I’ve just returned from Light+Building 2016 in Frankfurt. As always, the week-long fair was a blockbuster display of grand scale featuring the latest in lighting products and innovations. It was one of the busiest Light+Building gatherings I can remember since I first started attending the event in 2008. Attendance numbers just released this morning by Messe Frankfurt, the fair organizer, confirm it: 216,000 trade visitors from 160 countries, up from 211,232 visitors in 2014, and 2,589 exhibitors, up from 2,495 in 2014.
Now comes the process of follow up as press kits are downloaded and additional press materials become available. In the coming weeks look for AL’s detailed post-show coverage. In the meantime, here is a quick snapshot with some initial impressions of Light+Building 2016:
· Busy. Busy. Busy.
· Overall product maturation and greater comfort level with LEDs.
· Zumtobel enters the outdoor lighting space with two new product families: Supersystem Outdoor and Nightscape, a luminaire family designed in conjunction with architect Ben van Berkel of UNStudio.
· Designer/manufacturer collaborations were in abundance. In addition to the Zumtobel/UNStudio new product offering there were also new collaborations between Reggiani and Speirs + Major with a new bulkhead fixture called Cells. Roger Narboni has teamed with Technilum in the design of an outdoor lighting system called Extimity.
· Color discussions took a more artistic view, as evidenced by “Color Wheels,” a light art piece by designers Aleksandra Stratimirovic and Athanassios Danilof on display at Targetti’s stand. Compared to recent discussions with U.S. lighting designers and manufacturers, TM-30 seemed less of a buzzword for manufacturers and designers in Europe.
· Very few U.S. companies exhibit in Frankfurt, but those that do, such as Lucifer Lighting and Lutron, achieve great reach with the international design community as a result.
· After iGuzzini’s successful launch of Laser Blade in 2014, it seems the entire industry has followed suit with slim-profile, recessed linear wallwashing fixtures.
· Corporate speak from companies such as Philips and Osram. During its press conference Philips would not answer any questions regarding the sale of the lighting business; no surprise. Rather, it tried to convince journalists that it is the “Lighting company for the Internet of Things”—the tagline reiterated throughout the hour-long meeting with press.
· Myriad conversations with lighting designers from around the globe. Concern remains that quality of light still suffers at the expense of energy efficiency.