One of the not-to-be-missed of this Milan Design Week has surely been Euroluce 2019, or the International Lighting Exhibition.
449 exhibitors coming from the around the world have presented their lighting innovations, and I’ve been walking around like a crazy bee trying to see as much as possible.
After approximately 22.000 steps walked, hundreds of photos taken and an equally huge number of press releases read, I’m ready to connect the dots and share my list of the 5 newest innovations seen at Euroluce 2019.
Let me start by mentioning smart lighting. This could be #0 of this list as it’s a must by now and it’s becoming common to have the possibility to control light via smartphone apps. In other words, smart features are a plus on the side of each of the elements below. So let’s start the list with number 1!
Originally there were just two ways to get artificial lighting: either integrated in the general lighting system or plugged into a socket. Today, battery-operated lights have come into the equation and Euroluce 2019 was full of interesting examples.
From table to floor lamps, these portable options give indoor (and outdoor) spaces a whole new flexibility. In fact, the rise of portable lights links perfectly with the wider trend of space flexibility and the fluidity required in modern life. In times when a dining table is used to dine, cook and work, it’s essential to have the chance to adapt lighting according to the activity. These portable lights also solve the always-present problem of outdoor lighting, especially in balconies or for temporary situation.
Overall, they give the flexibility to use the space in a more spontaneous way, without having to wonder how to deal with lighting when the sun will set.
2. For wellbeing
Light can impact our wellbeing considerably and the lighting industry is now starting to exploit this potential.
Under the mantra of Human Centric Lighting, there’s a huge interest in the study of the “effect of light on people’s emotions, their wellbeing, their health and their motivation.” And the result are lights that smartly adjust to the time of day, to external daylight, to the overall background light and even to age and sleep time!
Do you know that feeling of entering into a room and feeling – even without knowing exactly why – that the light is somehow wrong?
Well, these lighting innovations tackle the roots of the problem. Adjusting both colour temperature and light intensity, they follow our circadian cycle (our biological day-night rhythm), creating a more comfortable ambiance that will in turn make us more concentrated, energized and overall happier.
We have met this human-centric idea already when talking about office design. There too, the focus is moving towards creating workspaces that are healthier and can support people’s wellbeing more.
On the same wellbeing note, lighting is more and more often paired with sound absorption properties, that can improve the overall comfort in the space both at home and in office environments. From felt panels to living lichens, the choice is pretty wide!
Besides impacting on wellbeing, smart lights also allow to reduce electricity costs. Integrated motions sensors can indeed detect when someone is around and switch light on and off accordingly.
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Customization is a macro trend that is embracing all industries and sectors, including lighting. At Euroluce 2019, I saw many lights that come in modules and leave it to individual creativity to assemble shape and sizing.
Once again, this adds flexibility and makes the same fixture suitable for a huge array of situations. Just to give an example, a modular fixture can easily follow its owners through moves, and become smaller or bigger according to the living space available.
I could also have titled this section When a lamp is not just a lamp…
The idea is integrating lighting into other objects, carrying out two functions in one go.
I personally love multifunctional pieces, so I may be partial here. But from vases, to side tables, to bookshelves, there were some really clever designs at Euroluce 2019!
5. Inspired by nature
In a way, nature has never stopped to be source of inspiration, but lately it is certainly having a big moment.
From a broader perspective, it has been acknowledged that nature can have a tangible positive effect on our interiors. Plants clean the air, water releases stress, nature-inspired shapes and textures influence our wellbeing by involving our senses, and natural light impacts on our health.
With the general interest moving more towards biophilic design, the latest lighting innovations are also getting inspiration from nature and many fixtures are being designed following natural forms and patterns.
Euroluce 2019 has been so rich that I could have included dozens more pictures! I will share more on my Instagram (opened in a new window/tab) in the coming days, so be sure you come take a look there as well!