Blog Partner: Reggiani

Modern networks works – modern lighting as well

by Joachim Ritter

Developments in the field of LED technology have apparently indeed caused something of a stir within society. People can now use this technology in their own surroundings. But still the LED technology seems to be like a revolution.

Some time ago an old friend contacted me and asked me to help him out. We have known each other since our school days. That was admittedly 27 years ago, although the last time I saw him was at a reunion two years back. He remembered that at the time I told him that my work had something to do with lighting. He is an aquarium enthusiast, that is to say someone who enjoys observing fish behind glass – preferably when they are in large glass tanks. There’s nothing wrong in that. On the contrary, I tend to find it quite calming myself.

Anyway, he came to me and asked me if I could help him “acquire” a replacement lamp for his aquarium. He presumed I had good connections, and since we have known each other a few years, and were quite close as kids, thought I wouldn’t mind coming to the rescue, so to speak. “Sure,” I said. “I know who makes lamps…”. I didn’t get a chance to say much more, because he was already describing exactly what he needed. He talked about Kelvin and that this was an indication of how bright the lamp was. The higher the Kelvin, the brighter the light, but not blue, thank you very much. And I was to make sure there was no ballast or starter in the LED lamp. But it had to be an LED lamp because they consumed less electricity.

It was pretty clear that he had got a few things muddled up, but he certainly wasn’t willing to admit it. As a salesman he did not want to betray any weak points. To be on the safe side he had brought along the lamp that needed replacing. “But that’s an LED lamp,” I blurted out. „How come it’s not working. They are supposed to last for 30,000 hours”. That would have meant around ten years. According to my friend, he had only had the lamp for about three and a half years.

“Really?” he remarked. “At any rate, I want it to look like natural light”.

I was about to say something and then realised that if I embarked on further discussions it would have caused tension between us. So I simply replied: “Leave it to me. I’ll let you know”.

Three days later I took two new LED lamps over to his house. He was thrilled. How kind it was of me and that it is really unusual for someone to go out of their way to help old friends. “No problem,” I said “My pleasure”. “What do I owe you?” he asked. “38 euros,” I replied.  “Post and packing, eh?!” he smiled, and reached for his wallet…

My friend was very grateful, paid the money and reminded me that I could always count on him if I needed help. In the following months many people told me how well my old friend spoke of me and a number of my friends went out of their way to tell me I only had to give them a wink if I needed anything. I received numerous invitations to parties and my network of friends grew unremittingly. On Facebook and Twitter people waxed lyrical about my heroic deeds, claiming that people of my calibre are few and far between.

On Facebook someone even suggested I should be awarded honorary citizenship by my hometown.

Life suddenly became so pleasant and easy. I must admit it did become hard to find free days when I could meet friends and relations or attend fundraising dinners, and I survived practically exclusively on the ample buffets available. I also began to notice that the ladies had a different look in their eye when they looked my way.

Gala Dinner

A few months later I met a true friend of mine. He drove over to visit me and we spent some time together. We avoid using Facebook and Twitter to keep in touch, preferring the phone or direct contact. I told him what I had experienced over the last months and he listened patiently. When I had finished he asked: “Tell me, where did you get those lamps from that brought you so much fame and recognition?

“The lamps? Oh, I went to a pet shop just round the corner from here and bought the lamps literally off the shelf. They had loads of them, especially for saltwater aquariums”.

What is the moral of this tale? A true friend is one who can listen and does not rely on social networks.

And finding lighting solutions is sometimes easier that it seems.

To be continiued.

Who believes in the future?

by Joachim Ritter


I would like to raise two questions.

First: Do you believe in the future?

From my experience this first question will be answered with YES.
Of course, we are optimists.

The second question: Do you know what the future will look like?

Oops: Despite the fact that we believe in the future, we don’t seem to be able to say exactly what the future will look like. Wouldn’t it make sense if we were able to make educated decisions to ensure that the future will be OK? It should not be so much about believing in the future, but knowing what to expect. And if there are problems we need to face, then we have to be prepared to solve them.

Basically, the future is in our hands and it is up to us to make something out of it. If we take a closer look at the lighting world and the inherent technical developments, the possibilities right now are immense:
– we can save energy and create better structures to save the planet by using the latest technology or daylight design
– at the same time we can create better designs for the environments we as humans like to use
– we now know more about the effect of lighting on the human being and can apply this information purposefully when designing.

So what or who is stopping us from creating a better world? Nobody!

Maybe we still need more know-how in order to be sure we are doing the right thing. Maybe we need more experience to reduce the number of errors we are likely to make. Maybe we need to exchange more with colleagues to pinpoint the best possible option. And we need confidence to move forward with conviction and clear messages.

