Paola Antonelli from Milan

From Milan 2012, Dezeen presented an intriguing interview with Paola Antonelli, MoMA curator for design.

“…any time you see a new technology, there is a moment of drunkenness…you see many delightful monsters; but then there is progressively a stratification of quality; and people, designers, makers, develop their own critical tools that are better and better…”

“…the idea that you can make things yourself; the idea that you can bring the production, manufacturing tools closer to the final user; makes it so you can produce what you need when you need it, perhaps reusing materials that are available…”

Paola’s points are very savvy and highly relevant to the current state of the lighting industry.   For me, this is an elegant summary to describe the recent past, the current state of affairs, and the future for the lighting business.

Paola is discussing two primary advances happening now that will impact the future of design professions:  3D printing for making physical objects; and the trend for “hacking” electronics, using key pre-designed technology pieces such as the Arduino system, to create “functional objects.”

Consider the impact that standardized LED modules will have on the industry, and the continuing drop in the price of 3D printers.  What will be the impact on lighting designers?  Will lighting designers be able to “hack” together fixtures and perhaps more importantly, experiment with innovative, highly customized control systems?