Frankfurt-AM-Main, Germany, MARCH 13-18
LIGHT+BUILDING 2016: 7 things from the world of lighting not to be missed
Artem Masorin, Lighting Designer
March 27, 2016
The most recent event in the lighting industry was Light+Building fair in Frankfurt, held from 13 to 18 March. The motto of the exhibition was "Digital - Individual - Networked" but besides these topics I recognised several equally important trends.
Flicker-free dimming
Common issue - while shooting a video indoors with your smartphone there is a wave on a screen. It's called stroboscopic effect and caused by dimming using cheap drivers. In addition, the stroboscopic effect has a negative impact on the health and productivity up to migraine and epileptic seizures.
Continuing last year trend set at PLDC in Rome (Professional Lighting Design Convention) many companies introduced flicker-free sets of lighting fixture with driver included. Such drivers eliminates stroboscopic effect. I've already described used technology in my previous post.
I've also learned an intriguing fact about the dimming of LEDs: in most cases it turns out that claimed dimming to 10% actually reduces brightness to 32%, while dimming to 1% reduces to 10%. That's because the majority thinks that dimming is often measured as a percentage of maximum brightness but usually it is percentage of power consumption. And the relationship between these two values is non linear. Here's a hoax. So in most cases even the use of the term "dimming" is incorrect.
Overspilled light
Spilled light could be simply describes as lumens falling out of the beam area and it causes an excess energy consumption. It is common issue for the fixtures with reflectors. It is not often seen but the negative effect appears when you try to create an accent lighting. To create an accent the contrast ratio between the background and accentuated object has to be 1:5. Fixtures with spilled light issue often fail to achieve such a contrast as the light from it illuminates both: background and the object.
The best way to avoid overspill is to use lighting fixtures with optical lenses but the price of such devices is much higher than of analogues with reflectors. Some manufacturers may offer combined system of lenses and reflector that allows to find a compromise between price and quality.
I noticed that at the fair Italian manufacturer iGuzzini presented 6-degree Palco spotlight with reflector and no spilled light. Hopefully that was a big step to the price reduction of high-quality spotlights.
Color rendition
One of the key features of the LEDs is the quality of color rendition. I distinguish three companies that in my opinion made a huge impact in this area: Xicato, Soraa and Lumen Center Italia.
Together with the lighting designers of Nulty+ Xicato developed a new series of LED modules. Previously, they had 3 series: Standard, Vibrant and Artist. Standard range has conventional color rendition values. Vibrant – a series developed for retail lighting, light from these sources makes colors more vivid and attractive. Artist LED modules intended for museum lighting due to the most realistic color rendition.
On Lighting + Building Xicato presented new series called "Beauty" that were designed to solve one of the most complex lighting tasks – rendering skin tones. In light of these LED modules people appear much nicer. These series could be used wherever people are but manufacturer notes that it would perfectly suit beauty salons and makeup stores.

South Korean LED manufacturer Soraa does not lag behind in rendering colors but their main advantage is the proper rendering of white color. They achieve the best results due to the fact that their light-emitting diodes emit light in almost the entire range of the visible spectrum, while the "conventional" LEDs operate in a shortened spectrum. At Soraa's booth it was clearly demonstrated that several white objects look the same white under ordinary light source but when you turn on Soraa light fixture it could be seen that actually there are several different shades of white.
And finally, Lumen Centre Italia surprised me in a good way. They went even further than Soraa and developed LED with emission range starts at the border with ultraviolet and is more identical to the daylight.
Moving to the residential lighting
It has become evident that many large companies such as Zumtobel, iGuzzini and Targetti (better known for public lighting and commercial spaces lighting) expand to the residential segment. At the fair they showed the new range of fixtures for residential lighting and hospitality. Also it has become popular among the manufacturers to use WarmDim lighting technology – nostalgia for the halogen. The essence of this technology is to reduce the color temperature from warm white to orange when dimmed.
Generally this trend of expanding to the residential segment could be related to the forecast of the international consulting firm McKinsey & Co. According to their report from 2012 the market coverage in the residential segment will grow faster than others in the near future.
Laser Blade set the new typology of lighting fixtures
From my point of view no one stood out that much on the lighting market as the luminaire Laser Blade of iGuzzini. Presented it in 2014 Laser Blade set a new type of recessed fitting. Its main feature is the nearly invisible light source with a minimum installation height. This year it was possible to observe that similar luminaries appeared in the product ranges of many other manufacturers. But iGuzzini were one step ahead and showed the possibility of painting Laser Blade in different RAL colors while others limited by black and white.
James Turrell light installation
As part of the Luminale light festival in Frankfurt renovated light installation of American lighting designer James Turrell was first opened to the public. Recently James Turrell gained a lot of unwanted attention from the conflict with Canadian rapper Drake because of his music video on his song «Hotline Bing». That video was filmed in one of Turrell's installations. As was mentioned before James Turrell himself was not pleased with such fame and even wanted to sue the Drake but decided that it does not worth it.
The installation Frankfurt is located at the 50th floor of the DZ Bank in the bar area. It was created in 1998 and consists of the four parts: panoramic window framed by light, glowing doors, a canyon-shaped bar table and the wall behind the bar. There are 4 lighting scenarios and each of them highlights one specific element of the installation.
Artificial sky
Not new, but still worth to check – artificial sky by Italian company Coelux. At the Via Verlag booth there was an unremarkable tiny room with a completely different from the rest of the fair atmosphere. You feel like going on summer vacation while inside. The ceiling of the room has an opening with a unbelievably realistic artificial clear blue sky with a bright sun.
This installation was presented during the Light + Building fair in 2014 and now, 2 years after, it became available on the market. Recreating the atmosphere of the Italian summer at home is a pricy pleasure, but probably, Coelux has a great future.
If I was asked to name the main trend of the fair I would say the quality of light. Last time it was lumen output and now it feels that everybody stopped that race and began to think about the impact of light on human beings and the perception of the surroundings.