But it is clear that all of these things are up to each one of us personally. It is up to every individual to accept responsibility and develop relevant skills. And this will also be your own advantage.

Jim Rohn, entrepreneur and motivational speaker, once said: “Formal education will make you a living, self-education will make you a fortune!”

So the creators of the future and drivers of development are for sure the ones who make more than just a living out of their lives.

Following you will see the facade design of the Casino in Bregenz. Compare the colours of the nature and of the facades…




Media facades on the Casino in Bregenz/A

Photos: Zumtobel



























The future is beginning to look brighter in the Middle East – Light Middle East 2014

Skyline of Dubai will change a lot in the coming years. 400 more hotels planned.

by Joachim Ritter

Dubai Skyline rotIn and around the United Arab Emirates, and in particular in Dubai, they are on the brink of a new building boom. If one is to believe what could be heard off-the-record at Light Middle East, in the coming years they are planning to build another 400 hotels in Dubai alone. The number is not a typing error! There are two reasons for this: the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, and Expo 2020 in Dubai. Many of the large expanses of land available for building will be dedicated to Expo 2020, of course. But this is not about the kind of scale we are accustomed to from former world exhibitions. We are talking about dimensions for buildings that make sense on a Burj Khalifa scale. The future is definitely beginning to look brighter after the abrupt building freeze as a result of the economic crisis.


View from the 146 floor of Burj Kalifa = 555 m above see level onto the “small” skyscrapers of the Sheikh Zayed Road.

Not surprising, therefore, that Light Middle East made effort to give the fair an additional push this year, given that its image had suffered somewhat over the last few years. And it would appear they are off to a reasonably good start.

In this context, there are two issues that deserve a more explicit mention. The first one concerns the market and how satisfied clients and users are with the quality of lighting products. Martin Valentine, lighting designer und Coordinator for Public Lighting in Abu Dhabi, gave a talk about the forthcoming stipulations for the specification of products for application in the public realm. Manufacturers who do not adhere to these requirements in advance will have little chance of competing on the market in future. It is interesting to see that when it comes to quality the bar has been raised substantially – much higher than what the industry initially imposed. As a client, Abu Dhabi has made no secret as to what their expectations are to the industry. What the lighting industry has not managed to accomplish of their own accord has now been put upon them in the form of an initiative from clients. And there are many other clients in the region who are more than happy to go along with this.

On behalf of his employer, and with his know-how and experience as a professional lighting designer, Martin Valentine has rung in a new era in the Middle East. Many clients see to be tired of always having to sort out replacement deliveries and claims for damages when specified LED products do not work under specific conditions, such as in extremely hot climates. And they are obviously now experienced and competent enough not to believe everything the manufacturers’ reps tell them, or even what designers claim to be the truth and nothing but the truth. Lighting designers who do not have sufficient know-how or skills to bear the responsibility for their realised concepts are going to have a tough time of it in future.

The second point is that the lighting industry in the Middle East is becoming more structured. The Middle East Lighting Association (MELA) is a federation of manufacturers who have formed a common front in order to be able to address the new stipulations in a professional manner. The association has been active for a year now and is now a member of the Global Lighting Organisation.

Dubai_JR_3In addition to those two developments, it can be observed that the lighting professionals in the Middle East have now discovered that they do actually exist as a community. The 150 lighting designers and architects working in established firms in the Middle East who gathered at the recent PLDC 2015 warm-up and party, which was staged in Dubai in close collaboration with iGuzzini, document this to a tee. This, in effect, means that the region has taken a significant step towards gaining more recognition within the international context. As the initiators of PLDC and organisers of the associated warm-up events – in Dubai with our Diamond Partner iGuzzini – we have to admit that are proud to have provided the framework for this to happen. The group of lighting professionals from the Middle East who will be attending PLDC 2015 in Rome will be of a substantial size and therefore in a position to provide considerable input in the way of new experience in the field.

Less that 365 days to go to PLDC

by Joachim Ritter

A countdown blog thrives on the milestones it establishes – which is why today is a special day. Starting from today, it is less than a year before the fifth PLDC in Rome opens its doors. Eleven months, four weeks and one day – or 364 days – of anticipation and excitement lie before us. But not to worry! In the coming months we will be staging a number of warm-up events around the world to alleviate the agony of waiting.


