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A vintage year for IALD Enlighten Americas

16 October 2009 16.00 BST

(USA) Enlighten Americas 2009 took place in Sonoma County, CA USA, 8-10 October 2009. The 9th Annual IALD Enlighten Americas conference drew in over 280 attendees, a record-breaking number that included attendees from Japan, Brazil, Australia, Mexico, Germany, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, Canada and the United States. Attendees included lighting designers, architects, engineers, manufacturers, students, educators and speakers.

The first official day of the conference began with the Opening General Session : Leading With Light, a panel discussion that included Mark Elliott, Associate IALD; Barbara Horton, IALD; Emily Klingensmith, IALD; Kaoru Mende, IALD; and moderated by David Ghatan, Associate IALD.
The discussion revolved around Enlighten Americas' theme, "Leading With Light" - What does it mean to lead with light? How do we lead with light? Where will the future of light lead us? The session provided an overarching theme and discussion for the rest of the conference. Overall, the discussion led to the conclusion that lighting designers lead with light in four ways - through design, through technology, through collaboration and through integration. 

This set the tone for an interesting conference programme where ‘quality, not quantity’ was the key. The programme featured three concurrent seminar tracks in business, design and current issues. The business track kicked off with a particularly interesting session by Randy Burkett, FIALD, on ‘The Lighting Designer as a Professional’ where tips and tricks were given to get clients to recognise the value of lighting designers' service.

As part of the design track, a session that caught everyone's imagination was that by David Walvoord of DreamWorks Animation on ‘Lighting for Animation : Design Through Implementation’. Academy Award winner Walvoord described how he uses lighting to visually tell stories. While the obvious differences between virtual lighting and real-world lighting include the simulated physics and no worries about electricity and lamps, the more obscure difference is that virtual lighters can cheat. They can add in arbitrary colors and shadows, necessary to create a visual structure for the movie, but Dave comically warned, "Don't screw with light if you don't have to!" With images from Kung Fu Panda as reference, he explained how visual structure was created to maintain a cohesive look to the lighting throughout the movie.

Of particular interest in the current issues track was the LED debate where Jimalee Dakin (Visa Lighting), Eric Lind (Lutron) and Paula Ziegenbein (Osram Sylvania), members of the LIRC manufacturers, and Ardra Zinkon, Associate IALD reviewed and discussed the "State of the Standard" of LED technology, while providing a checklist for specifying LED luminaries, retro-fit lamps and controls. The standing-room only session was full of lighting designers, architects, students and LED lighting manufacturers. This type of discussion will help lead this new technology to fit the requirements of designers and architects in their lighting energy efficient designs.

On the last day of the conference, students attended a special student workshop led by Rogier van der Heide of Arup and lighting design instructor at the Technical University of Graz in Austria. During an exercise prepared by Rogier, the students split into small groups and were challenged to develop product concepts for off-the-grid energy generation. As attention towards sustainability and social responsibility within professional and academic circles intensifies, the exercise was topical and relevant to contemporary discussions about light and energy.
Rogier concluded the session with his lecture "Lovelight", during which he showed his own work and described his approach to lighting and design. As a student it was most inspiring, not only to see photographs of his beautiful finished projects, but to hear how an experienced professional approaches a design challenge with humor and enthusiasm, and despite unforeseen problems and limitations, accomplishes incredible results.

