Optelma, known for its creative and innovative lighting solutions, is marking 35 years since its emergence into the British market.   

Optelma first launched in the UK back in 1987 when its Swiss operation began supplying the British contract market. The first solutions supplied were low voltage track systems, featuring newly launched 12v dichroic lamps.    

The brand secured its first big contract with fashion retailer Oasis, supplying stores across London, including Oxford Street, as well as the Glasgow location with its unique Miko system. This success led from a joint venture with Optelma Switzerland to Optelma officially launching its UK operation.     

Product highlights throughout Optelma’s 35 years must include the Canal which was launched in 1995. This linear aerofoil profile system was supplied in fixed lengths of up to 6m with fluorescent, CDM and LV lamp. The architectural continuous curved linear system Civa followed in 1997, with the launch of the Jogg Pendant in 1999.  

In the three decades and more since their establishment, Optelma has been specified in an overwhelming number of high-profile projects. In 1991, Optelma worked with lighting designer Charles Marsden Smedley to illuminate a number of the public rooms at Windsor Castle. Their solutions replaced lights installed in the 1880s. The project was such a success that after the 1997 fire, the brand was asked to design, supply, and install lighting in the castle’s 14th Century Grand Kitchen. The Optelma lights continue to perform here after 25 years of service, seen every day by visitors enjoying a tour of the historic kitchens.  

This Royal connection continued with Optelma supplying lighting for displays in Buckingham Palace in 1998.  

Optelma’s ability to fulfil the needs of large projects has been notable through the successful completion of a many large roll-out projects. In 2000, a significant number of Sainsburys stores were fitted with Optelma solutions, while in 2001/2002, a national refit of Virgin Stores was completed. Other multi-site successes for the manufacturer include Fitness First, Lush, WeWork and Third Space.    

More recently, Optelma has secured contracts from prominent projects i360, Bloomingdales, Harrods, McLaren, Williams F1 and Red Bull. 

Optelma now boasts a stunning showroom In Central London, home to many of their brands including the only BEGA showcase in London. This year the showroom will play host to a number of industry events to celebrate Optelma’s 35th Year. To kick-start a year of events will be a show stopping Birthday Party and Showroom Relaunch around April and May, expect signature pink cocktails to be flowing, canapes to be served and some memorable entertainment. Optelma certainly don’t do events by half. There will definitely be some dates to add to the social calendar. There will also be a some fun charity events, to give back to the community to mark this momentous year.  

John Phillips, Optelma’s Managing Director until 2020, said: “Having been involved since the very beginning of Optelma UK, it is incredible to see how much the brand has evolved, strengthened and grown. From royal palaces to fashion stores, gyms to supermarkets, Optelma’s market-leading solutions can be found far and wide across the UK – and beyond.  

“It is an exciting time for the lighting industry, and as a company Optelma is looking forward to embracing new technologies and continuing to delight our clients and partner organisations. We are also looking forward to celebrating 35 years in the business with our industry friends.”  

Other notable events in the Optelma timeline include: 

•        1989 – the official launch of Optelma UK took place at the then famous Interior Design International Exhibition in London’s Earl Court. The show was a great success, with over 500 visitors being impressed with Optelma’s first range of Yuma, Miko, Mono, Toa, Elek and Xen – the first jack point system to hit the UK market. Exterior versions of the Xen co-axial system followed, allowing discreet made-to-measure low voltage exterior lighting for signs and garden landscapes. 

•        1997 – 2004 – Optelma supplied floor lights to a number of Conran restaurants including Guastavinos in New York. 

•        2001 – The brand designed and supplied lighting for the famous Queens House picture gallery in Greenwich, working with designer Charles Marsden Smedley. The gallery was opened by Prince Charles, with the Optelma team attending the opening event. 

 •       2018 –Optelma’s new London showroom opens in the design centre of Clerkenwell. 

November 2023 issue

2023 A1 Buyers Guide