Light+Building is huge, both in the number of stands and in physical space. So you do need to plan ahead, even down to which halls you decide to ignore. Click here to go to the list of exhibitors and their stand numbers.
The problem with efficient forward planning is that there less chance of serendipitous discoveries. Also, your focus is on technical/architectural lighting, so you could decide not to go into the decorative lighting areas at all. That would be a pity, for all sorts of reasons, so this email is a highly selective list of suggestions of who you should try to make time for, and why.
Some brands are on the borderline between decorative and technical.
Panzeri Hall 1.2 Stand C51 http://www.panzeri.it/?lang=en
Panzeri is a decorative lighting company that five years ago began adding technical/architectural lighting. It now makes up c. 50% of their catalogue. In a world dominated by big companies sourcing in bulk from China, Panzeri stands out by being a family company whose technical department will work with you to customize their profiles &c. Being smaller, they can respond more quickly to technical developments. Because they do their own manufacturing, they can research advances such as profiles with tighter curves. Above all, they have a fanatical attention to detail – to eliminate any possible unwanted shadow, or redesigning trimless profiles to ensure no cracks appear over time.
Panzeri are part of the Otomo IoT initiative, with eelectron (Hall 11.1 Stand C32) and the Politecnico di Milano. It is specifically designed for controlling office environments – the lighting, blinds, cooling/heating and other automation. Sensors on the Jackie desk light (and – soon – other lights in their collection) detect occupancy and light levels. Collectively, they create a Bluetooth BLE mesh, so no dedicated wiring is needed.The whole system can be controlled (overridden) by an app. Full reporting. Crucially, the API is open: Milan last year was dominated by IoT systems, mostly seeming to do the same things but with private APIs. Why? Why not just standardize on Casambi Hall 4.1 Stand G70 (for example)? But here is a project with a focused objective – and there has been a further year’s development since Euroluce! So do go and have a look.
Xicato's GalaXi, also with an open API, will soon be adding Standard Bluetooth Mesh functionality. They will be launching this at their stand A10, which is outdoors, near the cormer of halls 3 and 4. Click here for the app that goes with the "Xicato Museum of Lighting Innovation" that they have created in there.
Davide Groppi Hall 1.2 Stand C41 http://davidegroppi.com/en/
Davide’s aim is to make the light source as invisible, or as minimal (or as witty), as possible. His specialization is Michelin-starred restaurant interiors. If the right light does not exist in his collection, he designs one. This may be to deal with a problem situation, such as overhead light under a frescoed ceiling. The result is a catalogue of unique solutions that only truly make sense when you see them, up close, for yourself.
Licht Im Raum Hall 3.0 Stand B15 https://www.licht-im-raum.de/en/index.html
Licht Im Raum was set up by German lighting designers (Dinnebier Licht) who could not always find the luminaires they needed. It is a small collection of very useful designs that includes the versatile Ocular and the modular Stilio. Besides the huge range of versions, both standard and custom, Stilio works very well where the client was a feature light that is not too ornamental.
In our experience, lighting designers are more likely to specify outdoor decorative lighting than are interior designers (the clue’s in the name…). Two of the most important outdoor specialists are showing in Frankfurt.
IP44.de Hall 1.2 Stand H30 http://www.ip44.de/en
IP44.de are one of the German brands that only show in Frankfurt, so this is your chance to see their products up close. They were one of the first brands to take LEDs seriously, and they have had an edge ever since. The luminaire designs are minimal, pure, simple, the bodies are milled from solid billets (no seams) and they have a broader range of finishes, which includes “pure white” and “cool brown”. They are constantly developing technically. For example, you will see “IP44.de Connect”, an intelligent system for connecting any number of luminaires with a single click.
Roger Pradier Hall 5.1 Stand C30 http://www.roger-pradier.com/en/
The French company Roger Pradier is arguably the most important source of decorative outdoor lights, both contemporary and traditional (for historic buildings). As a result, my post about them (here), and how they respond to outdoor conditions, acts as a checklist for what you should be looking for in any exterior lighting – it’s not just about IP ratings! The post is quick to reread.
SIMPLE, WELL-MADE, WELL-PRICED, FUNCTIONAL LUMNINAIRES
Casablanca Hall 1.2 Stand B.12 https://www.casablanca-leuchten.de/en/home
Sometimes that’s what you need – simple well-made, well-priced, functional luminaires that are not too designer-y. The German company Casablanca understands this, making their catalogue a library essential (the 2017/18 catalogue is now available for download from their home page).
They have two important sub-brands. One is Follox, an architectural system of linear lights that comes in a wide variety of forms – suspended, surface mounted and recessed. Read about it here.
Like Panzeri, they are bringing the quality, detail and flexibility of a European high-end lighting factory to architectural fittings. Their Millelumen brand takes linear fittings even further, in terms of quality for the suspended ones, and versatility for the wall/ceiling mounted versions.
I’m suggesting you make time for these two, not because they are young but because of the scale and originality of what they are doing with powerful materials.
BOMMA Hall 1.1 Stand G25 http://lighting.bomma.cz/en
BOMMA is a Czech glass company doing large pieces, almost all of them pendants. Their designers include Dechem Studio, who are also at the fair (Hall 5.1 Stands A54 http://dechemstudio.com/) Read about them both here.
Inarchi Hall 1.2 Stand J10 http://www.inarchi.com/
Inarchi is the brainchild of the cool dudes behind contemporary crystal chandelier company Manooi (Hall 1.1 Stand D.30). They are creating elegant designs that are both different and useful. For example, a customizable stairwell composition made up of rectangles:
And pure shapes in Carrara marble:
You can read about them here.
So there they are – just a few suggestions for decorative lighting stands to make time for. I've stuck to the less obvious. There are other must-sees. For example, Quasar (Hall 1.1 Stand F02). Also Santa & Cole (Hall 1.2 F40 and G40) who, besides their interior and exterior decorative lighting, have a significant collection of street lighting.
First reports back are that there are fewer exhibitors in the decorative lighting areas (e.g. 1.1, 1.2) than in recent years, so you'll be able to focus on good stands that are there.