THE STEADY STREAM OF NEW LUMINAIRES AND LIGHTING-RELATED PRODUCTS NEVER CEASES TO AMAZE, AND THIS year's product offerings are no exception. In receipt of more than 250 submissions for this annual product showcase, Architectural Lighting's editors sought fixtures that highlight technical innovation combined with aesthetic sophistication. The result is 162 products in 12 categories that we believe represent the best of the best, and that will continue to expand the tools available to the designer.

Some interesting trends became apparent this year as we reviewed the latest products entering the marketplace. Luminaires for industrial applications, absent the past five years from this submission process, appear to be back on manufacturers' radar screens. By contrast, the category of fiber optics, which has maintained a small but steady representation the past five years, did not make a showing this time around. What does this mean for this lighting technology? Is it being replaced by other sources such as light-emitting diodes (LEDs)?

With sustainability and green design uniquely embedded in today's practice of lighting and architecture, an underlying theme found in all the fixture categories is that of energy efficiency. It is no longer an option. Today's luminaries must deliver performance and efficiency simultaneously, in increasingly smaller packages, as consideration is given not just to light output but the “footprint” of the entire fixture.

A word about LEDs. Numerous fixtures were submitted in this category. However, as has been our editorial thinking since LEDs first appeared in the architectural lighting marketplace, we made a conscious decision to place these luminaires in the categories that speak to the fixture's task, not its source. A source can be changed, but a luminaire's intended function cannot.

There are sure to be new product introductions at Lightfair and the other multitude of spring conferences and trade shows. Let this issue of Architectural Lighting serve as your starting point to the newest in luminaire offerings and your reference guide to all things lighting product-related.