Luxlive Show featured full seminar program and busy show floor
Luxlive closed last week to good reviews from both attendees and visitors alike. The show featured more than 50 hours of free sessions in 4 themed areas and these were well attended by both show visitors and exhibitor staff alike. There is often the fear that an extensive seminar program will detract from people spending enough time at the exhibitors booths. However, this didn’t seem to be the case. Many of the exhibitors I spoke to were very happy with both the quantity and quality of visitors to their booths.
Philips, Osram and GE all had a large presence showcasing their latest products and marketing strategies, but some of the large European luminaire manufacturers were absent. Smaller and national companies were there and showed that being nimble and focused on a particular market can often pay dividends, with limited but highly innovative ranges. For example, the LED edge-lit range from FernHoward using technology from Rambus Lighting. It seems a simple bulkhead luminaire but on close inspection, it is without the glare that you would normally associate with this type of product.
There was a lot of buzz around Philips hue: the world’s smartest LED bulb that enables you to control light wirelessly and create and personalize light with an app on your smartphone or tablet. They also unveiled Luminous Textile which is a revolutionary new way to enhance interiors with light, texture and dynamic visual content. A totally unique ambient lighting system, it integrates multi-coloured LEDs seamlessly within beautiful white or coloured textile panels. The result is a “mood wall” that can integrate lighting into a building’s architecture and emphasize the concept of any room. Long dreamed of by architects because the range of fabrics and sheer flexibility of the content provides phenomenal creative potential, this concept is sure to take off.
Among the latest innovations showcased by GE were the Lumination™ LED Luminaires range, which offers their first true alternative to linear flourescent lighting for office, retail, education and healthcare environments. There was also a lot of interest in the GE sponsored, 200-plus-mph (322-plus-kph) electric race car, built to demonstrate systems that are intended for use in the forthcoming Formula E Championship, a new electric vehicle racing series that the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) plans for next year. Although global sales of electric vehicles (EV) have so far surpassed last year, EV purchases still lag significantly behind conventional cars. It is thought that racing could help get people comfortable with the idea of owning and operating an EV and the all-electric race will be heavily televised.
Osram featured a competition; The Artist – OLED Luminaire Design Contest, aimed at giving designers a chance to use a range of OLED components from OSRAM to create their own masterpiece. Within the booth there was a showcase of the 10 shortlisted luminaires designed to take advantage of OLED technology. Visitors could vote for the one they found to be the most innovative and inspiring. The winner, submitted by Christopher Vater of WILA, won a development prize of £1000 ($1587).
THORN Lighting were very excited about their Smart Buildings Experience launch. This interactive program has been created to help end users and specifiers discover the most suitable lighting and controls for buildings and surrounding areas. Starting with the application, the lighting and energy needs are identified before a range of suitable products are offered.
Lumenpulse – a relative newcomer having only opened their EMEA headquarters in London last December – showed that a company with a vision, clear design philosophy and application focus can cover a multitude of lighting requirements with relatively few products. The fact that all the products have a clear design identity which is recognizable and yet neutral enough for most building styles is appreciated by many designers.
Artistic Licence Engineering demonstrated control of the planar lighting products newly available from Philips – luminous textile and organic LED (Lumiblade). Artistic Licence Engineering’s dVnet driver allows video to be directly rendered on the luminous textile panels. dVnet achieves this by converting digital video input to KiNet, the streaming protocol supported by Philips. They also developed an OLED specific driver as part of their sunDial range, ensuring safe and optimal operation of the latest OLED products.
Free Seminars and Demonstrations.
The program sessions started with a tribute to Jonathan Speirs which showed a collage of his work; both in the UK and abroad. It was a fitting reminder of the talent that we have lost. Having visited many of the projects completed by Jonathan and his team, I felt honored to have known him – even if only briefly. The event was also used to launch the Jonathan Speirs Scholarship Fund, set up to provide support to students of architecture who wish to enter the architectural lighting profession.
Roger Dangell (MEIT) & Peter Le Manquais (WILA) presented a case study of Nomura London – the UK’s largest LED Lighting Project – which gave a fascinating insight into the decision process of choosing between large format luminaires or continuous linear lighting strips for an open plan trading floor. Other case studies included the London Underground, H&M, hospitals, airports and an IKEA store.
Roger Sexton (Xicato) explained the various application areas found in the hotel and hospitality segment, and what end users can expect from using LEDs in these areas.
The highlight for me was the presentation by renowned Washington-based lighting designer George Sexton on the design concept and execution of the dramatic exterior lighting of the Shard in London Bridge. He gave us an insight into how the team looked at other major cities at night; their personality, nighttime shape and appearance. They then discussed what that meant for the London skyline – given that there is already so much iconic architecture in the area – and how the Shard would fit in that landscape. The result is a spectacular and innovative use of new technologies – both in building materials, lighting and control systems.
The live forums provided some lively debates and interesting – if sometimes opposing – points of view. Many of these were standing room only but since they were held in the open on the show floor, it was often difficult to hear.
There were many ‘masterclasses’ given including how to approach optical design, contractor safety, code updates and proposed new TV lighting standards.
The Luxlive Awards 2012 were presented on November 6th in association with the Lighting Industry Association, at a lavish awards ceremony held beneath a dinosaur in the Natural History Museum. In total, 16 awards were presented including The Crown Jewels, Tower of London – Sutton Vane Associates, who won the award for Retrofit Lighting Project of the Year. Judges were ‘blown away’ by this ‘once-in-a-lifetime project’ and cited a ‘stunning and highly sophisticated design’ that ‘made the jewels sing’. The Retail and Leisure Project of the Year was a Morrisons Supermarket by NG Bailey. The site is Europe’s first all-LED store, reducing energy costs, maintenance costs and installation time all by around 50 per cent. The store also uses daylight harvesting, working alongside Dali-controlled luminaires, with lightlines (trunking) going down the aisles as opposed to Morrisons’ traditional cross-aisle approach. The project ‘takes quality low-energy LED lighting to a mass audience,’ said the judges. Sabine De Schutter won the SLL Young Lighter of the Year award for her paper on ‘Shadow defining space’.
The 2 day event was a success and some manufacturers have already booked for next year. Some people left the show calling “see you at the ARC show in May”. But I wonder if the UK lighting market and London in particular is big enough to sustain a number of lighting shows and events. Of course, the organizers will tell you that each show is aimed at different segments of the market. But the UK, just like other countries in Europe, is struggling out of a prolonged recession. Exhibitors simply can’t afford to be at all of them. Perhaps it makes more sense for these lighting events to come together in one big, fabulous show? Only time will tell. But for now at least, the UK has the luxury of enjoying many lighting shows.
Written by Julie Allen, Editor.