Back in March, I attended the bi-annual Light + Building fair in Frankfurt, Germany. The show’s tagline, “digital future meets hotspot for design,” accurately depicts the emphasis on both digitalization — home and building automation, security, light’s effect on health and wellbeing — as well as modern, cutting-edge decorative product. There really is no place like Europe for new and next.
While at the show, I sat in on a presentation from Professor Wolfgang Henseler, Chair of Digital Media and Master of Creative Directions at Pforzheim University Faculty of Design and Creative Managing Director at SENSORY-MINDS, a design studio for innovative technologies and smart media. He dissected and updated us on the state of smart home and building technology, specifically highlighting The Edge in Amsterdam — the world’s smartest office building.
The building knows how many parking spots are left, when the bathrooms need to be cleaned and how much energy is being used. Each worker in the building has access to a smartphone app that can direct them to an empty parking spot, check their schedules and steer them to a desk or meeting room, plus allows them to adjust the light levels and temperatures in their vicinity. There’s even an espresso machine in the building that recognizes employees’ faces and remembers how they take their coffee.
Any of these technologies could be a reality in our homes and offices in no time, and all of you will need to be prepared to understand them, sell them, install them and operate them. In this issue, we’re once again taking on the smart home to equip you with the latest product knowledge. Inspired by my trip to Light + Building, we highlight some of the most cutting-edge products for several areas in the home, including the kitchen, bathroom and living room, to give you a taste of what’s to come. Examples include a voice-lighted bathroom mirror, a smart cooktop and a 27-inch tablet that doubles as an exhaust hood for a stove.
But in our view, smart home doesn’t only encompass technology. It also includes spaces that are designed thoughtfully and efficiently with a multifunctional edge. Our Idea Board highlights just this. Then, we cap off our smart home coverage with a feature by Managing Editor Alison Martin on virtual interior design services.
Also notable in this issue, we’re profiling our 15 Lighting Showroom of the Year finalists. With a narrower field this year, the competition was the toughest it’s been in its nine-year history. Flip to page 34 to read about what makes these showrooms award-worthy, and if you’ll be at the Dallas Market in June, join us on the 20th for a reception where we announce the six winners. Congratulations once again to all the finalists — we’re already looking forward to June!