L-Plan Lighting Design, Berlin

Bio: Director of Berlin-based L-Plan Lighting Design, Rohde studied architecture at Karlsruhe University and acquired a Master of Science at the Bartlett School of Architecture at University College London. Since September 2006, he has been teaching at the University of Technology, Business and Design in Wismar, Germany.

Impressions of Lightfair: Less than one month between Light & Building in Frankfurt and Lightfair 2010 in Las Vegas is quite a challenge, in terms of travel, but it was worth visiting both fairs. Given current economic circumstances, it was good to see that there were a record number of attendees and exhibitors at these lighting industry trade shows. Attending both provided a good overview of advancements and trends on both sides of the Atlantic.

Witnessed at Lightfair was the advancement of the white LED. After the initial excitement, and one might say gratuitous use of RGB LEDs in recent years, it is reassuring to see some manufacturers taking a serious approach to the development of white LED technology. Although, given the way some manufacturers display their products, it was helpful to have a pair of sunglasses to battle the glare!

However, it is still difficult to decipher manufacturer literature when many claim that their LEDs can produce a certain amount of lumens per watt, which even the manufacturers themselves admit is the result of laboratory tests. Who knows how these claims will really map over to actual applications and if we can still expect to achieve the same amount of lumens per watt in the field?

There are those manufacturers who are able to recognize and communicate to designers that LEDs are not threatening to replace all other lamp types. Some manufacturers even presented side-by-side comparisons of their luminaires utilizing LED, halogen, or metal halide lamp sources to better explain the advantages and disadvantages of each, showing that the application will determine the most appropriate lamp source, not the latest press release.

An interesting addition to both fairs was the presence of some of the world's leading electronics manufacturers. Although they might not be as familiar with traditional light sources, the LED has introduced many new manufacturers to the lighting industry. Also, since many LEDs are packaged as complete luminaires, traditional luminaire manufacturers now have a host of new competitors.

Other events, such as the IALD Education Trust and Gala Awards Dinner, were also a great pleasure, and I was very pleased to see two Wismar students who had received IALD scholarships. It was a pleasant surprise to meet Mirjam Roos (with Steensen Varming), a Wismar graduate who received an IALD Award for her work on the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, Australia.