David Sellam

23rd August 2021

Following a recent rebrand and the launch of its first ever lighting collection, Carra, arc sits down with TLS CEO David Sellam to talk more about the new collection, the history of TLS, from its beginnings as a printing company, and the new direction for the brand.

Can you give us a brief overview of your career to date?

We started out as a small printing company in Israel more than 26 years ago. We then moved to Canada in 2002, offering large-format prints on fabric, then SEG lightboxes. Years later, as we continued to grow, we had no choice but to move to another larger facility when we received a project for a large lightbox that, once it was assembled, could not fit through our shipping doors. 

How did you get into lighting?

At one time, we were using fluorescent tubes to backlight our lightboxes and, as our production sizes grew larger and the need for higher quality and sustainable illumination increased, we designed the award-winning TLS, which stands for Tension LED System. The system, which took four years to develop, is collapsible and offers even lighting for our clients’ single or double-sided lightboxes.

Can you give us a bit of background on TLS as a company? How did it start? And how has it grown to the position it is in today?

TLS is our architectural lighting division. At one of our print tradeshows, we were highlighting our lighting system in our lightboxes and a designer came up to us and asked a question that changed us dramatically: “Can you take your TLS and backlight stretch fabric in a ceiling?” 

We then realised we had a product for the architectural lighting sector and that’s what pushed us to launch our architectural lighting division. We got to today’s position by working with our agencies and partners in each territory and providing high-quality products for different project applications. We are continuously developing a wide range of products from tunable white to a pixel-controlled RGBW system along with control systems that provide our clients with the highest quality solutions. 

The company launched its first-ever lighting collection, Carra, earlier this year. What was the inspiration behind the collection?

We felt that we needed to simplify our process by offering a standardised, off-the-shelf type of product, that can be easily specified into projects with our standard sizes, saving on costs, shop drawings and communication time. TLS originally grew by specialising in larger and more complex projects – a good fit for our tension LED system. The flexibility in terms of design demands and structure restrictions meant that we won a lot of large-scale projects. However, we recognised the growing demand for surface lighting.

Why now? What led to the launch of Carra?

It came from our designers and partners. We understood that the simplicity of having various standard sizes, mountings, lighting engines and frame colours made the entire process straightforward. Having high-quality surface lighting as a commodity product is something that we felt was needed amongst the designers. Our technology is really unique due to our patented system, and making that more easily accessible was the smart next step for us.

TLS specialises in both bespoke and larger, more complex projects. How will that change with the introduction of Carra? Will this still be your core focus?

We will still be known as the bespoke architectural lighting company. Carra has just made specifying certain projects easier. We added some high-tech machinery to our arsenal to continue delivering creative large-scale projects.

What applications/markets would the Carra collection best serve? Where do you see it being specified?

We see it being specified in small and large scale environments, such as airports, retail, hospitality and, medical. The possibilities are virtually endless.

Alongside the launch of the Carra collection, TLS has undergone a full re-brand. What was the reason behind this? What do you hope to achieve with it?

As our brand awareness has grown exponentially over the last few years, we decided to take the company to the next level, by re-branding ourselves for our widening worldwide clientele. 

Do you have any more new products/collections in the pipeline? What is next for TLS?

Our pipeline is filled with new products and technology, shortly we will launch two more collections, Circa and Linéa. Circa, our circular collection, will have standard sizes like Carra, and the same mounting and frame colour options. Linéa is our linear collection, standardised widths and available up to 20ft in length. With the three collections and our bespoke offerings, designers will be able to create lines, shapes, angles, circles with colours and contrast. 

What do you think the future holds for the lighting industry?

We see the market shifting towards immersive lighting and away from static lighting. As with our VegaRGBW lighting engine, we can programme static lighting, a circadian sequence, then have the option to control each RGB and W pixel to create a scene or a mood. The best example would be the Whitacre tower lobby at the AT&T discovery district in Dallas, Texas. More than 12,000sqft of wall-mounted and recessed LumiCLoud VegaRGB creates the entire mezzanine.