Light+Building 2012 – An Architects Perspective by Bret White
The 2012 Light + Building Fair in Frankfurt continued its reputation as a daunting experience in terms of its sheer volume of exhibits [2,100 exhibits]. The Fair provides a great opportunity to experience the global context of lighting design – to witness the arena of manufacturers and their products that offer a glimpse to future directions and possibilities in lighting design.
This year, the focus was squarely on LED technologies, with most manufacturers grappling with managing light quality, heat disbursement and control systems. It was interesting to see the majority of research results were in the retro fitting of LED into existing fitting designs, with some minor advancement in the fitting design itself – essentially designers still coming to terms with what LED lighting can offer. Sure, there were a few well considered experiments and exploration in fitting design, from the clinical clean architectural to the flamboyant decorative flashy, but in general nothing yet breath taking.
We did get a hint of new directions in lighting design through Organic LED’s, the merging of technology with design. The term Organic LED’s was a bit of a buzz word at the Fair, with various proto-types displayed with extravagance. These included dynamic moving light fittings and transparent architectural elements such as entire ceilings, walls and floors turned into a contiguous light source.
The changing of lighting colour continues to be an integral part of the LED ongoing experiment. Exploring various simple design arrangements and control systems, this function has the capacity to entice a viewer, re-arrange an atmosphere or provide accent to an architectural ingredient. It can also assist in advertising a product or promoting a service – but implementation needs an element of cleverness.
Frankfurt has a dynamic mix of architectural fabric – one that is still evolving. From conservative office towers to radical contemporary explorations of building skin, the built environment has transformed the city of Frankfurt into a smorgasbord of styles, along with some historic old town [rebuilt] thrown into the mix.
However, there are architectural gems to be discovered in the city so long as you keep your eyes peeled and your mind open. Overall, the quality of building is very good – as you would expect from the Germans – indicating a high level of craftsmanship and real care in building outcomes. It seems they are intent on a secreting process for better city.
ASSOCIATE – COX HOWLETT + BAILEY WOODLAND