[Applicable for retail and theatre, Color Kinetics' LED products brighten Chicago's Goodman Theatre.]

What’s in store? Lighting Dimensions found out in its first visit to the GlobalShop trade show, held March 22-24 at Chicago’s McCormick Place exhibition center. In its essentials, the show is similar to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) exhibition—another large show with smaller pockets of lighting suppliers (and, indeed, some themed entertainment exhibitors, notably The Larson Co. and Edwards Technologies Inc., eager to carve out a niche in the retail market).

Sponsored by the National Association of Store Fixture Manufacturers (NASFM), and produced by Display and Design Ideas magazine and VNU Expositions, GlobalShop is billed as the world’s largest annual store design and in-store marketing show. Final numbers are not yet available for the 2001 edition, but last year’s show brought more than 1,200 exhibitors and 15,500 attendees together in the Windy City.

GlobalShop, now in its ninth year, houses five retail-related shows under one roof. Lighting exhibitors could be found at the two largest. Most clustered in the Store Fixturing Show space, with a few others taking part in The Visual Merchandising Show (NASFM sponsors Store Fixturing, and the National Association of Display Industries sponsors Visual Merchandising, a flashier hall with all matter of retail bric-a-brac, like creepily humanoid mannequins).

After a slow first day (the show began a Thu-Fri-Sat rotation this year), floor traffic picked up considerably on Friday. Lighting exhibitors generally expressed satisfaction, often noting that they were doing brisk business on the show floor with non-lighting companies looking to spruce up their store illumination. This is not a show for product introductions, but one for how new gear can be adapted for use in demanding retail environments. Impressions follow.

The Store Fixturing Show

All the fancy hangers, kiosks, and checkout counters on display from co-exhibitors don’t make much of an impact on shoppers if they can’t see them in the proper light, so most lighting makers chose to place their booths with this show. A selective roundup follows.

Amerlux Lighting Systems (www.Amerlux.com) showed task-specific solutions like the Tranzformer track luminaire, for creating long throws of light and making vertical surfaces and displays stand out even in high ambient conditions.

E-Lite Technologies (www.e-lite.com) displayed its Flatlite system, described as "the world’s widest, thinnest, longest lightbulb." These electroluminescent lamps come in rolls of up to 24" panels or 480’ (146m) coils.

ElectroLuminX Corp. (www.elux.net), formerly known as Elux Lighting Corp., showed its electroluminescent strips, suitable for retail and also in use on the Backstreet Boys tour and the upcoming Spider-Man movie.

Hera Lighting (www.heralighting.com) showed its halogen and fluorescent systems for store fixtures, displays, and point of purchase applications.

Holophane (www.holophane.com) showed its Perflector highbay luminaires, which incorporates a ballast housing with perforated patterns for more attractive looks.

Indy Lighting (no website listed; phone in Fishers, IN, is 317-849-1233) makes incandescent, compact fluorescent, and HID lighting fixtures for retail.

Juno Lighting (www.junolighting.com) showed its Flex 12 lighting collection, a flexible low-voltage track lighting system that can be configured for retail applications.

The Katie Group (www.katiegroup.com) has signed several new deals, which can be read about in more detail in the Front of House section once the May issue is in place. One of its new clients, turnkey fiber-optics solutions provider Glass Illuminations, co-located in its GlobalShop booth and both will be at Lightfair next month.

Kee Klamp (www.keeklamp.com) displayed its tubular structural fittings for retail.

Retail-ready products from Lightolier (www.lightolier.com) include the Lytespan track lighting system, housing Powerwash T5 high-output fluorescent lamps that have a 39W electronic ballast.

Lucifer Lighting was most interested in touting its website; have a look at www.luciferlighting.com.

Amplifying the butterfly logo of its "Living Light" campaign, Martin Professional (www.martin.dk) housed its retail-friendly MiniMACs in a new chrysalis-shaped booth that is also going to Lightfair.

Modular International (www.modularinternational.com) showed its Modular Multiples—Surface Architectural Basics, solid-sided geometric square and rectangular fixtures that pair with all Multiples Recessed low- and line-voltage models.

Osram Sylvania (www.sylvania.com) prepared a brochure cataloging its achievements in retail lighting and brought along many of the products therein.

Prudential Lighting (www.prulite.com) showed its Vader closed top direct/indirect luminaires, with a choice of parallel louvers or a solid or perforated bottom, and MicroLites, T5 and T8 electronic fixtures for displays, cabinets, and coves.

RSA Lighting (www.rsalighting.com) displayed its Combo Clouds, a line of decorative yet functional suspended fixtures.

Tech Lighting (www.techlighting.com) showed retail-oriented products like its programmable Image Marketing Projector.

W.A.C. Lighting (www.waclighting.com) highlighted its rope light and halogen/xenon lamps for the stores marketplace.

The Visual Merchandising Show

Besides a host of products, this attention-grabbing hall hosted The Revival Project, a touchy-feely showroom environment that attempted to conjure retailing dynamism from familiar products and materials and was put together by suppliers and designers. Major sponsors included Rose Brand (www.rosebrand.com), with an array of its fabrics on display, and Color Kinetics (www.colorkinetics.com), whose LED products are suitable for retail environments. A CK ColorBlast and iColor Cove lightshow, controlled by a Rosco Horizon console, plays every night on the exterior of the Goodman Theatre’s sparkling new digs on North Dearborn.

Other exhibitors included…

Boca Flasher (www.bocaflasher.com) showed its energy-efficient LED light bulbs and lightstrips.

Dazian Fabrics (www.dazian.com), with its product line.

Edwards Technologies Inc. (edwardstech.net) unveiled a German-made projection surface, HoloPro, at the show. Its patented technology laminates a refraction grid between special plates of glass, resulting in a screen that focuses light rather than scattering it. Because it offers full transparency, full-motion video, text, and graphics can be combined with environments, products, and people, even in daylight. You can also see HoloPro at www.holopro.de.

Eiko Ltd. (www.eiko-ltd.com) demoed its Solux "daylight" technology, with MR-16 halogen bulbs now available for standard (E-26) screw-based sockets.

High End Systems (www.highend.com) highlighted its architectural offerings, the ES-1™ and EC-1™ luminaires.

LSI Abolite Lighting (www.abolite.com) showed its range of stylish fixtures, for CFL, HID, and incandescent sources.

Optikinetics (www.optikinetics.com) featured a booth built entirely from its TriLite trussing, ideal for highlighting its effects projection equipment. Coors has been using TriLite for its inhouse worldwide marketing meetings.

Times Square Lighting (www.tslight.com) touted its metal-halide fixtures using the Philips MasterColor lamp.

Transformit (www.transformitdesign.com) looked to one lighting writer like a High End booth, given the number of automated fixtures in use. But the gear was used to highlight this firm’s sweeping Lycra creations, which stores like Macy’s and Sephora have used.

Check out www.globalshop.org for updates on the 10th anniversary show, to be held April 18-20 at McCormick Place in 2002.

Photo courtesy of Color Kinetics.