In an age of increasingly restrictive energy codes, and with significant outside pressures upon lighting designers' work, lighting professionals from around the world asked "How do we get back to what is the most seminal element of what we do - design?" at IALD Enlighten Americas 2010 in Denver in October.
Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), addressed the question in her keynote, explaining how design has evolved over the years and what she expects it to be in the future.
Antonelli spoke with such enthusiasm about some of the pieces and installations she has secured for the MOMA. Perhaps the most intriguing forms of art were examples of nanodesign in which designers gave shape and life to nanotechnology. She also presented designs for debate, including a battery engraved "Shine On Dad" that contained a deceased father's gastric juices to be used in a flashlight, for example, to keep the energy flowing. Other examples included digital urns - what will happen to our digital remains after we pass?
"We need to bring design closer to people so they understand the importance of it," Antonelli reminded attendees. "Design has so much more meaning than just the creation of cute objects, it's about human creativity."
"It's always a pleasure to have someone outside of our industry share their thoughts on design," said IALD President Katherine Abernathy, IALD.
A reccurring issue among attendees was the increasing number of energy codes and standards that lighting designers must adhere to. Oftentimes lighting designers find themselves wrapped up in meeting certain codes and standards, and losing sight of the importance of their role: to create an aesthetically pleasing, quality lighting design.
"As lighting designers, we must strive to achieve mandated environmental benchmarks while not losing focus on our greatest strength: the ability to craft quality lit environments using our unique knowledge of light and its intrinsic characteristics," said Abernathy.
The Town Hall Meeting allowed attendees to share their opinions on important topics facing lighting designers today and in the future. Moderated by John Martin, IALD Public Policy, the meeting focused on three main topics: the pros and cons of the Color Quality Scale (CQS) and taking a position, lighting design 2020, and capitalizing on economic recovery as a lighting designer. To capitalize on the economic recovery, designers felt strongly about influencing local and regional architects and policymakers, and marketing the human factor of lighting design.