Although I must say I’ve become quite fond of El Vez restaurant in Philadelphia, not to mention the über-convenient-to-the-Convention-Center Reading Terminal Market, I was pleased to hear that Lightfair 2015 would be returning to New York City. Whether it’s the satellite events around Manhattan showrooms or IESNYC’s NightSeeing tour, there’s just a special energy surrounding a lighting show held in a city that never sleeps. (Based on recent and ongoing studies at Rensselaer’s Lighting Research Center, though, there’s probably something our industry can do about that condition now.)
Likewise Las Vegas lends its own special vibe to Lightfair since the Strip likely features more lumens per capita than anywhere on Earth. I also suspect that January’s Consumer Electronics Show leaves a lingering aura at the Las Vegas Convention Center, felt more acutely now that our industries have so much in common, thanks to the profileration of LED.
We’ll have to see how a San Diego-hosted Lightfair shapes up in 2016. And beyond that? Lightfair organizers AMC Inc. are playing it close to the vest, having shown that no location is sacred and Lightfair is on a successful trajectory regardless of what floor flaunts the booths.
Having attended Lightfair events historically in both Chicago and San Francisco, I am no stranger to change on this front. And I suspect that playing coy about committing to a city from year-to-year ensures an advantageous courtship. As Lightfair repeatedly breaks records for its number of exhibitors and attendees, everyone wants their turn to dance with her — or better yet, become a permanent partner in regular rotation.
While the local market may have some influence on who participates, Lightfair has increasingly become a required stop on many retailers’ itineraries, regardless of their proximity. Cutting-edge education and product innovation help stores track the moving target that is today’s solid-state lighting, and you can’t wait for the technology to trickle down to the residential market anymore. It’s all speeding toward the future (illuminated?) at the same pace, and if you’re going to specify the best solution for your clients, you need to know all of the available options and what they are capable of doing.
So if you’re like me, you’ll follow Lightfair wherever it lands. For the show’s next stop on the East Coast, I’m happy to hear that El Vez is about to open a Rockwell Group-designed space in Lower Manhattan, meaning I can have my guacamole and eat it, too.