PLDC warm-Up conference in Istanbul/TY

Following the kick-off event and party in Frankfurt on the occasion of Light+Building with almost 500 lighting designers (the Coelux launch) and the mini-conference in Istanbul two weeks ago with 250 attendees, our next PLDC warm-up will take place on 4. November in Dubai, where the Consul General of Italy in Dubai will be welcoming us at a special breakfast meeting, together with Iyad Alsaka, Architect and Partner at the Office for Metropolitan Architecture, OMA, who will be giving a short presentation on Urbanisation and Lighting. And whoever is attending the Light Middle East fair and will still be in Dubai on the evening of 5. November can conclude the day with us in party mood. The warm-up in Dubai is an event organised together with our PLDC Diamond Partner iGuzzini. Register here.


A further PLDC warm-up will be held in Monza/I. We will be linking this with the practical workshop we are organising there on “Lighting Historic Art”.

On behalf of the team of organisers working on PLDC 2015 in Rome, we are proud to announce that the general framework for the convention is fixed and we are now working on concrete details to prepare for the event. What we can already promise is that the convention will be a highly interesting and informative event with a number of surprises in store for you over the coming months. The programme for Rome has been expanded and improved to offer even more opportunities for attendees to learn and network. If you are considering responding to the Call for Papers for PLDC 2015, please note that the deadline for submissions is 14. November, 2014. This deadline will not be prolonged.

Compared to previous editions, we can already say that the interest in PLDC 2015 has increased. Over the last few months we have recorded 100 per cent more page impressions vis-à-vis the same point in time two years ago. We regard this interest as confirmation of the path PLDC 2015 has taken, combined with our commitment to create a programme that incorporates only the latest information and findings that affect the lighting design industry.

In the coming weeks we will be communicating more information about programme contents and the latest developments. Feel free to send us your input and comments.

Rome, of course, has a lot to offer both before and after PLDC. It is one of those places that you have to have visited at least once in your lifetime. Historically speaking, it is a must to see the Pantheon, or the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican Museums, the lighting for which was recently redesigned by Prof. Marco Frascarolo from Fabertechnica and realised in collaboration with Osram, or from the point of view of contemporary architecture the MAXXI Museum designed by Zaha Hadid, or Rome’s new conference centre, the “Nuvola” [“Cloud”], designed by Massimiliano Fuksas, which is due to be completed by autumn 2015.

Look forward to PLDC 2015 in Rome and be sure to mark the dates in your diary: 28.-31.October, 2015.


Sisteen Chapel in Rome, now lit by Osram.

You won’t go blind from reading in low light

Darkness does not affect your anatomy.

by Joachim Ritter

Science can make mistakes too. The time has come to bury a myth that many of us have carried with us since our childhood. Parents are always warning their children not to read in the dark for fear of damaging their eyes. This argument no longer holds water.

Today we know that reading in low light does absolutely no harm to our eyes and does not impact the anatomy of the eye in any way. It can be strenuous, of course, and cause eye fatigue. And those of us who insisted on reading under the bed covers, certainly noticed a difference in alertness the following day – although more because we were engrossed in a book we couldn’t put down and were therefore suffering from lack of sleep.

And low light also does not provoke the need to start wearing glasses. That would be a bit too simple, because conversely it would also mean it would be possible to improve your eyesight by exposing yourself to ultra-bright light.

And there is further evidence to back this “discovery” up. The probably most well known owl in the lighting industry, who we know from iGuzzini’s advertising campaigns back in the nineties, would doubtless be blind by now for having worn sunglasses for so long…
iguzzini owl

Elegant light patterns and luxury: Lois Vuitton in Tokyo/J

A journey in Japanese History Through Patterns!

IN_Louis Vuitton_TP_ARIN_Louis Vuitton_Tageslicht2
















Exclusive, elegant, and sporting the famous Louis Vuitton damier pattern monogram – this is what differentiates the French fashion house’s luxury goods from others. Handbags and leather goods produced by this fashion label are particularly popular.

The new façade on the Louis Vuitton store in Tokyo/J, designed by architect Jun Aoki, also features a repeated geometric pattern, coupled with light. The building is located at the former entrance to the city, and its design references the history of the region and its close association with the art deco movement. The patterns are a result of the gentle bulges and dents in the cladding, and change optically during the daytime depending on the incident sunlight.

After dark, LEDs concealed behind the reliefs create another impression, reminiscent of the Louis Vuitton damier. Luminous flowers and geometric light shapes appear, becoming smaller the lower down the facade they occur. The lighting also becomes increasingly more intensive towards street level, but is never obtrusive or overdone. The combination of warm white and cool white light renders the store magically attractive. And not a light source to be seen…

The building facade promises luxury and spreads an aura of aesthetic charm. The daiy view is already a fabulous design, but the night view is overwhelming.

