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Paul James / Pete Brewis - Editorial Comment

June / July 2012

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

Paul James, editor, writes: 
April certainly was a monumental month for lighting design. Two events signalled a bright future for the profession. First, of course, was the behemoth that is Light+Building. Whilst the technology on display could be described as evolutionary rather than revolutionary, the sheer scale of the show (196,000 visitors, up 7% from two years ago) is proof positive that the lighting industry is enjoying a resurgence after several years in the doldrums, thanks very much to the advancement of LED technology and the energy efficiency legislation that is facilitating its adoption. But more on that from my colleague below and in our special 60 page Light + Building report.

The second was a much more low key affair but an important one nonetheless. On April 17th, during Light + Building, a meeting took place between the Professional Lighting Designers’ Association (PLDA) and the International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD) amongst others. Whilst on the face of it, this was not particularly groundbreaking (there were, after all, a total of nine associations present), the restructuring of the PLDA and the apparent willingness of our two international associations to cooperate could represent a watershed moment in the history of the lighting design profession. As the immediate past president of the PLDA and organiser of the meeting, Francesco Iannone, notes in our exclusive interview on page 42, “In every organisation there are positive and negative phases. Most of the negative ones coincide with periods of great change that are very rarely painless.”

It would be remiss of me not to comment that this certainly has been a painful chapter in the PLDA story. Now that the ship has been steadied and it is ready to move full steam ahead under the guidance of new president Herbert Cybulska and others, I am extremely hopeful that there can be more international cooperation at a time when the lighting industry needs to have a united front. Initiatives such as PLDA’s Declaration of the Official Establishment of the Lighting Design Profession, the CELMA Lighting System Design Energy Label and the IALD Global Architectural Lighting Designer Certification Programme are vital to protect our industry from future threats.

Light+Building 2012 may have given the impression that everything is rosy, but we must work together to ensure that it stays that way. .

Pete Brewis, deputy editor, writes:  As an industry, the lighting community exists with one eye constantly locked on the horizon. The speed of lighting development – particularly in recent years – has resulted in an ever-shifting landscape that seems to require constant monitoring. How is technology changing? What form factors will stay and which will quickly become redundant? What evolving role should lighting design practices play? What cultural, environmental and aesthetic trends will come to the fore and how will these affect the longevity of products and projects? Wrap all this up with the day-to-day challenge of developing lighting for a building that may not exist for another two years and its easy to understand why thousands flock to Light + Building to get a handle on where we are and where we’re going. Thankfully this year’s Frankfurt seemed to have, if not all the answers then at least a good few heavy hints as to how LED and its supporting technology is developing. Since 2010, which was in many ways more a statement of intent that the unveiling of a finished solution, manufacturers have got to grips with solid state and its capabilities and are now delivering a more mature, considered and, above all, practical set of products.

And it wasn’t just the future of technology that was on show. Design Plus, Light + Building’s own awards, recognised the work of several students in their Young Professional category whilst, over in the decorative halls, the Young Designer pavilion provided a showcase for emerging product designers. It was interesting to see the solutions thrown up by both – and the fresh perspective they bring. We’ve included a selection of their work, as well as a roundup of all the latest developments in our comprehensive Light + Building report, which starts on page 91.



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