Three Takeaways from Lightfair International 2018


Lightfair International 2018 is a wrap. Bringing the best innovation from the lighting world together in the South Halls of Chicago’s McCormick Place, the show was a glimmering glimpse of the tech that illuminates our world every day.

We walked the floor to explore the state of exhibiting in the lighting space. Here are some of our favorite takeaways from Lightfair 2018.

Bring the Outside In

Most of the fixtures at Lightfair 2018 were inherently beautiful, but beautiful product alone does not a great exhibit make. Lack of imagination in experiential design results in lackluster booths; imagine a cross between a plain white catalog page and the lighting section at Home Depot and you’ll have the idea.

Conversely, the best exhibits at Lightfair 2018 put attendees inside the spaces that their products inhabit in the real world.

The experience we built for Hubbell Lighting showcased the company’s dominance across a variety of industries — and their products’ broad array of applications — by putting cutting-edge fixtures inside miniaturized versions of real settings. From a wine bar to an industrial control facility; from streetlights on the corner to spotlights in a stadium; Hubbell Lighting’s beautiful exhibit brought showgoers out of the hall and into the places where the right lighting makes all the difference.

Another winner: Tech Lighting, who showcased their outdoor lighting series with a tranquil zen oasis, complete with rock gardens, trees and plants, and clean, modern structures reminiscent of an architecture magazine.

More Sophistication, More Prep

Farewell, pushbuttons and knobs. Today’s touchscreen interfaces bring a whole new level of sophistication to lighting. Much of the tech we saw at Lightfair International 2018 was dedicated to the controls that connect interfaces and fixtures. In the age of the smart home, these controls are more important than ever — and so is showcasing them well at trade shows.

Of course, more complex systems mean more complex builds. What does that mean for exhibitors? Early alignment is absolutely crucial to ensuring that the build comes together without a hitch. It’s one thing to ship a set of light fixtures to the show (without breaking) and get them powered and illuminated. It’s quite another to get various lighting zones with independent control systems all working together onsite. Disciplined decision-making and adherence to deadlines early in the planning process means fewer headaches and rush charges later — and less risk of malfunction that brings progress to a screeching halt the day before the show.

Textures and Shapes

Beautiful though they may be, light fixtures don’t exist for their own sake. The most impressive exhibits at Lightfair International 2018 gave their products something interesting to illuminate, and smart brands outfitted their booths with diverse textures and shapes to create visual interest. The industry trend of using unique, non-uniform materials continued at this show to spectacular results.

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