And what a time it was: The IALD's 35th anniversary celebration was an appropriate bash for a community that-everyone seemed to agree-has a 'bright' future. With much to be proud of in its three and a half decades, the association is in the prime of life. But, it was also agreed, there are a number of challenges ahead.
After Charles Stone and original founding member David Mintz honored several new Fellows of the IALD, and presented plaques of recognition to past presidents, a panel of six lighting designers moderated by Stephen Lees tackled several thought-provoking questions. The topic of licensure and the NCQLP designation 'LC' seemed to incite the closest thing to a heated discussion-which wasn't very heated but did present different points of view that no doubt mirror those of the profession at large. Noted Mintz, 'Anyone with a modicum of experience can become an LC; we need licensing to distinguish trained designers from distributors and manufacturers.' Paul Marantz pointed out that people who are licensed to drive cars are not necessarily good drivers. Another question that incited interesting responses from the panel was what technology had most impacted the profession: William Warfel pointed to 'readily accessible small computers and CAD'; Mintz expects that in 10 years LEDs will become the standard; and Derek Phillips said lighting controls; while both Marantz and JoAnne Lindsley warned of the negative aspect of a computer-driven design culture. 'Computers have stopped the ability to think as you draw,' said Lindsley, who explained that Parsons, where she is the director of the Lighting Design Program, has banned computers from first-year studios. The panel also offered tips for young designers, such as entering a partnership rather than trying to go it alone, and hiring a good business manager.
The designers were followed by a panel of voices from the manufacturing side, including
Dan Blitzer (Lightolier) and
Marvin Gelman (LSI). The panel, among other points, stressed the need for collaboration with the design community, but the most interesting comment was made by
Megan Carroll, who bluntly noted that the industry needed 'to get out beyond the community, and talk to building owners, electrical contractors, etc.' Appropriate to the lighting industry's effort to coordinate with other segments of the design profession, a cocktail party followed at the Center for Architecture.