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This is the Lumenique, LLC Lighted Art and Design Studio blog. Articles here are provided as a supplement to the main Lumenique, LLC web site, to offer additional detail, process insight, and technical development items of interest to studio customers. For information about processes and insight into the inspiration behind Lighted Art Object creation, explore the Lighted Objects Menu in the right hand menu. Note that some articles will appear in multiple categories.

Why I’m Blowing Off Lightfair 2021

I won’t bother with Lightfair 2021 for several reasons. With only 233 exhibitors, it is smaller than LEDucation will be in the spring (usually tops 275 exhibitors). To put this in perspective, this is less than 1/3 a typical LF show of the past, covering less than 1/4 of the floor space. This will make it the smallest version of this show since 1983, when it was called LightWorld.

Looking at the exhibitor list exposes it for what it is. A bit of an over-marketed regional show for an odd collection of exhibitors – at best. This is not a national caliber showcase of the industry.

Why Lightfair insisted on pushing ahead with the show is not a mystery. The organizers and bodies involved likely need the income from the cancelation of 2020. To this end, they have forced many mid-level exhibitors into coming by threatening to forfeit deposits paid on top of pressure of points lost for 2022 space reservations – so there are those who caved to pressure and will be present, reluctantly, with abbreviated displays and minimal staffing.

Not LF2021

None of the reasons for Lightfair and its organizers to press on with this show is a reason to attend. I do not attend events to show of support for producers that could not care less about me as an individual – this is not a religion, it is business. Further, it is an expensive show to attend in both time lost and costs involved. In recognition of that, I believe those putting on such events have an obligation to produce a show worth that investment. This year’s presentation fails that test – for me at least.

I do get the usual push for attending to be “there” to see things in hand, and meet people, etc… However, that assumes there is product there I need to see in person, and I question how effective the “meeting people” part will be with the ongoing COVID mess, mask and vaccination mandates, general concerns about travel and large gatherings (outside those who attend infamous political fan events). For New Yorkers, I wonder how relevant this is, when LEDucation is just a few months off and more intimately focused, not to mention distanced from COVID (hopefully) by then. Based on this, I will venture that attendance will be as thin as the exhibitor list. Further, due to the small number of exhibitors, and the odd mix of brands present, I cannot see attendees staying for more than a day before returning home, so meeting people will be somewhat hit and miss as they briefly come and go.

The one bright spot is that the 35 (34 if you subtract the one marketing course on leveraging Lightfair for business) mostly predictable, and a few unnecessary, presentations are likely to be very lightly attended, so the odds of having a meaningful dialog with topic presenters is very good. Unfortunately the schedule of presentation overlaps, and the track divisions, means it is difficult to attend more than 6-8 of the 34 for any single attendee (so much for the socializing thing) even if one stays for three days.

I have attended every national lighting show from Light World 3 to Lightfair events, from 1982 until somewhere around 2014, a couple years after I wrote an article on the over-saturation of shows in 2012 in SSL Observed, June 2012 . I have seen some pretty amazing shows over the years, and the explosion of the regional events (like the LEDucation event, which is a star IMHO) and their effectiveness. My attendance at Lightfair has been on and off since, with the last in 2019.

Looking at Lightfair 2021 as it stands, I have to wonder what they were thinking from a marketing perspective. It appears more an act of desperation and frustration than legitimate effort to produce a product worthy of the expense attendees will pay for it. To follow this long delayed October date with a coming Vegas show in June, makes one wonder – Is it time for a re-think about forcing a single National Show to happen every single year? Perhaps the example of the massive Light+Build event is a better model.

In any case, I do wish those who are attending and exhibiting my best. I am certain that I won’t be missed. If you get bored and need to reach out, I will be here, working.

Inspired by a Minneapolis Portico

In Minneapolis, there is what I consider a truly remarkable building. It was once called the Northwestern National Life building, and opened in 1965. The colonnade is striking, and sours. The columns are somewhat reminiscent of Doric structure in there number and flared capitals, but far more slender and exaggerated. Walking through them is interesting, as the light strikes the 4 sides of each to create a mix of perceptions, some in shadow, others lighted directly.

In my interpretation, I created three layers of the columns to create the vertical height, then rotated each layer 90 degrees counter clockwise. When lighted, the presentation of the columns lighted from the front, and in shadow are evident from a single vantage point, similar to what you see walking up to the building itself.

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Time Machine Office Tour – 1987

I ran across a folder containing images of our Lighting Design Consulting offices from Las Vegas. This was when we were deep into the Mirage hotel, as well as a ton of custom homes, and some retail work.

So, I thought, why not recreate what would have been our cook’s tour at the time – had you come by for a visit back then.

For younger readers, there is equipment in these images that you won’t recognize. For those old enough, you will recognize the collection of things and perhaps have a nostalgic moment of your own. So, without any further ado, shall we?

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Change and Roads Untraveled

There is a lot of noise today about folks changing career paths and how it is changing the landscape of employment. I question whether what is happening is actually new. An interesting article on careers from Apollo Technical 17 REMARKABLE CAREER CHANGE STATISTICS TO KNOW indicates that job and career changes are pretty common, and have been going on for some time.

