Light Building 2018: Relevant Trends, Market Developments and Novel Lighting Technologies

Light Building 2018 is over! From 18 to 23 March over 2,700 exhibitors showcased their innovative products in the fields of lighting, electrical engineering as well as home and building automation. As always, our team visited the world leading trade fair for lighting in Frankfurt, Germany to learn about the latest trends and technologies and to update our network on the ‘revival of 3D printed optics’ for lighting applications. Here’s what we’ve got from it!

Picture of new shapes illustrating design freedom with flexible lighting solutions

The arrival of new shapes illustrates design freedom with flexible lighting solutions.

2018 Lighting Trends and Technologies

We are delighted to share some remarkable developments that we have noted at the show, and are expected to be influential for the future of lighting design and development, especially in relation to our 3D printed optics solutions:

1_ New Geometries

Upon the arrival of flexible and programmable LED lighting solutions (tunable white / RGB), new geometries in fixture design start to appear. This years’ fair brought a lot of innovative shapes, with stunning features. Even though they are mostly circular for the moment, we expect more and different shapes, sizes and colors to come, driven by designer creativity and pulled by market demand.

2_Parametric Design

Parametric design is a paradigm in design where the relationship between light and elements (or: materials) is used to manipulate and inform the design of complex geometries and structures. It is affecting both fixture and optics design, from a functional and aesthetical view, and will be mostly found in combination with the next trend: integrated lighting systems.

Picture of Philips Lighting (Signify) booth at Light Building 2018 showing integrated lighting solutions

The fusion of light and materials in integrated lighting solutions and parametric design are an interesting future direction.

3_Integrated Lighting

Integrated lighting (or ’embedded lighting’) relates to lighting solutions that are seamlessly integrated into walls, floors, stairs and ceilings. From a visual perspective, they merge with the materials as used in the built environment: wood, concrete, stone, textiles and carpets.

Often, integrated lighting solutions are available in large format set-ups, what we very much like, as Luximprint users can take benefit from the advances in our large-format sheets solutions offering: printed diffusers, Optographix, lens sheets, textured surfaces, among others.


After almost a decade of growing LED chip sizes – in order to achieve a maximum light output – todays’ chipmakers increasingly succeed to make smaller chips with higher output (lumen/watt) and an even greater uniformity and color stability over time. Even smaller mechanical, optical and electronic products and devices open routes to minimalistic design of ‘fixtures’, and integrate them in any kind of material!

In addition, new types of light sources are around the corner, such as printed light, flexible and organic sources, among others. Resulting from that, we note a lot of tiny (most reflector based) light fixtures, both as individual set-ups or in array, and planar lighting solutions of any kind.

Picture of OLED lighting at Light Building 2018

Organic LEDs and other types of planar lighting offer new design freedom for lighting design and application.

5_Declining Project Quantities / Project Customization

Not seen at the show, but frequently heard when we spoke is the on-going trend of declining volumes (many of the same) to small project quantities of systems meeting the exact project requirements (high diversity). Customization is key!

We see the larger corporations struggle with declining volumes, what requires a totally different mindset in the organization of operational processes. And that’s for a reason! No surprise to see the settled ‘lighting giants’ splitting up companies to keep pace with the speed of projects!

And yes, of course, all we have seen is expected to be energy saving, smart in control (Mobile Apps and Smart Switches) and connected (IoT, Bluetooth and Li-Fi) and long-lasting… but nothing new, isn’t it?

Optics Prototyping for Light Building

We had the honor to contribute to various show concepts this edition, unfortunately without being able to mention specific names, and will continue to support our loyal users on their design and development work in the time to come! The level of confidentiality required unfortunately doesn’t allow us to publish them at this point, but together with our users, we have celebrated the successes on site!

Picture of booth at Light Building 2018 providing fresh Optographix inspiration

As you will note, our team has been looking to the novelties on display from a completely different perspective. From the edge of 3D printed optical plastics, we’re closely watching any of the above the developments to optimize our additive optics fabrication offering for our users. We’re proud to own one of the world’s ground-breaking prototyping services for illumination optics, that also will significantly impact the future of lighting design and fabrication.

Light Building 2018 Fair Impressions

For those who missed the show or had to stay home, here’s a quick recap of the show by Messe Frankfurt:

Light Building 2020 – What’s Next?

To be honest, we missed the ‘ground-breaking’ inventions we’ve been looking for at the 2018 show, but we very much value the innovation and digitization of products and concepts we’ve seen on site. It’s amazing to learn at what pace the market evolves, and how the industry is finally shifting towards a more user-centered approach (rather than just selling catalog items…)

The next product development cycles (for Light Building 2020) has begun, and we’re looking very much forward to shorten it and let our users experience the flexibility of our additive manufacturing process for 3D printed illumination optics!