This issue is a kind of happy accident, as opposed to all those unhappy accidents we've been experiencing. Lighting Dimensions on Architecture was conceived as a series of supplements, with the exception of the February issue, which was dedicated largely to retail lighting. While our industry is still pulling itself together post-September 11, this is an excellent time to look at some major new architectural projects. Oddly enough, they provide a glimpse of the future of lighting design.
The three retail stories in this issue reveal a common theme, that the techniques of architectural lighting and entertainment lighting are becoming ever more intertwined. It's not unusual for a store like Toys "R" Us to feature exciting, effects-heavy entertainment lighting although, as Ellen Lampert-Gréaux's story makes clear, it's an achievement on a scale that few can dream about. But look at what's happening elsewhere. John Calhoun's report on Heron City Kungens Kurva shows a shopping center taking on the functions of an entertainment center as well. Vilma Barr's story on, of all things, grocery stores covers two approaches: the traditional way and the flashier approach, using theatrical luminaires to help drive sales. Ironically, the most traditional lighting designs featured this month are for two hotels found in Disney theme parks (and they're stunning jobs, I might add).
The inescapable fact is this: Everything in modern society has become entertainment — that includes shopping, dining, even worship. Traditional architectural lighting design is not going away, but it will continue to be shaped by ideas from the worlds of theatre, film, television, concerts, and clubs. If you want to have a career in architectural lighting, get used to it — and start dealing with it creatively.
Next month, we'll be back with the regular mix of entertainment projects and products, including a special look at clubs around the world. Our next architectural supplement, in May, includes a special report on the task of lighting monuments. See you then.