The week of PLDC in Rome…28-31st October
PLDC 28th – 31st October 2015
Rather than doing a day by day account I will do a subject account so I can give you a general feedback of my experiences and appreciations of the various events throughout the convention. As many events and presentations are held in parallel I obviously had to make a choice, hence my report is an individual and subjective personal review rather than a comprehensive and complete summary of all the happenings and events.
The excursions – House of Augusto and Livia/ Termes di Diocleziano – ancient Rome
Prior to the official start of the convention there were several excursions organised and I was torn between the Sistine Chapel and the visit of the newly renovated Houses of Augusto and Livia in ancient Rome followed with a visit to de Termes di Diocleziano that included a network buffet dinner. I chose for the latter with the plan to do the Sistine Chapel at a second round; however that plan backfired due to over commitment, but nevertheless I fully enjoyed my choice of the day, despite the initial rain. The houses of the emperors Augusto and Livia had been renovated (covered with a roof for protection) and provided with a well-researched lighting. It is quite imposing to see these century old building footprints that reveal bits and pieces of how they lived at the time. More impressive is the thought that all murals and interior work would have been done at the time with limited daylight and candle light as source. Viewing it all now in bright (but well-controlled) LED lighting is quite a contrast but nevertheless awe-inspiring. The Termes were even more amazing…as part of the reconstitution of these old baths, the project team put together an animated reproduction on how it would have been looking like way back in the Roman days…the new lighting beautifully shows of the stone structures and footprints of where the baths used to be…The buffer dinner in the old cloister courtyard surrounded by ancient roman sculptures as a fitting end to the tour that was gracefully sponsored by Linea Light.
Key note speakers
The format of the convention revolves around keynote speakers that start of each half day session with a short key note speech traditionally a view on lighting from a non-lighting designers perspective. Keynote speakers in the past have been architects, artists, innovators and researchers, government or other authority representatives providing their professional and motivational view on what lighting means to them. It has provided some memorable experiences and this year was no different and I made a point of attending all of them. The first day key notes were kicked off by Dr Arnold Nesselrath, a professor with lots of historic and art and archaeological experience followed in the afternoon by architect Riccardo Marini, both providing us with interesting outsiders looks on the role of lighting in art and architecture. One of the eye-catching key notes came on day 2 from Klaus Obermaier, renowned visual and media artist. His experience in multi media productions was a stimulating look at the world of lighting from an artist point of view. His body stunning body movement projections were truly amazing…very inspirational. Key note speakers Daniel Latorre, a digital media and community expert, and Italian architect Michele Mole rounded up the convention on day 3…it was a good selection of speakers. The time-lapse photo’s from the room filling itself with the audience is self explanatory…
It is impossible to go through all the many presentations in the 4 main categories presented to us; lighting application research, lighting design case studies, light and culture and professional practice issues. Each of the categories had interesting speakers and interesting subjects. As always there were good subjects with bad speakers and less relevant content presentations from good speakers…the age old dilemma for every organiser. But overall it was a good program. By far the most intriguing and fascinating presentation was the sound of colours by Neil Harbisson, to my knowledge the world’s first official cyborg with his implanted third eye antenna that senses colour and transfers these by means of vibrations to is brains. The implanted blue-tooth and internet connection in his head only adds to the imagination. Having been born totally blind he found a connection through sound and music to “materialise” colours in his life. I can only encourage anyone who is not aware of his exploits to google him. There is a YouTube TED-Talk that contains much of what he presented at the convention. Anne Bureaux’s presentation about life (and lighting) on Mars provide some much needed comic relief and while presentations by “routiniers” like Paul Traynor, Tapio Rosenius and Roger Narboni provided good, solid and interesting information, one can reflect that perhaps in the next PLDC they could leave the floor to some new generation speakers. Interesting talks were also provided by typically Rome and Italy related local subjects like the lighting of Da Vinci’s Last Supper, the renovation of the Houses of Augusto and Livia and the planned lighting upgrade for the Colosseum. All in all a lot to take in and take home…
The sponsors of the event are all given a space to promote their latest products and interact with the tsunami of lighting designers that are all congregated together…the exhibitor venue was also the ideal location to catch up with friends have a coffee and meet during the lunch breaks. Many had new products to show, underlining the importance of the event.
A very interesting and successful part of the convention were the experience rooms. A variety of subjects were demonstrated in these rooms from colour therapy, daylight studies including a bit of lighting history courtesy of the Regiani museum who graciously made some of the “historical” lights available for a closer look. To allow us to take a closer look at the lights we were given perforated glasses to screen out the brightness…I certainly enjoyed the experience rooms. To be continued!
I only attended the last one on day 3 but found the discussions in which everyone could participate in a sort of round the table discussion interesting and more intimate due to the small size of the group…discussions of course also took place during lunch breaks and other “food” occasions”…
The Parties No PLDC is complete and this time around there were again parties galore. Mostly organised by the leading sponsors the choice was not easy! Parties by IGuzzini, Osram, Erco, Xicato, Flos and probably others I missed provided for the badly needed relaxation after a long day of conferencing. My favourite has to be the memorable Vespa scooter tour organised by IGuzzini on Friday; about 100 of us on scooters racing through Rome at night…it was mayhem, it was fun. Thanks to traffic assistant we all made it safely to dinner which was organised in historic Fendi House. The Xicato Haloween party afterwards had its usual quirkiness…
The Gala diner finale Not much need to be said about the traditional grand finale, the Gala diner and recognition awards night, held at the famous site of the Cinecitta film studios. The film studios have been the venue for famous movies such as Cleopatra, Romeo and Julliet, being Frederico Fellini’s preferred hunting ground. Most recently of all the latest Bond movie Spectre has been filmed in part here. The outdoor set of the TV series “Rome” provided a stunning back drop for the arrival drinks. Inside Kurt Vermeulen had turned the studio hall were more than 800 of us found a seat for diner in a magical candle lit event…memorable for sure. The party concluded with the announcement of the next PLDC: –> PLDC 2017 will be in Paris – Shift happens
See you there!