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Light&Building Frankfurt

Light and Building 2024 – worth the trip?

The cost of the space, design and build, marketing materials, travel and accommodation plus salaries – let alone the opportunity cost – will blow a hole in even the most lavish marketing budget. According to the Messe Frankfurt site, an all-inclusive package for a 9m2 booth comes in at EUR 5,800. Looking around, many of the 2,000 companies who decided to set up shop for the week had shelled out multiple times that for the pleasure.

The sales teams I spoke to felt that investment seems to have paid off – for the big-hitters making a splash in the main halls at least. Away from the main drag, the atmosphere was rather more subdued and I wondered whether the sales teams standing around checking their phones were wondering whether they had made the right call.

I certainly found it worth the effort taking the pulse and meeting old and new.

Three key takeaways:

1. Systems 

Design –

  • Mix and match luminaire design and connectivity for variety, eco-design credentials and speed of install.
  • Approach extending to workplace offer with plug and play track-based systems combining panels, spots and linear fittings.
  • Darwinian display of decorative and display lighting sector with ongoing trend to miniaturisation something for every micro-niche.

Data –

  • Integrating sensors and controls for room, building and city-level management including HVAC, daylight and security.
  • Sector searching for common ground between wired and cloud/radio, proprietary and open source protocols. Matter-enabled products starting to make waves?
  • Integrating renewable (DC) and traditional (AC) power sources.


2. Spectrum 

  • Established and start-up brands referencing spectrum, blue-enhanced, blue-depleted, full spectrum.
  • Specialist/narrowband offers including very warm (1800k including outdoor ‘bat-friendly’ offers) infra-red and UV
  • Human-Centric and circadian in evidence but still a minority offer


3. Sustainability and inclusion? 

  • References to sustainability and circularity but little evidence of effort or urgency (with some notable exceptions).
  • Besides the ‘elephant in the room’ of flights, single-use carpets and stands, even basic touches (e.g. water filling stations) conspicuously absent.
  • Zero support for neurodiverse, disabled or even older adults: long distances between halls via narrow moving walkways with no seating/rest areas in between, escalators rather than lifts, toilets behind heavy doors, bus provision to ground floors but no signage or timetable, displays at eye level and steps up to most stands…



Controls – start with why

If you want to go beyond the basic on-off switch, it looks like a jungle out there.

But, to quote Simon Sinek,  if we focus on why, we can start to see the wood for the trees.

Houser’s – Human-Centric Lighting: Foundational Considerations and a Five-Step Design Process is a great place to start. 

Circadian –  a cycle of brightness and colour temperature specifically calibrated to support the body clock, following Brown, Brainard et al’s recommendations – Recommendations for daytime, evening, and nighttime indoor light exposure to best support physiology, sleep, and wakefulness in healthy adults.

Signalling – Brightness, defuse or spot, colour and decorative style to create an atmosphere or zone that signals a type of activity or working style – focused or collaborative, creative or social, reset and recharge- The impacts of building characteristics, social psychological and cultural factors on indoor environment quality productivity belief.

Enabling – Position, brightness and colour to support increased (or decreased) need for light to deliver specific tasks – video calls, reading or examination for example. – Ambient-task combined lighting to regulate autonomic and psychomotor arousal levels without compromising subjective comfort to lighting.

It’s National Puppy Day in the US 😉
Puppies eyes are still developing when they’re born, and vulnerable to infections so they remain closed for 10-14 days and take up to 8 weeks before they’re fully functioning – When Do Puppies Open Their Eyes? Things You Need to Know About Puppy Eyes Develop.
When they’re mature, canine retinas have more of the low-light sensing rods and fewer colour-sensing cells. So their vision is similar to a colour-blind person but they can see much better in the dark and spot movement much more swiftly – Through The Eyes Of Your Dog.
Dogs have iPRGC’s too 
Your faithful friend even has ipRGCs which drive non-visual response just like yours – Assessment of Rod, Cone, and Intrinsically Photosensitive Retinal Ganglion Cell Contributions to the Canine Chromatic Pupillary Response

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