What do I think when I stand in front of the building? Let’s go in ans spend some money…

Architect: Jun Aoki & Associates
Photos: Daici Ano
IN_Louis Vuitton_Tageslicht  IN_Louis Vuitton_CP _quer

Theatre: a laboratory for architecture

by Joachim Ritter (to enjoy this blog take 15 minutes time)

Time and again we find ourselves confronted with the question as to what trends we can expect for lighting design in the future. And once we have an answer, we all need a little time to grow accustomed to the new ideas. Sometimes it seems to be impossible to imagine what the future holds in store. Just as it was impossible to imagine 100 years ago that man would fly to the moon or speak to friends or colleagues on the other side of the globe using a wireless telephone. We are repeatedly reminded that the TV series Star Trek was a huge inspiration for scientists when developing their respective research studies. What scientists have learnt and gained from the science fiction world, lighting designers can extract from theatre…

The lighting design of the future (and of the present too for that matter) is not only dynamic and laced with media elements, but also interactive. Tapio Rosenius is one of the key lighting designers who is currently inspiring the lighting design world with his work and realised projects. In his case, it was Silo 468 in Helsinki that started it all off – but this is only a hint of what is yet to come. The world is digital and the reality of architecture now has to compete with the fascination of the digital world we live in. This works best when you combine architecture with the digital world. Osram is currently developing a concept where fitting rooms in fashion stores are equipped with a media wall. If you want to check out how you look when trying on evening wear for a gala evening, for example, it will soon be possible to program an appropriate backdrop via an app.

I recently discovered videos of work designed by the Austrian scenographer and media designer Klaus Obermaier. They show what can be realised with light today using advanced technologies. The future in the world of light is all about interaction, just as it was all about dynamic light in the nineties of the last century – which is absolutely normal today. Obermaier captures the movements of dancers on stage and projects patterns and movements of light onto their dancing bodies.

What technologies and applications enable these stunning effects? How did Obermaier manage to continually focus his projections onto the body forms as they change in the course of the dance with such timed precision?

You think this is unreal? Not at all, when you consider that Mader Stublic Wiermann, together with Stefan Hofman, who was working with Licht Kunst Licht at the time, achieved similar effects on the Uniqa Tower in Vienna back in 2006.

Istanbul warm-up 2014

Warm-up in Istanbul/TY gathered 250 attendees

by Joachim Ritter

Istanbul is a city on its way from the past into the future, the link between Europe and Asia, a melting pot of religions and cultures. There are very few places on earth that are so open to modern lifestyles and yet so connected to world history. Istanbul was predestined to be a location for a PLDC 2015 warm-up. Here we find something exciting happening on a grand scale that is valid for many other metropolises around the world: the dawning of a new era in architectural design featuring the impact of new media and digital technologies.

At the PLDC warm-up in Istanbul around 250 lighting designers and architects had the opportunity to discuss the chances and risks of modern architecture and digital light in existing cities with historical roots and origins. Tapio Rosenius, Koert Vermeulen, Allan Ruberg, Nadine van Amersvoort and Teun Vinken provided their input based on projects they have realised around the globe.


250 designers and architects came together in Istanbul to talk about the lighting design trends.

In the world of architecture there is nothing as exciting as the development of a new market. An openness towards modern architecture and the willingness to invest in the future provide a fruitful basis for true visions. However, taking that crucial step is only possible when there is international know-how and experience available to ensure a sound development cannot only be embarked upon, but also built upon.

With the Istanbul conference 2014, a platform was created that will activate the lighting market in Turkey and provide it with an international context.

Architectural visions are currently booming in Turkey. In 2017, Istanbul will be opening their third airport, which is designed to handle 150 million passengers annually and will therefore be the largest airport worldwide. And the site will not only incorporate an airport. A whole new district is to be built with a hospital, hotels, places of worship, and a congress centre. Further large-scale projects, such as a new Istanbul seaport, are planned, all with the goal of making Turkey an integral part of the modern world.

It is clear that light will play an important role in these considerations. Light is a driving force when it comes to enhancing safety, cultural heritage, and enjoyment in a modern society, which was one of the topics under discussion in this mini-convention.

In future, we can expect Turkey to provide inspiration for other parts of the world. Being part of this process now, in its early stages, is a huge opportunity that does not arise often during one’s professional career. As a warm-up for PLDC 2015 in Rome, the conference in Istanbul was thus one of the larger and significant milestones along the way.

Further PLDC warm-ups are planned in
Dubai/UAE, 3. November, 2014
Monza, I, 15. November, 2014
Please check the dates!





















