PLDC 2019, for better communication between specialists and lighting designers

PLDC 2019, for better communication between specialists and lighting designers

Rotterdam, a city surrounded by water, tends bridges to link some areas and others, as established among those attending this congress

By Alfonso Tejedor

Made from October 23 to 26, in Rotterdam, Holland, the PLDC 2019 has marked my presentation as head of Illinet in Spain in a great event.Web readers had possibly read me before for various interviews and chronicles, or my contributions with background articles such as the importance of adolescent health.Even so, nothing I had lived so far had the importance or transcendence of the PLDC.

To enter first -time eyes in a congress of lighting professionals as large as the PLDC, in its eighth edition, is quite impressive.A mixture of finding a tower of Babel or a ticket to a kind of crazy house where each one has their mantra.

With such a tight agenda in which you know in advance that you will miss conferences that could mark you for a long time, you can only entrust yourself to intuition, title and speaker to wish to have chosen well.

From half past eight in the morning, the days in the PLDC start with a keynote conference (or Keynote) and from there the troubled attendees travel the huge ship drawing diagonals to reach the conferences, which follow each other every 45 minutes.

One would think that the familiar Spanish -speaking community present at the event would not stop being going or coming, as university students during exams.Nothing could be further from the truth.

More than a thousand people circulating in all directions, where every minute that happens you know that it takes you away from a good seat in the presentation you have chosen makes you look at your goal without paying too much attention to what happens around you.

The fact is that if a professional (or aspiring) illuminator came to the PLDC with the intention of adopting all the advice of good practices, the trends or the environmental sensibilities that each master class proposes, it would probably end up running in circles to pulling strands of hair,de -organized by the impossibility of paying attention to all.

Do not misunderstand me.There are many ideas, and many very good.And almost all with great theoretical and practical foundation behind.But each one has reached those conclusions walking their own path.

And that is, from my point of view, the main conclusion that I took from the days of intense information: you really have to ignore all those advice and find your own voice, or more properly expressed, shed your own light on the projects.

Maybe, on the way to your own seal, towards your own identity as an illuminator, you can underpin your ideas about models and projects that other colleagues shared.But the best advice that someone who has been there can give and heard so much is that you start an introspection path to know what you want to do, what do you like and how you want to get there.The rest will follow.

That said, I want to share some notorious conferences that have remained in my mind, and I doubt that I forget in the rest of my life.Exactly, just as there are some that I consider that they only served for time to pass, there are others that I am glad to have been present “live” to live them with intensity.

PLDC 2019, por una mejor comunicación entre especialistas y diseñadores de iluminación

Conferences with own light.

I have selected four conferences on behalf of everything that was discussed during those days that can give an idea of the depth and diversity of the topics discussed.

Janet Echelman


It is not just that his work contains a balanced alchemy between crafts and technology.It was the wonderfully humble journey with which we toured its evolution, from a disoriented and ruined artist to the mega-star in which it has become.

His story of how his “pulsatile” sculptures attract citizens who embellish themselves to the organic movement of an inorganic mesh suspended in the air was emotional, a palpable test that art can modify the life of people.

Here you will find a TED talk where Janet establishes his speech using a similar methodology (although abbreviated with respect to his PLDC paper).

Jan Rotmans

Another of this year's PLDC milestones was the Dutch Conference Jan Rotmans.

A paladin of sustainability that impacted the audience not only for the forcefulness of its arguments and the strength of its expression, but because the relationship of the actions that the city of Rotterdam (its hometown) is giving to reverse pollution andProject to the future were a real demonstration of "facts" against "words", something that so commonly plague the discourse of sustainable ecology.

You can see an adaptation of the Rotmanns conference adapted to the university here.You can see a document from the city of Rotterdam on its commitment to sustainability here and the city's website on the sustainability plan.

I have selected a TED conference five years ago that can give a good idea of the power of Jan Rotmans' ideas:

Marc Engenhart

What is and what is not intelligent?Marc Engenhart (artist, musician, designer) built an interesting speech about what we understand by "intelligence" when we talk about artificial intelligence.

A role that we bend and that little by little unfolds the fibers itself again, is it intelligent? ... something executed by a machine through an algorithm is it really intelligent?

Its conclusion is that only human intervention, the purpose, the definition of the objective, is what introduces the concept of intelligence.The rest is mechanical, more or less advanced.

What would happen if the light could recognize our mood and enhance or compensate for it?

I have looked for something that could present Marc Engenhart's ideas and finally I have decided on this performance, in which he did the scenery, based on holding thousands of wrinkled leaves and building a “waterfall”.

In his words, of course he could have solved electronically, but he opted for a material solution, tangible and transmitted an atmosphere that would complement the music that was going to be interpreted.

Jennifer Tomkins

The role of color in a saturated world and how it can modify behaviors (common message in various presentations) was the proposal of this English that before devoting to lighting was a corporate advertising directive.

Your reflection is based on the question, just because the arrival of the LED has given us a power to illuminate almost without limit, we must use it?

When everything is illuminated, nothing is illuminated.In the same way as when everyone shouts, nobody listens.

Those screens on facades, shop windows and windows steal our vision of the city forcing us to live permanently dazzled.

The contrast, the depth ... the context, in short, disappears, leaving us incommunicado.


In a pavilion as large as the one reserved for the PLDC in the Rotterdam Ahoy (which is also used for concerts and where the 2020 Eurovision Festival will be held) there is a place for much more than conferences and exhibitors.

In unexpected places you suddenly found walls that lodged mini-projects of light that entertained the tired assistant giving him a few minutes of relaxing voyeurism, peeking the small holes to discover which micro-site hid each one (work of students of the University and Sciences and SciencesApplied from Detmold).

También había salas de experiencias, como la dedicada a la Sección áurea, o secuencia de Fibonacci y cómo su presencia en la naturaleza y en el arte han influido en nuestra percepción de la proporción.

Otra sala de experiencias interesante fue la de La cámara oscura (The Dark Art) donde la deprivación de luz a través de sucesivas salas te permitía ver cosas que anteriormente te habían pasado desapercibidas.

Por último, la sala NatürLicht (luz natural) una “cueva” de pantallas que iba simulando diferentes entornos de luz natural y que resultaba francamente relajante.

Mención aparte merece el muro de Women in Lighting, iniciativa destinada a aumentar la visibilidad de las mujeres diseñadoras de iluminación, que constituyen (al menos) el 50% de los profesionales.On the wall you could leave messages of solidarity and mood, thoughts, desires, etc..(The photograph was taken the second day of Congress.At the end of the appointment the wall would barely be visible behind the support messages).


Rotterdam is a city surrounded by water, which in order to flourish has had to build bridges between some areas and others.

Similarly, the profession of lighting designer is connected with so many different disciplines, requires collaborating with so many professionals who contribute their unique and personal perspective, that it is necessary.

I think it is no accident that three of the four conferences that I have highlighted come from people who are not lighting designers, even if they work with the light, and the fourth contribution their advertising perspective to explain the reality.

They are fresh, different points of view, that leave space for thought, beyond the recipe for the success that so many speakers offer as soon as they give them a tribune and an audience.

As people we spend our life fighting to be who we want to be, with our advances and setbacks.As professionals, also, we discuss ourselves between experimentation and knowledge, looking for our own light, trying to leave our brand in the universe.

The PLDC serves as a gigantic space for reflection to clarify our ideas, modify our convictions and question our choices, in the perennial search of being better.

At least I have lived it and so I tried to convey it.

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