Most of us in the lighting industry have spent the last few days recovering from what is possibly the most important lighting exhibition on the scene, at least for us Europeans. Whilst I expect one or two of the Asian shows are physically bigger, and if you are in the US you may disagree. Light+Build is a huge landmark of a show. Held every two years to ensure manufacturers have something new to show and to give us all time to recover before the next. As such a critical show Ideaworks attended with a team of lighting designers.
Its true that the last couple of shows have been all about making everything LED, putting an LED in an existing luminaire, or selling some LED strips. Its also true that its hard to stay excited looking around 20 large exhibition halls at what felt like the same things. 2014 was also big on OLED (which seems to be quietly going the way of Betermax and HDCD. As well as bizarrely lots of hanging circles of light.
2016’s show has been far more exciting. LED is coming into its own for lighting designers. Manufacturers are paying attention to quality and creativity.
As hoped we discovered many interesting new products from unique shelf lighting ideas, to clever plaster in products, to new remote control adjustable ceiling lights. I would try to list them by name but that would be unfair to any I don’t have space to mention, plus a pretty dull read. What really stood out were the main trends coming through across the show.
CRI, something Ideaworks has been trying to educate about for years, has become a big deal finally. Manufacturers are competing with each other to offer the best quality of light and introducing new more effective methods of quantifying it – TM30.
Adaptive or intelligent white products (that is light fittings that can adapt their colour temperature) are everywhere, with some really great examples now available. As lighting designers we can now truly offer an adaptive white experience, providing warm candle like scenes through to bright cool lighting – as scene recently in our Beaumont Hotel project.
Another big trend we are seeing is wireless lighting control. For a long time this has been a small niche market with ‘in our opinion’ compatibility and long term reliability issues. This seems to be taking off in a big way, seemingly every driver and chip manufacturer is offering their own system along with some of the big luminaire companies. Its clear that this is a direction the industry is going to take, but not everyone can be a winner. A company that really impressed me was Gooee, although not yet on the market their business model and product range seemed to really understand how to work within multiple markets and with multiple partners. As a lighting design and control consultant its our job to advise on how best to adapt with the evolving market and choose the right technology that will work for our clients, as well as offer reliability and adaptability in the future.
Sadly the quality and smoothness of dimming LED is still not a hot topic among most companies. Only a small handful of specialists are paying attention to this and promoting it as a key feature. Good quality and low level dimming is something we at Ideaworks really endorse, it would be nice to see more manufacturers with this as a priority.
Another trend we’ve all already noticed is the antique style filament lamp – seen everywhere from cafes and clubs to hotels and houses, the difference being that a number of interesting companies have realistic dimmable LED versions. Without huge white bases (housing the drivers) on them. It could be great news for energy efficient decorative lighting and our interior designer partners. Not wanting to take anything for granted we are working with a few companies that impressed us to test and further develop some for our own use.
All in, an interesting show for us, providing a lot of new ideas and technology for our designers to use. If you are interested in using clever lighting or intelligent lighting control to enhance your projects please visit us and get in contact.