In an impressive turnout, the professional lighting design Convention (PLDC) attracted close to 1,100 attendees, including lighting designers, architects, students, and lighting manufacturers, at its first global convention, held in London October 24-27, 2007. The convention was organized by Professional Lighting Design magazine in collaboration with the Professional Lighting Design Association, formerly the European Lighting Designers' Association. The conference's primary focus was 55 papers organized into four “tracks”—research, professional practice, case studies, and health and well-being. Papers were submitted to and reviewed by a committee of lighting design professionals.
Esteemed lighting designer Howard Brandston delivered opening remarks at the welcoming reception, discussing his passion for and curiosity of all things related to light and lighting. It is this passion for lighting design that has provided him with “lifelong learning opportunities and moments of discovery.”
The conference represented the diversity of lighting investigations currently underway around the globe. A strong contingent—17 designers—representing the United States made several presentations, including Derek Porter, who discussed his approach to lighting design in terms of his photography; Paul Gregory's talk on the lighting designer's new role and responsibility in an increasingly competitive marketplace; Naomi Miller and Terry McGowan's review of sustainable lighting strategies and technologies; Denise Fong's incorporation of sustainable design practices at the urban street scale; and Enrique Peiniger and Jean Sundin's discussion of cost tracking to maintain a lighting design scheme.
Other notable talks included architect and lighting designer Mark Major's historical overview of lighting from 1900 to the present, which examined the “essential relationship between architecture and light.” Tucson, Arizona-based architect Rick Joy presented his work and the role the desert landscape—with its “elusive and constant changing nature”—has on his architecture. Stella Targetti presented an overview of a workshop conducted in the suburbs of Florence for the redesign of a small town square. Lighting designer Roger Narboni gave a comprehensive overview of his firm's lighting master plan scheme for the city of Paris, which will involve 10-15 individual sites over the next several years. A particular highlight was hearing lighting great Piero Castiglioni, who spoke to a standing-room-only crowd about his experience working with architect Gae Aulenti on the Museé d'Orsay in Paris. His advice to young lighting designers: “It is sufficient to have one or two ideas for a project. Three is too many.”
Student participation was fully integrated into the conference proceedings. Several students presented in the main paper tracks and the final conference day had a dedicated fifth paper track called Vox Juventa, a series of six presentations by students and recent graduates. Work by an additional 20 students and young designers was also presented in a PowerPoint-poster format that ran all three days of the conference.
The convention wrapped up with a gala dinner in which seven awards were presented including a Lifetime Achievement award to Dr. Heinrich Kramer. Overall, it was an impressive conference, with high-caliber papers, a seamless melding of new and current generations of designers, and a reminder that the lighting design profession is truly a global endeavor.