I am still buzzing from all the new lighting showcased at the Dallas lighting market in June. As expected, LED technology is driving all sorts of exploration in what a lighting fixture can look like. Tandem to tech, is the rise and fall of trends as we move through time.
The trend story I find interesting this season are all the curves, generous radii, alabaster stone, Aztec gold, shell, woven fibers, color, organic forms and brighter and more flexible LEDs. Also, to my delight, there are Dark Sky outdoor fixture designs at every price point.
I have to admit, as exciting as trend watching is, when I take in all of the market showrooms and catalogs, I have over the years developed an inner curmudgeon! I critique two things absolutely necessary to even consider a fixture worthy of selection.
#1 Glare control. Lighting needs to function and it is also a place for fashion. Some spaces need that fashion element to be visually interesting. Start there. If the right chandelier or pendant doesn't let light out the sides or only has a single light, you can add invisible ambient or even supplemental task lighting to get your performance. But glare maters! Don't show your bulbs, and cover your diodes already. The exception is 'clear twinkle', that can show.
#2 Is it a classic? No matter how many trend points it hits, always ask “Is this ugly?” There are fixtures that pass the test of time -- the PH5 by Poul Henningsen is from 1958 and has been cool this whole time. Notice it also controls glare. Genius.
I think in every trend there are classic ingredients. When a fixture is on trend and just super cool in its own right, that's one to go for!