Bright idea sparks success

Published 7:30am 15 September 2020

Words by Jodie Powell

A Brendale business has taken out a top gong in the Australia’s prestigious International Good Design Awards.

Solar Bollard Lighting won the Good Design Award gold accolade in the Product Design Furniture and Lighting category.

The annual Good Design Awards are Australia’s oldest and most prestigious international awards for design and innovation, with a proud history dating back to 1958.

The awards celebrate the best new products and services on the Australian market, excellence in architectural design, engineering, fashion, digital and communication design, design strategy, social impact design and young designers.

The Good Design Awards jury praised Solar Bollard Lighting, saying: “Technically very impressive and there is strength in how the head unit plays on the design of a traditional lamp. It is totally fit for purpose and the testing videos are incredible.”

Award an honour

Solar Bollard Lighting managing director and founder Michael Arieni says winning the award is an honour.

“This is the first design award I have ever entered,” he says.

“It’s a big tick for my design capabilities.”

With a corporate and entertainment industry background, Michael says a move into lighting was, surprisingly, a natural fit.

Bright idea

“Music was a hobby for me and I had a touring company doing outdoor festivals and events,” he says.

“I used to choreograph light shows – lighting has always interested me.”

He was in Japan on holiday and noticed a marked drop in pollution, which led to meetings with inventors.

Among them was a company making LED lighting.

“It wasn’t very bright, but it sparked my interest,” Michael says.

He started Solar Bollard Lighting with some mates, experimenting with ideas.

“My mates dropped out in 2004 and I still had the concepts in my head and knew what was required,” Michael says.

“I needed money, so I started importing LED torches to fund the project and had a direct deal with Repco.

“I’d be unloading palates of torches, and then working on the research and development for my lights.”

When Michael released his first bollard in 2005, solar lighting was a “dirty word”, he says.

“It was hard slog to start, but then Kevin Rudd was elected and climate change policies came in and it took off.”

International market

Solar Bollard lights can now be found in more than 35 countries, are used at US Navy and Air Force bases, mining companies in Africa and local council areas across Australia.

They are vandal and impact resistant and suitable for flood-prone areas and regions affected by cyclones.

More recognition

The Good Design Award is not Solar Bollard Lighting’s first - the business won the Regional Development Australia (RDA) Moreton Bay Exporting Excellence Award at the 2018 Moreton Bay Region Business Excellence and Innovation Awards and in 2019 won the RDA Moreton Bay Exporting Excellence Award, the Australian Coastal and Marine Ecology Environment & Sustainability Award, and Akyra Employee of the Year (Trent Arieni) before landing the Moreton Bay Regional Council Business of the Year.

“The Good Design Award will give us - a manufacturer from the Moreton Bay Region - further acknowledgment of our region’s manufacturing capabilities and brand for our SBL2 clean tech solar lighting innovation,” Michael says.

Inspiring others

Moreton Bay Region Mayor Peter Flannery says other local businesses could draw hope and inspiration from Solar Bollard Lighting’s success.

“This is an enormous achievement for Solar Bollard Lighting, beating competition from across the nation for their ingenious product design,” he says.

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