Interview: Zuma's Morten Warren on his bright idea for KBB retailers

InterviewFeatures Mon 30th May 2022 by Amelia Thorpe

Interview: Zuma's Morten Warren on his bright idea for KBB retailers

Interview: Zuma's Morten Warren on his bright idea for KBB retailers

Feature by Amelia Thorpe | Mon 30th May 2022

Amelia is an award-winning journalist, specialising in kitchens, bathrooms, interiors and design. She has contributed to many leading national publications, and has written about the kitchen and bathroom business for more than 15 years. More

The smart speaker light developed by British technology start-up Zuma represents a new and exciting opportunity for KBB retailers, says founder and CEO Morten Warren – he tells Amelia Thorpe why.

When industrial designer Morten Warren began renovating his newly purchased house about six years ago, he soon ran into a problem when it came to introducing smart features. "On one hand, there are cheap and cheerful white plastic sound docks and smart speakers that end up littering your home with cables and plugs," he says. "On the other, there are the expensive, out-of-sight custom install solutions, and nothing in between."

"I paid a ridiculous amount of money and ended up with a huge AV rack in a cupboard the size of a giant refrigerator just to have music playing through my house – yet nothing ever seemed to work very well and I’d have to call someone back every six months to re-programme it," he continues. "I scratched my head and thought there’s something wrong here."

Warren, 54, founded design agency Native nearly 25 years ago, undertaking projects for clients from Ford to Bang & Olufson, "using design to really help solve problems for companies in a creative way," as he describes it. When he discovered others with the same smart home problems as his own, he set to work. 

His eureka moment came from noticing that GU10 downlights populate most rooms in the house. "They are everywhere – and the perfect product to build in other things," he explains. The result is Zuma Lumisonic – an unobtrusive smart combined LED ceiling light and speaker, controllable through an existing Alexa (or similar) device or Zuma’s mobile app, designed to be simple to fit and retailing at £375 each. It has just won a prestigious Red Dot Product Design Award.

Zuma Lumisonic, the ultra-compact smart speaker light that combines high-fideility audio with LED lighting

Developed in conjunction with acoustic engineers, Trevor Wilson (previously with Naim audio) and Laurence Dickie, creator of the Nautilus loudspeaker, and with experienced smart home CTO Alex Kiernan, Warren has placed high-quality sound at the forefront of Zuma’s capabilities. "We have developed a completely unique loudspeaker to deliver incredible sound," he says. 

Zuma Lumisonic in a Simplicity Square bevel

The light is dimmable, can be adjusted from warm to cool light temperatures, and be set with wellbeing modes of curated blends of light and sound experiences through its app. For a small bathroom, Warren recommends 2 Lumisonic (sound and light) and 2 Luminaire (light only). "We find 2 Lumisonic is the minimum because you get great stereo, but 4 is incredibly delightful for a fully immersive experience," he says.

This month sees the introduction of Smart Bezel Voice, which integrates a microphone into the existing ceiling speaker unit, so that sound and light can be controlled by voice alone (negating the need for an app on your phone or an external Alexa device in the room). There are plans for bezels with additional capabilities including temperature and motion sensors, cameras and security features and carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. 

Zuma Lumisonic can be installed as part of a new kitchen or retro-fitted into an old spotlight location, using Zuma’s patented Blade System designed to simplify installation

According to Houzz’s most recent UK Kitchen report, 57% of all smart home product usage starts in the kitchen, with smart lighting and smart speakers as the fastest-growing category. Warren suggests that KBB retailers now have the opportunity to sell their customers the Zuma Lumisonic product that enhances a new room design – without adding to the worktop clutter and trailing mass of cables. "Why leave that [smart home] spend to go to Curry’s or somewhere like it?" he says. "Retailers have a great opportunity to really help customers create a wonderful environment."

IP65 rated, Zuma Lumisonic can be pre-set with combinations of ambient lighting and natural soundscapes or relaxing music

To find out more about Zuma Lumisonic please email:

Tags: interview, features, morten warren, zuma, smart speaker

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