Key takeaway: Change is the norm, it is only the attention of media that cycles in and out of making it a “story.”

The article states that the average number of jobs an individual might have is 12, and infers that most have perhaps just one career change. So, I decided to do a bit of a retro review on my own path. What I came up with was 5 significant career paths (often overlapping), and 11 jobs over a period of 44 years. The following is a run down, counting only adult age jobs.

Foundation

For me, art was going to be a part of what I do. At a very early age, living in campus housing where my dad was studying Electronics Engineering, my daily path to school included the halls of the art department at the UofI Moscow, ID to escape the cold winters. There, I saw paintings, sculptures, and graphics. The imagery and smell of linseed oil were compelling. While others played with their sticks and balls, I chose sketching and doodling in notebooks, and painting murals on walls.

Early notebook sketch 1973
Career One – Graphics and Job 1

Most careers are a mish-mash of financial need, emotion, opportunity, and focus. My early interests in art led to a graphic design path, which led to joining the USAF as a graphics specialist.

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Inspired by a Tower Observed

The Park object is inspired by an observation tower located in Chřiby, Czechoslovakia. The country has many of these structures for observing the surrounding landscape, which can be stunning.

My inspired take, containing 4 OLED modules and dual dimming control.

The original lookout tower was designed by Jan Smékal and Tomáš Hutyr from the Prostějov company.

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Retrospective 1969-1970: My First Invention

Introduction

The story told here is real. However, I have added a bit of humor to it for entertainment purposes. The actions taken, timeline, and responses to it are real, the description of it is a dramatization of actual events to make it more fun to read. No names have been changed.

Background

As a kid, I glued and painted everything. Making stuff from wood and found objects was the greatest form of entertainment around, next to stinking up the house with unsupervised chemistry set experiments. The reasons are pretty obvious:

  • No computers or video games
  • 3 channels on antenna TV
  • The only thing streaming in 1969 was water, down actual streams
  • No smart phones and all the trappings that go with them

So, I made things. Gokarts from wood and lawn mower take-off wheels, to walking stilts made from scrap 2 x 4’s. Wenatchee was the center of the Wenatchee Youth circus, so you walked on stilts and rode unicycles – including delivering newspapers on them. The place was a bit bizarre, but wonderful to grow up in.

Problem Definition

The glue of choice in those days was Elmer’s Glue-All. The problem was, at the time, the stuff came with one of two caps designs. The separate little press on cap, and the twist cap design.

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Lean Objects

The idea behind the Lean Series of Lighted Art Objects is to communicate the general architectural imagery, in a small abbreviated scale that provides an ambient presence when placed on a table. The concept is similar to editing a story down to the least number of words, while still communicating the intended imagery.

Lean Empire

Initially, I created 6 variations that range from Deco to Brutal. These artist proofs are one-off items, meaning these are part of an exploration of the forms, involving significant hand working to produce. Future objects may follow, but these will not be reproduced as they are shown.

The soft light from the OLED panels provides a pleasant reading light, while the dual face also illuminates the wall or surfaces behind, adding to ambient illumination in addition to adding artistic detail to an interior.

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Villa – a Lighted Center Piece

Center peices are commonplace. Lighted centerpieces not illuminated by candles are not. The reason is fairly simple – no power available.

I created an architecturally inspired Lighted Art Object as a center peice for a dining or conference table.

The base includes a 10Ah lithium battery pack that is rechargeable through a detachable charger. It testing the finished piece, it lasted 60 hours at a medium low setting (35% brightness), and 13 hours at the highest brightness setting. With (4) OLED sources, both ambient and more functional task lighting are both possible.

Villa

The concept is derived from the low, extended rooflines of Wright architecture, as well as a little from Meese Van der Roe.

Total height was kept below 11.5″ to avoid people sitting across the table being obstructed from seeing one another. It’s general scale will work for a table from 30″ to 36″ wide.

Inspiration from an iconic work.
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Space Exploration

Where we work tells the story of who we are. I enjoy space planning and getting the most out of small environments. I don’t enjoy excessive space filled with… well, space. Also not a fan of architectural spaces that offer volumes of open space. I find the echoes of cloppity-clopping of feet on marble surfaces and reverently hushed voices annoying. This seems an American thing, where scale of space and purpose are out of synch. Visiting Europe, or older sections of large cities anywhere, I find the ratio of space to purpose in better proportion. Less pretence, more utilization and intimacy – and less hallowed shrine to the gods of capitalism, perhaps?

I once expanded operations from a shared purpose three car garage to a facility of over 4,500s.f. – thinking more was better. But, what I found was a sense of inefficiency. A friend once commented that space had a tendency to fill itself. He was right. It’s like a lifeform with an insatiable appetite for “stuff”, leading to a need for more space. It was amazing how much junk became “necessary”.

In 2019, I down-sized everything by eliminating redundant accumulated equipment (donated to a Maker Center), and clearing/recycling “stuff.” The process was liberating.

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