The 2009 IALD Lifetime Achievement Award, the greatest honour bestowed by the IALD, was presented to Derek Phillips, FIALD, founder of DPA Lighting Consultants and first to practice architectural design in the UK. See our news story for further details.
During the 9th Annual Business Meeting Luncheon on Saturday, 10 October 2009, IALD President Jeffrey I.L. Miller, IALD, spoke about the IALD Energy and Sustainability Committee's initiatives and regionalization within the IALD. He also recognized Enlighten Americas generous sponsors, to whom the IALD attributes this year's conference's success. Miller also recognised the volunteers who made this year's activities possible by their collective efforts and dedication to volunteerism: Andrea Hartranft, IALD, for her term as Awards Chair; Charles Thompson, IALD, for his term as LIRC Steering Committee Co-Chair; and David Bird, IALD, and Patrick Gallegos, IALD, for their terms on the Membership Committee.  
Miller also welcomed two new fellows to the IALD - Chip Israel, FIALD, and Michael Souter, FIALD. The IALD Fellow designation is awarded to a member of the IALD for valuable contribution to the art and science of lighting design, and for their continued service to the IALD. Fellows are professional members with a minimum number of ten years experience. Congratulations to both Chip and Michael on this achievement. Miller also recognised the IALD Board of Directors for their hard work this past year, and gave a special recognition to the following outgoing board members: Gilberto Franco, IALD; Victor Palacio, IALD; Kevin Theobald, IALD; Galina Zbrizher, IALD; and Larry French, IALD.  
"We have been truly fortunate to have your leadership and guidance on the membership committee for the past ten years, and have benefited from having you at the helm as chair for the past five," said Miller while presenting a service plaque to Larry French's for his volunteer service.
After recognising the outgoing board members, Miller performed his last public presidential duty - handing over the gavel to President-Elect Katherine Abernathy, IALD. Abernathy said she hopes to capitalise on the foundation that Miller has established and looks forward to building upon his success, especially in the areas of public policy and energy and sustainability. She also encouraged members to stay informed via Reflections for timely news and volunteer opportunities.
Mark Roush, IALD Education Trust President, gave an update on Trust activities and acknowledged the students in attendance, as well as the IALD Education Trust Board of Directors, "It is only through the volunteer time and efforts of our tireless board members that we accomplish these goals." He also recognised outgoing board members, Philip Cialdella and Kenneth Douglas, IALD, for their leadership and dedication to the Trust.
Roush was also pleased to announce a grand total of $12,000 USD raised for the IALD Education Trust during his week-long Jump Fundraiser. He acknowledged Peerless Light for contributing $10,000 USD, as well as individual and corporate donors for their support.
Before the closing evening event, attendees gathered to attend the Town Hall Meeting moderated by John Martin, IALD Public Policy. The Town Hall Meeting is historically a heated conversation on current lighting-related issues. This year, John focused on four main topics - credentialing, energy metrics, quality and member activism. The room was split into tables of five or more to discuss each topic amongst themselves for a few minutes. After table discussions, John invited representatives of each table to the front of the room to express their opinions to the entire group. Lighting designers as well as manufacturers expressed passionate and varied opinions on each topic.

There were many opportunities to network and have fun at the conference with three receptions and two networking hours. The President's Opening Reception, sponsored by Cooper Lighting, provided a delightful and elegant backdrop for welcoming attendees and guests to IALD Enlighten Americas 2009. After Jeffrey Miller, and Lance Bennett of Cooper Lighting welcomed everyone, Charles Stone of Fisher Marantz Stone praised the students for amazing results during LightPlay and invited all attendees to view the results.
Friday Evening's Dinner Reception, sponsored by Acuity Brands Lighting, was indeed a party for the senses. The room was decorated in neon colours, black lights and Acuity's very own ice bar. The entertainment, as always, was unique. Attendee activities included face painting, caricature drawings, handwriting analysis, tarot card readings, balloon making, among others.
Saturday's Wine Tasting Closing Gala, sponsored by Philips Lightolier, took place at Chateau St. Jean, a winery founded in 1973 in Sonoma County. Zia Eftekhar, CEO Philips Lightolier Group, welcomed guests, while attendees enjoyed wines, light appetizers and great conversations all set against the beautiful scenery of Sonoma County.

Jeffrey Miller commented: “While there was quite a focus on sustainabiity, light and legislation, this was by no means a dry affair, Sonoma being wine country! IALD Enlighten ’09 will be remembered as three passionate days of engagement in a wonderful setting with many of our profession’s most generous individuals and companies. We saw again this year, the intimate personal exchanges which distinguish our conference uniquely among the glut of global lighting events. I’m looking forward to IALD Enlighten ’10 in Denver. See you there. Thanks for attending.”
Overall, Enlighten Americas 2009 : Leading With Light was a success. With attendance and the global presence at an all-time high, this year's conference only sets the standard for future Enlighten Americas.


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