'I just want to say one word to you ... just one word.' - Mr. McGuire (Walter Brooke) to Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) 'Yes, sir.' - Ben 'Are you listening?' - Mr. McGuire 'Yes, sir. I am.' - Ben

Daylight. Or so the organizers of Lightfair 2004 might advise young Ben Braddock, the slightly bewildered hero in the classic film The Graduate (1967), if they cornered him at a party today. The suggestion is certainly more inspiring than 'plastics.' It also offers hope that at least this industry is attempting to correct some of the world's wrongs.

The annual show, which has diligently served the lighting design community for 15 years, has made a major addition to its educational offering this year: the Daylighting Institute. All-day courses on Monday, March 29 and Tuesday, March 30, will cover daylighting design practices at both the beginner and advanced levels. Moreover, during show hours on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, appropriate manufacturers will exhibit together in the Daylighting Pavilion; a significant number of companies new to Lightfair, including shading, fenestration and skylight manufacturers, have already taken space in the pavilion. Other companies like Alanod, with standard lighting offerings as well as products directed at harvesting natural light, will exhibit in both the main hall and the Daylighting Pavilion.

Organizers have been discussing the daylighting idea for a couple of years as part of an effort to 'rebrand and rejuvenate Lightfair,' says one committee member. Indeed, manufacturers and designers alike have quietly-or, in some cases, not so quietly-expressed a growing disenchantment with the show over the last few years. Likewise, while the newly introduced Lightshow West, which took place in San Francisco last September, did not hold a candle to Lightfair in terms of content or attendee/exhibitor numbers, that event could still threaten the West Coast players' commitment to Lightfair down the road. Hence, the reinvention may be necessary to ensure the show's success.

Above and beyond this, though, the idea is ripe for the marketplace. The last major conference on the topic took place in 1986, but after an 18-year hiatus, it seems daylighting is back on the industry's menu of hot topics. This is due in part to increasing acceptance of the LEED rating system for sustainable design, which awards points for the integration of daylight. Within the directory of LEED requirements, this is one of the few that actually provides the potential for payback, so 'daylighting has gone from being good to being a must-do for the average architect on a LEED project,' says lighting designer James Benya, who serves on the Lightfair management and advisory committees and was a large force behind implementation of the new institute.

In addition to this program, the Lightfair Institute has added accredited Masters courses for professionals with more than ten years of experience in lighting. The trade show and main conference-which will take place from Wednesday, March 31 to Friday, April 2-will include 27 seminars. The entire program is authorized for education credits from the AIA, ASID, IFMA, IIDA and IES.

Taught by the industry's leading figures, the lineup from start to finish (which organizers estimate at more than 225 hours of educational opportunities) promises compelling, relevant information. Meanwhile, the New Product Showcase and Awards, cosponsored by Architectural Lighting magazine and Lightsearch, point the way to the year's most important product introductions. Add this to the expected 600 exhibitors and 17,000-plus attendees, and the show is the most efficient and thorough way to discover what is current in lighting design.

An abbreviated schedule of events follows. For the full schedule and more information on exhibitors, travel and hotel arrangements, and registration, go to www.lightfair.com.

see the lightfair international 2004 schedule, pages 18 and 19.