PicturesEvent_26The event was supported by iGuzzini, Soraa, Lighting Accent, Alux-Luxar, Avolux, Thorn Zumtobel, Bahar, SilberLED


We are 2014 Nobel Prize Winners

by Joachim Ritter

That’s the way it goes nowadays: one person can represent a whole community. When German Bishop Josef Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI in 2005, there was a general feeling among the German people that they had in part assumed papal responsibility and were, indeed, honoured to do so. “We are the Pope” it said in German newspapers. It was similar with Cardinal Karol Wojtyła from Kraków. As Pope John Paul II, he could be more than sure he had the Polish people behind him. Such developments always have an undeniable socio-political component and significance.

PLDCBlog kl

Meijo University Prof Isamu Akasaki, 85, Nagoya University Prof Hiroshi Amano, 54, and Prof Shuji Nakamura, 60, of the University of California at Santa Barbara, US

And now we are the 2014 Nobel Prize Winners in Physics – we being all those members of the lighting community who are currently benefiting from the development of the blue LED, which is responsible for instigating the dramatic changes the lighting industry is undergoing. However upset, or even enraged, some of us were when the incandescent lamp was finally pushed aside as an example of bygone inefficiency, the Nobel Prize announcement now fills us with honour and pride, given the extent to which the LED has changed our working world in the last 15 years, and indeed continues to do so on a dramatic scale.

The Nobel Prize in Physics 2014 has been awarded jointly to Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura “for the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes, which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources”. This was announced by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences on Tuesday, 7. October in Stockholm. The Nobel Committee described the Japanese physicists’ work as “revolutionary” research towards the invention of “new, energy-efficient and environment-friendly light sources”, and awarded them prize money of approximately 880,000 euros (eight million Swedish crowns).

Nobelpreis / LED / Physik 2014

Johan Jarnestad/ The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

Whether in the form of torches, smartphone displays, or rear lights or braking lights for cars: LEDs have become practically irreplaceable. Light-emitting diodes exist in red, amber, green, white and blue. For a long time, the search for a diode that would emit blue light was comparable to the quest for the Holy Grail.

Thanks to the research carried out by the three Japanese scientists, blue lasers and blue LEDs are now an integral part of modern-day technology. Since one quarter of the electricity consumed worldwide is for lighting, LED light sources are making a substantial contribution towards protecting natural resources, states the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

In time for the upcoming International Year of Light 2015, an initiative of a large consortium of scientific bodies together with UNESCO, this recognition couldn’t have come at a better time. The decision will give the lighting world an additional push, and a good start for the year to come. And thank goodness it was the invention of the blue LED that was awarded the Nobel Prize and not of the compact fluorescent lamp, which also claims to use less energy than the incandescent lamp and was long claimed to be the solution for saving the polar ice caps and alpine ski slopes. At least the Nobel Committee did not allow themselves to be dazzled by marketing strategists like many a politician did. And even if the LED is not sufficient to save the polar ice caps and mountain glaciers, we can all express our delight at this announcement and express our gratification by proudly announcing: we are the 2014 Nobel Prize Winners in Physics.

Looking good

Titel PLD 94100th aniversay at PLDC

In spite of the fact that it is still a relatively young event, PLDC 2015 in Rome is already marked by history. The fifth edition of the global convention coincides in the coming year with another very special anniversary. On the occasion of PLDC we will be pubishing the 100th issue of the Professional Lighting Design (PLD) magazine.

The PLD was launched in 1996 in order to promote architectural lighting design as a profession and to explain what lighting design is using well researched texts and essays plus large images. At the time, many people only had a feeling that light was not only related to a technical discipline, but that designed lighting indeed has an impact on the way we live, work and behave. Only when scientific evidence of the additional photoreceptor (iPRGC) in the eye became available, together with findings regarding the significance of light for human beings, did lighting design gain the recognition it really duly deserved. The PLD was dedicated to presenting this level of information from the start and at the time was the first magazine worldwide to focus on specific content and to take a stand on lighting design as a profession. In the meantime a number of magazines have come into being around the world – and even more Internet platforms – that publish articles on designed lighting.

We are proud to see that many have opted to pursue this approach.

On the occasion of PLDC 2015 in Rome, we will be celebrating the 100th edition of the PLD and expressing our thanks to all who have supported us over the last 16 years.

As a token of our appreciation we will therefore be granting a 20% discount on PLDC full-conference tickets for all our subscribers. If you are not a subscriber and would like to change that (!), follow this link to make sure you remain informed and are aware of the latest developments in all lighting design related fields.