By Andrea Lillo
Whether traditional, transitional or modern, cleaner looks prevailed at the recent Dallas International Lighting Show, as consumers favor designs that are less ornate and more simple.
Other themes, such as the younger consumer and sustainability, threaded throughout the show.
Murray Feiss focuses on “great design at a great value,” said Pamela St. Martin, vice president of product marketing. Introductions included a clean linen design with an Asian feel called Stelle, in a chandelier and round pendant, and a modern look using cylindrical pearlescent glass shades called Sunset Drive. The company also expanded its Energy Star program, for which “we try to put more fashion in it,” she said. “Just because it’s energy-efficient doesn’t mean it doesn’t have to be of good design.” New collections in that program included Exposition and West Village.
For the younger consumer, Murray Feiss’ Martha Stewart line added new items such as Soho Loft and the vintage modern style of Industrial Milk.
Lite Source also has targeted the younger crowd, which Joel Kent, director of marketing, pegs at 20 to 35 years of age. “They are very tech-savvy and have very definite ideas of style, and look on everything from clothing to computers and especially living quarters,” he said.
Consumers in this demographic “are not interested in utilitarian looks,” Kent said. “They know good from bad.”
Many of Lite Source’s introductions have updated shapes and finishes to appeal to this demographic, he added. “They’re looking for something that means something to them,” Kent added. “It has to tie into something they understand, whether based on architecture or a designer,” but it has to have a fresh, updated approach. And they need special marketing to get and keep their attention, he added. Task lighting—another area the company is pushing because of this group—includes products with iPod chargers along with “funky colors and cool shapes.”
Manufacturers overall addressed the trend of backing away from too much ornamentation and cleaner designs. Kitchler introduced Abbeyville in response to wallpaper’s return to favor along with the bold paint colors people are using on their walls. With so much happening on the wall, “something has to give,” said Jeff Dross, senior product manager. And the more tailored and traditional looks of Abbeyville “look to balance the more aggressive colors and textures on the wall.”
Dross also sees some chandeliers headed to a linear shape, and “getting away from the circular fixture,” he said. Some dining tables are not a full 36 inches wide, and don’t need a huge chandelier over it, he said. The linear items can also be used over a kitchen island as well, he added.
Painted finishes are also becoming more of a focus, said Tracy Koziol, designer, Thomas Lighting, as plating finishes have become more difficult because of pricing and environmental issues. Introductions such as Ditto have a painted finish but look plated. Glass is becoming a concern as well, she added, because its glass resources in China have become unreliable due to the economy. So shades have grown in importance, especially if they are made with recyclable or sustainable materials. “The market wants cleaner, more transitional looks,” Koziol said. “If it is traditional, then it’s cleaned up, pulled back on ornamentation.”
Designer collection expansions included Brisas in Progress Lighting’s Billy Moon collection, which has elegant bamboo pattern etching and other bamboo-inspired elements. Quoizel debuted its Illuminations line with “Trading Spaces” designer Laurie Smith, a clean contemporary group of 28 pieces, as well as its Raffine line with Richard Soard.