20 September 1945 – the time has come: the first wrought-iron chandelier for three lamps is ready. This is such a success that ten further follow and then an order for 100 luminaires – assistance is now needed. We have five employees at the end of the year producing twenty different luminaires in small series. For many years, hardly anything other than weapons has been produced in Germany which was not decisive for the war effort.
The number of personnel rises very rapidly to 50. However, qualified craftsmanship is not enough to accelerate production. Very soon 30 different luminaires are being produced by machine. For a time, the company's work is illegal as a result of the deindustrialization policy of the occupying powers but then the production permit is given by the English military government. And things can continue: the first factory hall is built, the name BEGA conceived and participation in our first exhibition – at the time still in a tent – at the Hanover industrial fair.
A time of new departures. First signs of a great economic upswing: "The German Economic Miracle". There are new developments at BEGA too: the production of special luminaires for breweries and luminaires of die cast bronze with hand-blown three ply opal glass. High-quality surfaces in a fine patina and compo-nents with 24-carat gilding with gold leaf give us almost a monopoly in Germany for high-quality outdoor luminaires. We exhibit for the first time at a foreign trade fair. Such an extensive and homogeneous collection of outdoor luminaires has never been seen in Europe before, and we receive the "Medaille d'Or" at the international trade fair in Luxembourg in 1952. And in-house there is also a lot of activity: instead of working in huts, we are now housed with already 120 employees in large modern business premises. In 1958, we construct the new multi-storey luminaire block with our colleagues at the largest industrial fair in the world in Hanover: an important and courageous step which finally leads to the "World Light Show".
There is a complete break with traditional methods due to the radical development of new channels of application technology and the fulfilment of the requirements of architecture and environmental design. World ranking architects are considering our products more and more. LICHTBAUSTEIN® - LIGHT BRICK becomes our most important and soon also most well-known trademark among experts. The BEGA LICHTGITTER® - LIGHT GRID and BEGA BAUSTEINLEUCHTE® - BUILDING BRICK LUMINAIRE are soon included. The first garden luminaires with earth spike are created at BEGA, the first underwater floodlights and the first permanent and portable floodlights. Construction systems for underground cabling and permanent housings for sockets are added. And we discover a new pioneering shape for out-door luminaires. This releases a development which is highly acclaimed both at home and abroad. At the end of the 60s, the focus is increasingly on reducing the product to the simplest form and highest functional value. Not the luminaire but light becomes the central focus of our work. A total of 27 luminaires are awarded the iF seal for exemplary design by an international jury at the Hanover industrial fair.
Classically shaped glass sphere luminaires are now increasingly gaining in importance in our collection. We construct the first bollards with mirror optics, the first drive-over in-ground luminaires and the first ceiling luminaires for indoor swimming pools and sports facilities which have a high protection class and are ballproof. Another highlight: we produce the first luminaires for ships. In February 1973, we acquire the BOOM glassworks in Belgium.
At the end of the 70s, we find not only completely novel building shapes and constructions but also entirely new potential in combining glass with metal parts made of die cast aluminium in such a way that good logical form, technical perfection, operating reliability and a high protection class create a striking entity. The design of such groups of luminaires makes them classics which become an integral part of important struc tures in world architecture. We consolidate our reputation as manufacturer of the most advanced and perhaps the largest collection of outdoor luminaires in the world. A total of 86 luminaires are awarded the iF seal for exemplary design by an international jury at the Hanover industrial fair.
Groups of new wall luminaires are created. Their shape is determined solely by the requirements of use. For example: our street luminaires with asymmetrical light distribution and infinitely variable optics. These years also see the creation of the well-known sphere with grid for wall luminaires and pole-top luminaires. Our factory now has a surface area of 51,000 m². The number of employees rises to 500. In cooperation with American partners, we establish a BEGA luminaire factory in Santa Barbara, California, USA. In 1987, we are awarded the prize for design and innovation of the Land North Rhine-Westphalia for BEGA luminaire 9906, and in 1989 the prize for excellent performance in design management: successes which are a great boost to our self-confidence. A total of 98 luminaires are awarded the iF seal for exemplary design by an international jury at the Hanover industrial fair.
Lighting innovations enable us to produce floodlights with extremely small dimensions for permanent and portable installation. New developments in lamp technology result in expansion of the scale of performance. Thanks to technical advances in optical systems, we can now provide high light outputs on surfaces with new in-ground floodlights which were previously impossible to achieve from such extremely low mounting heights. We receive first prize in 1989 of the Land North Rhine-Westphalia for industrial products for this series of luminaires. Pole-top luminaires 8821 and 8822 are awarded the "Bundespreis Produktdesign" in 1994. Awarded by the Federal Republic of Germany. This is followed in 1997 by the highest design award to date at the Han over industrial fair. For the first time, a BEGA pole-top luminaire receives the "Top Ten" award for its design and innovative technology.
Our work in the new millennium too is determined by the ever faster process developing from new directions in architecture and further rapid development in lamp technology. Our programme today comprises 23 product groups with over 2000 different types of luminaire. Consistent pursuit of formal and functional design criteria developed over decades means that each product is highly unique in itself. Our guiding principle was and still is today - durability of shape, function and material.
The variety of lamps has grown steadily since we began to develop outdoor luminaires. In most cases a new lamp technology resulted in new additions to our product range. The LED has inspired the imaginations of light enthusiasts more than any other type of lamp before it. A far higher luminous efficiency, stable light colours, a very long service life and - last but not least - a more attractive cost situation all speak in favour of the professional use of this modern lamp technology for general lighting purposes. Today we offer most series of our luminaires with LED. When it comes to the development and application of LED technology, BEGA often follows its own instincts. Our in-house production of LED modules is an additional guarantee for long-lasting and exceptionally economical luminaires in BEGA quality. Another aspect of increasing importance is control technology for use indoors as well as on the outside of a building. With BEGA Control we created our own efficient system for meeting today’s automation requirements and more.
The luminaire category commonly referred to today as “bollards” has its roots in BEGA developments. We have been producing these luminaires for several decades already, developing them into trendsetters that are also equipped for the future. The BEGA system bollard is a modular luminaire concept in which the actual lighting unit of a bollard luminaire can be combined with additional technical components that are integrated in the bollard tube. In this way, bollards can be equipped with additional floodlights, motion detectors, sockets or emergency batteries. These luminaires are available ex stock with additional functions particularly for meeting today’s demands for building services and security systems.