Shining a light into the "black hole": The BREE company has created a unique prototype handbag with interior illumination the first of its kind in the world. A luminescent film developed by Bayer Polymers in partnership with the Swiss firm Lumitec brings light where there was once darkness.
The unique prototype will be debuted at the international "Summerstyles" leatherwear trade show to be held in Offenbach, Germany, from September 27 to 30, 2003. Second-generation company presidents Philipp (31) and Axel (35) Bree put their trust in innovative solutions. "We had been toying with the idea of illuminating the dark insides of handbags for quite some time, but lacked an elegant solution which not only met our traditionally high demands with regard to style and function, but was also technically feasible."
The very solution they were looking for is now available in the form of "Smart Surface Technology" developed by Bayer Polymers, one of the world's largest plastics manufacturers, in partnership with the Swiss firm Lumitec, a specialist in electroluminescence (EL) and precision electronic components.
Scientists use the term EL to refer to a method of generating light that fireflies have been masters of all along - albeit by chemical means. In contrast to fireflies, engineers use a film that lights up on application of a voltage to achieve EL light generation. Electroluminescence is literally a "cool" concept, because it does not produce heat. Transparent film is printed with electroluminescent layers, shaped three-dimensionally and back-injected with thermoplastic resin. The hitch: only flat surfaces of limited size could be achieved in the past. But Smart Surface Technology now makes it possible for the films to be shaped as needed and thus to illuminate any conceivable geometry.
Eckard Foltin, head of the Creative Center at Bayer Polymers, says the main field of application for this quantum leap in technology is in the automotive industry: "Incandescent lamps in cars will soon be a thing of the past. Instrument panels will be designed to take up less room. The headliner on the interior of a car will glow in a soft, glare-free light and provide a pleasant atmosphere in the passenger compartment."
BREE was soon identified as a partner with the same goal. Intense development work led to the creation of a prototype business bag with modest, attractive light. Currently, it is being guarded like the crown jewels of England, and for good reason: the seven by sixteen centimeter lighting element - Lumitec's masterpiece - is one of a kind in the entire world! Perfectly incorporated in a non-conductive layer, the film embossed with the BREE logo lights up at the press of a button, immersing as many as two compartments in a magical glow.
BREE even sees a realistic chance of getting these innovative bags into stores by the coming year - and thus staying one step ahead of the competition as well. Because Axel and Philipp Bree are convinced of one thing: "In less than five years, interior light will be just as common in handbags as mobile telephones are today."