Wanting to be wowed

My third trip to Frankfurt for Light + Building 2016 was full of hopeful expectation to find that most elusive creature: an original idea. While I came away from the three days with a lot of good ideas and products that were better than last time, I felt that the level of innovation I saw was somewhat lacking.

Now, this was maybe something to do with my approach to each hall; see as many stands as possible from the outside and cherry pick the ones to head back to for some proper investigation. I wanted to see more manufacturers that I didn’t already know of and get round the smaller booths that could hold that “spark” to turn the industry on its head. So, I managed to do what I hadn’t done on my previous visits which was get round all the halls on offer. Looking back, while this was great for my lifestyle app (54,000 steps over three days) it meant I was then hazy about where everything I saw was (Hall 1? 6.2? 4.1?), and picking out the good staff to share with my colleagues was more difficult.

Dimple ByBeau Light + Building 2016 Lighting Designers Nulty

Highlights for me from the show were Dimple by ByBeau and Climar out of Portugal, which was an interactive art installation rather than a stand…integrating colour change, movement and sound in a magical display – it made me want to get it on one of my projects more than ever. And, there was a little dark room on the Philips stand that you could easily have walked past…unless you were really nosey to look behind the curtain. Project Aura was a simple colour change bulkhead with movement detection, which can only be described as an illuminated trumpet, which reacted to hand movements of location and proximity with differing colours and sounds. Again, as with Dimple, the fun aspect was high with shapes being thrown all over the place.

Project Aura Philips Light + Building 2016 Lighting Designer Daniel Gray Nulty

Apart from the above, my high points were a little limited, but that’s not to say the show wasn’t good nor am I taking away from all the main manufacturers with their new products and great displays (iGuzzini as always managing to provide an excellent demonstration experience). While I managed to get around all of the halls, I think I only really saw about 30-40% of everything that was there. Luckily though, team Nulty was 24 strong so combining notes has filled me in on anything good I may have missed.

There is one, slightly different, highlight I won’t forget. At the end of a very long day, when all our lighting design energy had just about been zapped, my colleague spotted a stand full of screwdrivers, spanners and other assorted tools – the look of joy on her face was priceless. She was in heaven; while I made a mental note that if she’s my Secret Santa I’m sorted.

Blog post by Daniel Gray