Now in its seventh year, ARCHITECTURAL LIGHTING's annual product issue showcases the lighting industry's latest offerings. With close to 200 products in 12 categories, this issue is our largest product guide to date. A|L's focused look at luminaires and related lighting products presents a robust view of the industry and, in its own particular way, reflects the current pulse of what's happening in the marketplace. Categories may come and go, but the variety of product offerings does not.
The challenge, as always, remains how to present ARCHITECTURAL LIGHTING's readers with the latest product information so that lighting designers and architects are up to date with new releases that they can add to their palette of lighting tools. There was no shortage of products this year, and in fact, contrary to what the current economy might indicate, companies have not abandoned research and development. Rather, many manufacturers are putting even more resources behind R&D so that they are poised and ready to seize the opportunity when the economy does fully rebound.
Two things are readily apparent in reviewing this year's class of products: the large number of LED fixtures and their saturation of the market, and how the playing field has changed for lighting manufacturers. Even if a company has new and exciting non-LED fixtures, lighting manufacturers are more interested in promoting their solid-state offerings, no matter the innovative and intriguing features of the other non-LED products. LED luminaires have made particular headway in outdoor lighting, especially in street and roadway lighting. Manufacturers that once were cautious about entering the solid-state arena have now thrown their hats in, and it is fair to say that all the major lighting companies are devoting serious attention to LED products.
It is also clear that the lighting industry is now in the hands of a few select companies. But many questions about market consolidation still do remain. How will companies once known as independent businesses function within a larger parent superstructure? Will their names endure as recognized entities or will they give way to hyphenation or an obscure acronym? Is there enough diversity in the industry for continued experimentation, a free exchange of ideas, and fair pricing structures? While it still might be too soon to say, the market usually finds a way of sorting itself out, and one can only hope that high-quality, innovative products will remain at the forefront of the industry.
Different years produce different product development cycles, and the quantity of market-ready luminaires never ceases to amaze. But that begs the question: Are there ever really any new products? The answer is yes. So turn the page to see the lighting industry's latest innovations.