The LIRC Has an Open Discussion About LightFair at the IALD Enlighten Americas Conference

by | Sep 30, 2022 | News

The Lighting Industry Resource Council (LIRC) exists to provide a framework within IALD for enhanced communication between professional lighting designers and manufacturers and to create an environment conducive to the collaborative improvement of products, services, business practices and lighting design education.

As the session began, moderator Nancy Stathes (Nanometer Lighting) reminded everyone of the antitrust rules.

Monica Luz Lobo, president of IALD (LD Studio) highlighted the emerging professionals program.  After thanking the audience for attending Monica introduced Christopher Knowlton, the IALD CEO.  Christopher discussed the importance of the LIRC and their support. He acknowledged that without the LIRC they would not be here. He also discussed the importance of being inclusive.  

Lisa Reed (Reed Burkett Lighting Design) began her discussion asking the audience if they knew they had a DEIR advocacy group.  She called on the big companies who have great DEIR programs to help share best practices with smaller lighting designers.  She was joined by Archit Jain (Oculus Light Studio).

Lisa encouraged, “Be the person who breaks the cycle.”  On a personal note, she said as a kid she sometimes felt left out and that is why she is so inclusive today.   She offered her vision statement: “Lighting professionals collectively thrive when they are individually valued for their authentic selves. Together, the IALD and LIRC inclusively welcome designers and manufacturers from around the world who are passionate about quality lighting. We strive to spark that passion in others through advocacy and outreach.”

Dan Darby took the stage and spoke about LightFair.  He boldly stated, “We are on the verge of producing the best LightFair the industry has seen.” He talked about inclusivity and that everyone has a voice at LightFair.  He discussed opportunities for more education and more increased networking opportunities. 

Below are the on-floor activities planned for 2023

  • The Designery (stage and networking area) will be renamed the IALD Designery and it will house IALD’s booth and networking and education opportunities.
  • IALD Immersive Lighting Installations—20 x 20 booths, open to manufactures to display their products in an experiential setting and have a design competition that IALD will judge. Details regarding submission requirements are expected to be released in early November.
  • IES Live—will replace LightFair Live, which is another opportunity for partner associates and will host on-floor educational content and networking events curated by IES
  • The Collective—dedicated area for LIRC and IES Sustaining members
    • 10 x 10 and 10 x 20 options
    • Booth packages $5200 for 100 nsf
    • The Collective will be 3x the size of 2021 Collective and will be adjacent to the Design Pavilion.

Dan also reminded the audience that IALD members and IES members will not have a registration fee.  Past IES President Lance Bennett (Cooper Lighting Solutions) asked Dan to explain the relationship between IMC, IES and IALD.  Dan explained that IES and IALD are co-owners of the show and benefit financially.  If you support LightFair you are supporting IES and IALD.

Dan informed that the Call for Speakers deadline is 14 OCT.  He also explained that one of the reasons LightFair moved from Philadelphia back to New York was the opportunity to be co-located with other events in the city. Next year, LightFair will be concurrent with the internationally renowned NYCxDesign, which drew160,000 participants in 2022 .  In 2023, the show will also be co-located with the International Contemporary Furniture Fair. The ICFF will be on the lower floor of Javits, and those attendees can attend LightFair with their existing badge free of charge.

In a breakout session moderated by Nancy Stathes, half of the group focused on two LightFair questions:

Question 1.  There have been many changes and there are more to come.  Are these changes successful? What else would you like to see changed to make you show and or stay?

Group 1 had several comments:

  • IES/IALD outreach to more members has been successful.
  • The Collective came up multiple times-as a positive way to engage more manufacturers.
  • Venue discussion was spirited and there was concern about the Las Vegas venue with some preferring San Francisco or San Diego. One very focal person explained that there are just too many distractions in Las Vegas.
  • ICFF outreach and vertical marketing has been well received.
  • Non exhibiting manufactures continue to be a sore topic. Is there a way to control and police. Most don’t mind an after-hours party, but most don’t like it when there’re are events during the day that pull people from the show. 
  • One suggestion is that LightFair have a big party every night and this will keep people together and may have a detrimental effect on the non-exhibiting manufacturers.
  • Cost is always an issue: drayage and other logistics.
  • One suggestion is to Create or tie in an actual experience.
  • Conversation about having LightFair every-other year, in the off-years of Light + Building.
  • Should the IALD Awards come back?

Question 2.  Group 2 tackled a similar question, Many manufacturers have mixed responses from showing at LightFair these past 2 years, several more have pulled out of the show.  What can LightFair do to keep the current manufacturers and get more?

  • Enormous agreement that every year is too much. The product design cycle isn’t very fast. 
  • Consider having a specifier-only day—no reps. With less people in the hall more meaningful conversations can be had.
  • Contrast LightFair to Light + Building.
  • LightFair could have a centralized appointment program. This way designers could have one stop shopping for booking appointments. (LightFair actually has this in place. In fact it is a promotion where 10 attendees who had scheduled at least 10 appointments with exhibitors received their hotel stays (up to three nights) for free. They will have the same promotion in 2023 to encourage appointment setting.)
  • Should there be a component location at LightFair, or should there be a component separate component show where manufacturers can go to see the latest components?
  • How do we get better attendees?
  • Have better educated manufacturers in their booth.
  • There too much distracting content going on outside of the show floor.

These are important discussion topics, and we commend LightFair management for having such an open and honest discussion.