Light + Building

This week I attended Light + Building in Frankfurt.

KNXThis show covers all aspects of lighting for buildings and even urban lighting.  My impression was that Light + Building was not so much about lighting technology innovation, but more about lighting design and creativity.  There was a significant area covering smart buildings and home automation with the KNX standard very much to the fore.

The previous lighting show I attended, Lux Live inLondon, was pretty much 100% LED, however this show had a mix of designs incorporating halogens, fluorescent and obviously LED. I estimate that LEDs probably accounted for 70% of all lighting on display, and OLEDs were also emerging strongly with many companies showing exciting designs.

Light + Building imageThe companies exhibiting were mainly European. Osram and Philips had a large presence but it was the smaller companies that were clearly leading the way in terms of creative design. I saw superb LED desk lamp designs, wonderful light sculptures, huge chandelier designs and much more.

A growing trend is for the LEDs to become an integral part of the light design. I saw many LED chips soldered directly into the lamp with the circuit boards an integrated part of the design.  Given the life of an LED lamp this seems a very sensible move and frees the lighting designer from the constraint of the bulb imposed form factors.  There was a section of the exhibition showcasing young lighting designers with some very refreshing designs. Many were using the halogens and even carefully sculpted fluorescent tubes but to my eye those using LEDs had the more interesting designs. This has allowed them to distribute the small point light sources wherever they desired within their designs and freed them from the constraints of older bulb designs.

One thing I took from the show is that lighting design is a vibrant industry.  I think that technology, and in particular LED technology, is creating a renaissance in lighting design never seen before.  With LEDs, architectural lighting can be achieved on any scale and a reasonable cost.  I think smart buildings are not just about efficiency, with good design we also create buildings we are comfortable to be in.

Two great design concepts grabbed my imagination at the show.  I will talk about these in my next blog.

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