Nestled in a smart, modern office building near the regenerated waterfront of Swansea, UK amidst a hub of innovative tech companies and start-ups, a small team of dedicated and talented professionals is busy working up the next generation of underwater lighting systems for superyachts. We are sitting in Lumishore HQ, where the smiles of founders Tony Xu, Gareth Evans, Alun Board and CEO Eifrion Evans are plain to see. It’s hardly surprising – the company has just won its third Queen’s Award for Enterprise in a row.
This year’s award, however, is slightly different. “We’ve won three Queen’s Awards for Enterprise,” beams Eifrion Evans, “but this last one I got a big kick out of because it is for Innovation, and that is really what Lumishore is about. This company is about product and the core of our company is engineering excellence. That’s what makes us different.”
That such a small company is making such great strides – and being so recognised, not only with the Queen’s Awards but also with three METS Dame award nominations and an NMEA product excellence award – is testament to the skill and know-how behind it. Numbering just 24 people, of whom 16 are based in the Swansea HQ, Lumishore has been making an impact ever since it was founded in 2008. Indeed, it arrived on the superyacht scene with an instant innovation – the first colour-change underwater lights. “At the time I was amazed that no one else was doing colour-change lights,” says CTO Gareth Evans, “because in my previous company we had been doing it for five or six years. It’s only in the last couple of years that other [underwater lighting] companies have started to catch up to where we were in 2008.”
It is hardly surprising, given the backgrounds of the technical brains behind Lumishore. Gareth Evans, Board and Xu have worked together for more than 15 years, and were all key figures in the development of the lighting technology and software behind the famous Yas Marina hotel project and its extraordinary exoskeletal lighting displays.
Such cutting edge development is plain to see, not only in the recent additions to the Lumishore line-up of dazzling LED products, but also in the strides they are continuing to make toward advances in underwater lighting technology. These include clever engineering to overcome the heat-sink issue of lights in stainless steel hulls, louvred LED layers to direct light more efficiently and evenly from a broad range of hull mounting angles, and careful circuit board design to eliminate electromagnetic interference – a feat that has already seen them become the only company to have underwater LED lights certified under Lloyds Register Type Approval including EMI/EMC testing and compliance.
As we talk about further developments – about which you will be able to read soon in our upcoming issue of The Superyacht Report, number 172 – one thing is clear. Lumishore’s future looks bright indeed.