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Paul James / Pete Brewis - Editorial Comment

April / May 2012

An introduction to the latest issue from the editor Paul James and deputy editor Pete Brewis ...

Paul James, editor, writes:
That’s it! I’ve had enough! Don’t get me wrong, I’m as environmentally friendly as I can possibly be. I recycle religiously, I’m forever following my wife in the house turning off light switches and the TV stand-by button. Hell, I even don’t flush until the smell gets too bad! But if I get one more press release from a manufacturer extolling the sustainable virtues of a project, I will scream! Actually, that’s a lie. I already have screamed. Loudly. Wasting a lot of my energy.

I have seen many lighting schemes recently where energy efficiency is the only redeeming feature. Even the quality of light has been poor but hey, as long as it saves money! And let’s not talk about the ‘design’ of the schemes... My top was finally blown when I received a phone call from a manufacturer’s PR ‘representative’ about a particularly ‘exciting’, large retail scheme where the metal halide downlights were ripped out and replaced with LED ones. I held the phone away from my ear as the PR person got more and more animated about the energy saving credentials of the project. “What about the design of the scheme?” I asked. “The design?” the PR asked, bemused. “Yes, what was the design concept?” I queried. “There is no design, this is a sustainability story,” countered the PR. “I think you’ve got the wrong magazine,” I sighed. “But...” He must have got cut off... (true story, I had really had enough).

Throughout the pages of this issue (our biggest ever, by the way) you will see stories where design is the cornerstone of the lighting scheme with, yes, sustainability a close second. If a scheme is designed well, the energy efficiency surely must follow. Even in projects where saving money is a major factor for the client such as in a casino, (see our story starting on page 119) the lighting designers were still more concerned with creating an appealing environment through design. The clue is in the name of our profession of which I am proud to be involved: LIGHTING DESIGN. Overzealously environmental manufacturers and their PR firms need not apply.

Pete Brewis, deputy editor, writes: In many ways the size of this issue is indicative of an industry that has really hit its 2012 stride. With the creative buzz of The ARC Show still humming in our ears, it’s time once again to gird our collective loins in preparation for the technological onslaught of Light + Building.

Impressively, even with L+B just around the corner, The ARC Show 2012 proved consistently busy with plenty of new products and inspiring debate to take in. It was further proof that, as the saying goes, ‘Size isn’t everything’. Smaller domestic shows can offer huge advantages, with connections easier to make, contacts easier to maintain, and conversations easier to conduct; it is, in short, a snapshot of the industry in a more digestible chunk. And if a show can find a niche – as The ARC Show has with its focus on creativity and innovation - the benefits multiply yet further.

The reverse is equally true. In the decorative & design world, Milan’s Salone del Mobile remains one of the dominant events, but there are some within its sphere of influence who feel its mammoth size is in danger of tipping the balance, with the effort and cost of attendance gradually outweighing any benefit gained. In contrast, smaller shows across Europe in cities like Berlin and Stockholm (see page 145) have fast gained in importance. Ostensibly domestic in nature, they find it easier to use nationality and the pull of city-specific creative communities as a hook on which to hang a wider, more globally inclusive event. Small, as they say, is beautiful.
But sometimes Big is Brilliant. As daunting as the prospect of Light + Building can be, it remains an essential opportunity for members of the industry to come together and reveal their hands. Two years ago, LEDs proved the strongest suit as manufacturers across the spectrum threw in their chips with solid state light sources. We’re looking forward to seeing what this year’s story will be....



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