Lightfair 2010 in Las Vegas was as busy as ever. The five-day conference and two-and-a-half-day trade show was packed with manufacturer product exhibits, educational workshops and seminars, press conferences, the Cooper, GE, and International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD) design award presentation ceremonies, and a bevy of manufacturers' evening get-togethers. In fact, the show broke its West Coast attendance level with 22,000 attendees; a positive sign of industry support despite the difficult economic conditions.
But what was particularly significant about this year's show was the way in which it illustrated the paradigm shift under way in the lighting industry, as solid-state lighting and LEDs take hold of the market. Both keynote presentations on the opening days of the conference were focused on solid-state lighting topics and on the trade show floor it was all about LED components and replacements lamps. More than one designer jokingly remarked that Lightfair might need to rename itself LEDfair. Still, once you got past the fact that there were very few luminaires on display, there were important new product offerings waiting attendees' attention.
Most notable were the LED modules from Bridgelux and Molex (in partnership), Cree, GE, Osram, Philips, and Xicato. These modules aid manufacturers in creating luminaire designs that acknowledge an LED's different form factor. Also impressive was NXP Semiconductor's dimmable LED controller, and it was exciting to see this and the Helieon LED module from Bridgelux and Molex rewarded for their technical achievement at the Innovation Awards.
This year the show floor hosted a new pavilion focused on building integration products, which is a testament to Lightfair's ongoing work to create a show that responds to the latest technical and design developments in the lighting industry. Along with the Daylighting, Design, and Global Light pavilions, this pavilion offered a cohesive way in which to navigate the manufacturer exhibits.
An equally exciting development was the use of different forms of social media, particularly to share news about products and to direct people to various activities. A year ago, if you had asked someone if they were on Twitter or Facebook, they probably would have looked at you with a blank stare. This year, lighting manufacturers set up accounts on both portals to communicate with attendees.
ARCHITECTURAL LIGHTING also joined in, and we organized the first ever Tweet-up at Lightfair. It was a chance for people who communicate regularly via Twitter to meet in person. About a dozen folks gathered at the A|L-sponsored Design Lounge on the show floor, and it was a fantastic way to connect with our readers. Moreover, it represents Lightfair's commitment to staying in tune with what's happening in the industry and beyond, and to create a first-rate event that promotes lighting not just for the industry but the larger design community.