With enough stands to keep you occupied for weeks (literally), I felt I needed to organise my first visit to Light + Building 2016 (LB) wisely. I thought very hard about the importance of planning my three days for weeks before. So without managing to plan anything, I was happy that the Nulty office had scheduled stand visits and evening events.
My aim was to see everything, but I wanted to remember it all too. What was the right approach? Do I run around and see as much as possible or do I pick out a few interesting manufacturers and talk in depth about their fittings? I tried both, with mixed results.
Coming straight from the airport we met Storm Lighting starving hungry and enjoyed a free lunch from Planlicht. How much finger food can you take without being rude? Once full, how long do you have to stay around before you move on? My first LB questions had nothing to do with lighting! After hanging around for a polite amount of time (if someone can put a “time” to that, that would be helpful), Kael Gillam and I powered on.
Going in a pair was definitely a good idea. We stopped, took pictures, discussed the different fittings we saw, one having questions at one stand, another more at others. I feel like I gained a lot of input, and at times I even felt quite clever. (If this is your aim I advise you to ask questions about the LED source from a decorative lighting manufacturer, most have no idea.)
When the first day ended with an iGuzzini party we had only managed to get around about 6% of the Exhibition hall (see map). It became clear that if we wanted to go home feeling we’d seen this event we needed to get a move on.
Third-timer Dan Gray (see his blog about LB 2016 here) helped and dragged us through 75% of the event the following day. Stopping for pictures here and there we were told not to linger, but come back to the interesting ones. I felt this was a brilliant tactic. However, I wish I’d noted down the locations of the interesting ones… The next day I walked almost as many miles, looking for that “one” stand I forgot to take a picture of. It was definitely in Hall 8.0, or was it 4.2, it couldn’t be 11.1? Needless to say, I never found it. Nor did I find my green scarf that got lost on the first day. Top tip: spend the €2 to put your stuff in the coatroom.
My tactic on our third and final day was to walk alone: no one to haul me round or slow me down. However, on my own I was less eager to ask a bunch of questions, in the fear that I’d say something unintelligent or forget the correct word for something. I know “no question is too stupid” but that didn’t seem to help. In the last few hours I was completely over lit. My feet were hurting even though I wore sneakers and I couldn’t remember where anything was anymore. So, I dedicated my time to study a delicious pulled pork burger and the sunny square with the ducks that visited us along the fountain – totally worth it.
But what about the lighting? It’s slowly coming back to me. I cherish the not-so-great photos I took with my old phone as I refused to accept any leaflets (made that mistake before – anyone else carried a bag full of paper home just to throw them away unseen a couple of months later?).
No matter what your tactic is for the lighting extravaganza, it’s a sure bet that you’ll get tired as it’s such a huge event. Taking pictures of fittings is a great idea and helped me the most. I feel like I’ve gotten a ton of inspiration, and I may not remember all names, but I’ve a better idea of what’s possible. Although not as relevant, had I not entered the technical areas I’d never have spotted Vitrum’s cutest dimmer switch ever…
And, on a final note, I had a great time in the Xicato stand, learning how the “Xicatoman” fight all the “light criminals” away. The whisky tasting at the Mike Stoane Lighting stand made me brave to ask more questions (admittedly more about the whisky than their reflectors). I saw some great lighting examples in the iGuzzini experience room and became a musician with Philips’ interactive light. The stands that were properly designed are more prominent in memory, but if it’s for their alcohol or light fittings, then I’m not sure. Then again, they do say any press is good press.
Blog post by Ida Evensen