Seeing is believing, and nothing can beat a good lighting showroom

Well here’s a surprise. Spending a good part of the day sat in a car, train, bus or tube isn’t the best use of our time, and is it even necessary? And guess what . . . many of us are working from home without the need for a soul destroying, life-sucking COMMUTE. We’re causing less pollution, have a happier work life balance -and only need to worry about what we wear on our top half.
(editor note: is this relevant to anything?)

Yes! Because I think that there’s a paradigm shift coming in how we do things. You have to ask yourself how many companies will now, with the environmental and health issues that we’re facing, be willing to make the massive investment required to exhibit at fairs such as Frankfurt and Milan, with their enormous carbon footprint and distinct lack of social distancing.

But if not Frankfurt, then what? How do we, as an industry, get to present – and see – the golden goods of what’s on offer. Will it be those companies with a decent showroom facility will benefit the most? How will we organise ourselves to be able to physically handle and se deomsontrations of products and technology?

In these podcasts we interview some of the country’s best loved manufacturers to see just how they service this important aspect of the lighting design process. Because, as we all know, you simply can’t beat seeing the product in the flesh, to feel its weight, to see the light quality and performance.

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In the mix we have Ian Stanton; sales and marketing director from Italian manufacturer iGuzzini, who used to show their wares in London at the Business Design Centre, until moving everything to their Guildford offices when they were built a few years ago. Interestingly they also have a mobile showroom space (anyone who has been to one of the Uk lighting fairs would have seen it) which is easily adaptable to meet the customers needs as it travels around the country.

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Chris Tiernan managing director at ERCO, whose combined office and showroom space is based in central London and has always been something of a lighting landmark since its inception. Used sometimes for events with the SLL, ILE and recently (Before this awful pandemic) for a special screening of the documentary film “Frank Lloyd Wright, the space was renovated in the 90’s and is one of the only worldwide ERCO showroom’s that doesn’t strictly follow the stringent guidelines, with its use of Verner Pantone elements.

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Michael Wilson managing director at Bega, takes a different approach to show their product offering, which they do through their distributors. Based in Dorking for the last 70 years their route to enlightenment (See what I did there)  is to get their partners to build it into their show space themselves, or if they are not happy to do that, supply a cabinet for them that show the products in the best manner.

We also spoke to a new Bega partner, David Village Lighting, in Sheffield: Having Bega products physically on display in our showroom is important for us when working on a project. When a client is able to see and handle the actual products, they can appreciate the craftsmanship and quality of the product and understand the reasons for the price difference between the Bega fittings and a cheaper alternative product. We’re also able to demonstrate how the light will work insitu and the effect a light will have which is highly beneficial when specifying architectural lighting. 

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So – what do we think?

In our view here at The Light Review, a good showroom is a key element to being able to specify the manufacturers product and, as our contributors point out, it also says a great deal more about the company, not only its standing in the industry but as a vessel to really explore what it has to offer in the flesh. In these days of Covid and the climate crisis an accessible showroom is becoming an ever more important tool for manufacturer and designer alike.

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