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The future of lighting design

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

I’ve attended many trade shows over the years and the Lighting Expo in Frankfurt in April was one of the most extraordinary examples of product design innovation I’ve seen.

If there was a theme this year it was that the future of lamping is LED. That said, it soon became obvious that all LEDs are not equal and that new lamping technologies, while progressive, are not yet the answer for all lighting. Issues like overall performance, color rendering, glare, dimming, and life expectancy still need to be carefully evaluated in the selection process.

I’ve been a vocal advocate of engaging in conversations about lighting early in the design process. After all, lighting reinforces our visual experiences of space, form, texture and color. When I began my profession as an interior designer the lighting profession was in the early stages of winning recognition as a credible consulting practice, one that understood both the technical and the aesthetic side of lighting and the impact it had on space and form. As a young interior designer I immediately understood the value of this partnership in the design process.

Courtesy of a certain Icelandic volcano, I had a chance to spend a few additional days in Germany after the show, and put my time to good use, visiting Arnsberg, touring the Schmitz lighting factory, and Wiedenbruck, visiting the IP44 lighting showroom. All told, spending nearly a week there focused on lighting with lighting professionals both reinforced and broadened my respect for the profession.

LED lamping technology is exciting, and its potential is enormous as it continues to evolve very rapidly. Our lighting decisions need to take place from a position of knowledge, not just as a result of being excited.

- Joe Rondinelli

Joe Rondinelli is a Senior Associate at Shepley Bulfinch and a senior interior designer with the firm.


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