighting Design. It is a product innovation resulting from a collaboration with Insta GmbH, a subsidiary of the specialist for building services automation and switches Gira und Jung. It was first presented at the 2018 Light + Building trade show in Frankfurt. Conventional, concealed sockets form the basis of the modular system. To date they can be combined with two different luminaire models – wall washers or spotlights.


The connection between the plug socket and the light is made using magnets via an attachment containing the technology. This attachment forms the heart of Plug & Light and on the inside reveals three golden concentric circles: they transmit power and data. This design drew its inspiration from the Bronze Age symbol for the sun that depicts similar rings to represent light.


“Plug & Light” has been designed as an open system, which is easy to install and whose appearance can be adapted to match the design of the switch. The luminaire can be attached without need for disconnection and rotated 360° on its own axis. This means light can be directed to suit individual requirements. Depending on the model, the luminaire socket can be switched on and off, dimmed or changes in colour controlled. Portable rechargeable lights are also feasible in order to connect them to smart home functions via Wi-Fi. The selection of compatible luminaires can be constantly expanded in a network, independent of manufacturer. With just a few single components, Plug & Light enables a wealth of potential applications, whether for installation in walls, ceilings or furniture.


Plug & Light was awarded the 2018 Innovation Prize for Architecture + Technology by the AIT and xia Intelligente Architektur architecture journals in conjunction with Messe Frankfurt at Light + Building 2018. In addition, Plug & Light has been nominated for the 2019 German Design Award.

Photos: Gira, Jung, Insta
Photos of Award: Tom Gundelwein


A multimedia lighting installation for the Ratskeller in Saarbrücken

The Ratskeller in the heart of Saarbrücken is lent exceptional character with a centuries-old feature: a splendid vaulted cellar in natural stone masonry gives the restaurant a rustic and yet warm and cosy atmosphere. The rooms in the restaurant are designed to accommodate a wide range of uses: guests can enjoy a tipple at the bar or savour regional specialities in the seated area. The Ratskeller can also be booked for events and celebrations. 


The lighting design needed to satisfy two main requirements in this case: achieve, on a low budget, illumination with eye-catching effects and also to comply with the regulations governing buildings of historic interest. A custom light was designed for this project using a manufacturer’s standard luminaire. Once produced in a smaller format, it conformed to the permitted size: the energy-saving lights from the original plan were replaced with high-power LEDs. These lights are installed on the ribs of the ceiling. They operate with three beam angles each, in order to trace the contours of the arches exactly. The changing colours constantly bathe the architecture in new light.


The vault ceiling has also been incorporated in the design. Twelve DLP projectors cast a variety of motifs onto the surface. They can change according to the season and the event: from a flickering open fire to typical Christmas decorations. Projections appear as free-floating individual images or in the form of patterns extending over the entire surface, which merge to create a unbroken image on the ceiling.


The DLP projectors provide excellent contrast, enhanced by the short projection distance. The most complicated component involved was the control system. It works via an e;cue system; the video content required for the projections is saved here and runs automatically. A regular part of the evening programme is the “Ratskellerstunde”, a lighting composition created especially for this traditional venue and that has become a firm fixture over the years. Thanks to professional planning, the Ratskeller has achieved a lighting solution that lives from its individual design and yet remains affordable, even in constant operation.

Fotos: Oliver & Tobias Link