New Year: new plans, new expectations, new hopes—and 2013 is no different than any other year in that regard. In this month’s Report article, “Nine for Thirteen,” I asked several individuals who represent different facets of the lighting community for their take on the year ahead of us. It’s an excellent snapshot of the industry’s concerns and aspirations. Inspired by the responses, it seems only fair that I should add my thoughts.
There are a variety of issues that will take center stage in the coming year. The economy certainly will continue to dictate decision making at all levels. Hopefully, both design firms and lighting manufacturers will continue to be able to make rational rather than knee-jerk decisions, and not sacrifice long-term growth for short-term fixes.
Technological developments will also play a major role, as designers and manufacturers continue to adjust to what it means to have LEDs in their lighting toolkits. I particularly hope that manufacturers will ramp up their focus on the technical components that are involved in the design of luminaires, especially as it pertains to optics and issues of brightness and glare. These have always been one of the more complex aspects of fixture design, no matter the type of light source. We take a look at this topic in this month’s Technology article, “Optical Illumination.”
Light quality is another phrase that you will hear more often in 2013. It’s an ongoing dance between design, energy codes, and technology; designers and manufacturers continually refine their practices to sync these three together for a better end product.
Social media will play an evolving role in the lighting industry as more firms, organizations, manufacturers, and individuals join in the conversation. There are robust discussion forums on LinkedIn and on manufacturer portals where design inspirations are being shared and technical questions are being asked. And the ability to report live from conferences and trade shows using Twitter will continue to redefine how people connect and receive information at these events.
But there are two areas in particular that I believe will have a truly transformative 2013: professional-level lighting education and academic lighting discussions.
In terms of education, there is a growing awareness that learning does not end at graduation. Once someone enters the workforce, there is so much to learn in terms of project management, client interaction, and budgets, not to mention the hands-on reality of designing with and specifying the proper luminaire. In the past few months, several professional-level lighting courses have emerged. We discuss the Brandi Institute here, launched by lighting designer Ulrike Brandi. Also, we have previously reported on the establishment of the Rocky Mountain Lighting Academy at the University of Colorado Boulder.
Rumor also has it that the California Lighting Technology Center at UC Davis is exploring the possibility of establishing a degree-granting program through the University of California system. No official announcement has been made yet, but expect to hear about it sometime this year.
Finally, as our analog world becomes more and more digital and the amount that we need to accomplish exceeds the time available in a 24-hour day, there is also the need to step back and remember what lighting is fundamentally about—design. Fortunately, there is a renewed interest in theoretical and philosophical discussions about light. Take for instance Illuminator. A brand-new lighting publication with an extra-large format, it’s interest in advancing a more aesthetic type of discussion adds to ongoing conversations in the lighting design community.
There’s a lot in store as we begin 2013. Continue to make al part of your reading list for inspiration and news, and connect with us online. And you can always email me directly to let me know what’s on your mind.
Elizabeth Donoff, Editor