By: Julie Johnson, CEO and Founder of LiteSwap
As CEO and Founder of LiteSwap, I was lucky enough to be a recipient of the Deep Dive Grant from GAIN. I used the grant to pay for my expenses to attend the IALD Enlighten America 2017 in Denver this year.
As a lighting designer for over 17 years, this conference is always a big deal to attend. The sessions are split into three tracks: Art, Science and Professional Tools. The art track provides inspiration, cases studies and lighting theory. The Science track provides updates on the latest research and technical trends. The Professional Tools track helps provide skills and resources needed to maintain a successful lighting practice.
The two keynote speakers were inspirational. Roberto Schafer, ASC/AIC shared his experience working in film and video, connecting the use of light in film to help create a story (http://robertoschaefer.com/). Rafael Lozano-Hemmer discussed his work as an electronic artist who develops interactive installations at the intersection of architecture and performance art (http://www.lozano-hemmer.com/ ).
Not only did I have the chance to feed my creative soul and hunger for knowledge when it comes to lighting, I had a great opportunity to make some important connections for LiteSwap. I met my co-speaker for Lightfair 2018 for the first time after one of the sessions to discuss how we were going to frame our presentation to help educate lighting product manufacturers about what designers really need from them and their websites. I also participated in a session called Lighting Cross Talk. This was an informal round table discussion of key issues facing the lighting industry between manufacturers and specifiers in a “speed dating” style. Some of the concerns that were discussed were issues that LiteSwap is trying to address with its SaaS platform. My comments on topics were innovative and got quite a bit of attention which gained me more than my fair share of business cards and “call me” talks.
Most of the conference provided great insight regarding how other countries deal with issues compared to the U.S. I usually only attend Lightfair, but this conference had more global representation and a unifying atmosphere. Lightfair is more about new products and awards, while the Enlighten conference was more about design integrity, growth, inspiration and improvement in the industry. I felt like I was among kindred spirits who really wanted to make a difference and have a positive effect on humanity as a whole. The experience of attending was more rewarding than I anticipated.
Very few people outside of the industry understand the impact of light and work that goes into designing lighting for buildings such as hospitals and museums. I am proud to be part of a profession that is passionate and innovative!