“Shift happens” at PLDC 2017 in Paris

“Shift happens” at PLDC 2017 in Paris

Thoughts from Joachim Ritter ten years after the first PLDC in London.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Professional Lighting Design Convention, PLDC. The first edition in London in 2007 took place under the motto “a milestone”. The event was intended to mark the start of a process that would eventually lead to recognition of the profession. The first PLDC was something of a sensation for many.

Hardly anyone had reckoned on a convention dedicated to Lighting Design attracting more than 1000 attendees. Mark Major had estimated that the event might indeed manage to gather around 400 designers and lighting specialists – already a record in those days – which fortunately turned out to be misjudgement in the positive sense! The actual turnout showed that considerably more designers worldwide claim to be practising, or have a serious interest in, professional lighting design, and that they together form an international community. This experience was not entirely new to me as an organiser of such an event.

Back in 1992 I had organised an event on the occasion of what was then known as the World Light Show at the Hanover Fair. A total of 200 attended, people who for the first time publicly claimed to be lighting designers. What today would appear to be a ridiculously small number of attendees was an unbelievably high turnout back then. Most people were only aware of around four lighting designers in Europe at the time: Christian Bartenbach, Johannes Dinnebier and Hans T. von Malotki and him/herself.

We can indeed claim that from 1994 to this day there have been a number of positive developments, which in turn encourage us all to continue with our efforts.

This year’s motto for PLDC in Paris is “Shift happens”. The vulgar phrase that this year’s motto stems from (you all know it) is based on the observation that life is full of unpredictable events – c’est la vie, as our French friends would say – and is almost the opposite of what this year’s PLDC is all about. PLDC 2017 says quite openly that change happens, also in the lighting design world, change and changes that can no longer be avoided or ignored. “Shift happens” summons all lighting designers to respond to the ongoing changes and re-orient themselves in a coordinated fashion. Light is undergoing change – as is the status of the profession.

In the last few years PLDC has established itself as an international Thought Leadership event. This applies to PLDC in Paris more than ever. The Steering Committee for PLDC 2017, comprising Alison Ritter and Roger Narboni along with myself, has put together a programme for which the motto “a milestone” would again be highly appropriate. The papers that will be presented this year are not only of unrivalled quality, but also reflect the way related disciplines and specialist areas such as automobility and urban change, connectivity and digitalisation, neurosciences and the trend towards light for health and well-being are becoming an inevitable part of lighting solutions.

260 submissions were way too many to be allocated to the originally planned three parallel tracks. Which is why the Steering Committee decided, contrary to original plans, to re-install a fourth parallel track to be filled with presentations of substantial content.

We are especially delighted to inform you of the extensive supporting programme in the days immediately prior to and during PLDC. On the weekend before PLDC we are planning to stage exhibitions which will be open to architects, clients and the wider public. The focus will be on the role of light in the shifts that are taking place in the public realm.

Moreover, in partnership with the City of Paris and the Fraunhofer Institute in Stuttgart/GER, we are expecting representatives from more than 50 cities worldwide, who will be taking part in a Cities’ Forum on pre-convention day to discuss the future of our towns and cities and the impact of light in the public realm.

Ten years after the very first event, PLDC 2017 is once again the meeting place for the global lighting design community, and again marks the start of a new period of change and future developments which are about to become reality.

View the conference programme in detail here.

We look forward to seeing all of you in Paris to experience the shift happening.