There were certainly bright points regardless. Lightswitch Architectural (a lighting design collective with offices all over the U.S.), had multiple booths showing side-by-side comparisons of various manufacturers’ LED replacement lamp products. This was a great educational opportunity for designers without specific lighting knowledge to learn more about important aspects of lighting like Color Rendering Index and Correlated Color Temperature.
Primarily, most lighting was decorative or task-oriented. This certainly makes sense considering that these are the lighting types that tend to be more specified by interior designers, per my perspective. The days of incandescent task luminaires are officially over for offices. Even linear and compact fluorescent were not prominently featured. It is all about LEDs now. As LED technology rushes by us all with increased efficiency, the industry seems to now be looking more at quality of light and less at quantity.
My favorite thing that I saw was Boyd Lighting’s Regent Lantern as designed by Roger Thomas. All the details seem to fall right into place from the soft curves to the surprising interior paint. I would even consider it somewhat vandal-resistant as there is no glass!
Ultimately, I am unsure as to the reasons why more lighting manufacturers are not exhibiting at NeoCon. My assumption is that since there are other major shows bookending this one that companies just don’t have the people energy needed to pull it off. Geographic location might also play a role as Chicago as more centrally located. I am certain most people observe how there are more Asian manufacturers at Lightfair when it is in Las Vegas as opposed to New York (and recently Philadelphia).
I want to encourage more lighting manufacturers to participate in NeoCon 2012. So often it seems, my design siblings in interior design and architecture, are woefully unaware of so much of the great product that is available out there!
Jamey Aspel is an architectural lighting designer with 10+ years of experience in a variety of project types, including commercial, residential, mixed-use, retail, institutional, educational, LEED & historic preservation.