The FutureDesignDays Nomad LightNow event entails the start of a new era for FutureDesignDays. For many years and for many people, FutureDesignDays has been an annual event. An event you would come to once every year, and have a great and inspiring time. Those times are gone. We have a new quest now. We have stopped asking people to come to us, turned ourselves inside out, and decided to go and visit different people and different places. We decided to take become nomads.

Moving from Stockholm International Fairs to the Oscar Theatre in Stockholm might not seem like the biggest step, but for FutureDesignDays it was a huge leap. It meant taking on new concepts, exploring different ways of carrying them out, and starting once more to experiment with various meeting formats to create the best possible events. LightNow was the first of these events.

FutureDesignDays Nomad LightNow was a one-day event with only a single series of speakers, Nevertheless, they inspired us with their talks on different aspects of light, ¬ranging from the design of lamps to the way that light and darkness have an impact on our everyday lives.

These very interesting speakers – Vesa Honkonen (architect), Magnus Wästberg (lamp manufacturer), Jan Ejhed (lighting professor) – and moderator Marcus Fairs (design journalist) gave us a broad view of trends in lighting, their current work with regard to light, and shared their experiences with us. Designers James Irvine, Alexander Lervik, and Marnick Smessaert (from Dark) joined in the subsequent panel debate, adding both heat and light to the discussion.

As the day faded into night, we all headed for the Design Night party at the Nordic Light Hotel. These parties are always much enjoyed, and this year’s bash was no exception. As always, the evening meant a lively crowd, lots of discussions and bags of fun!

As we all know, light itself is a fantastic phenomenon to work with. Not only can it affect our bodies, it can also affect our minds. Although a lot of hours are devoted to lighting nowadays, we are still only beginning to explore its possibilities in our homes, shops, and on larger public scenes. Similarly, we have only started to experiment with LEDs, and have not yet reached the critical point where the technology can replace its predecessors. It is, however, making strong advances and will surely play an important role in the near future.

It goes without saying that sustainability also gave rise to discussions. Opinions on just what designers should and should not focus on were fiercely divided. Some of the panel wanted to make beautiful objects and did not feel the need to educate the manufacturers. Some felt they had to take responsibility and work towards sustainability. Others held a mixture of views. We say that sustainability is the way to go, but that one way of thinking does not necessarily exclude the other. It might also be worth remembering that modernity need not always make the traditional out-of-date. After all, who is not susceptible to the special ambience created by candlelight?

In conclusion, we feel that the FutureDesignDays Nomad event LightNow more than proved to everyone who attended the event (including, of course, ourselves) that the new-format FutureDesignDays has embarked on a new, exciting and dynamic journey. So let there be light!


VESA HONKONEN, FINLAND. Architect and lighting designer in projects in which the combination of architecture and lighting design are beyond question.

JAMES IRVINE, UK / ITALY. Famous industrial designer with commissions from many top flight companies – Canon, B&B Italia, Magis, and Whirlpool.

MAGNUS WÄSTBERG, SWEDEN. Founder of Wästberg. Has a long ­experience from lighting design from his work in the family company Vidilux.

JAN EJHED, SWEDEN. Architect, lighting designer and professor of lighting. Head of the Light Laboratory at the Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden.

MARCUS FAIRS, UK. Journalist and author who runs the architecture and design blog Dezeen.

MARNICK SMESSAERT, BELGIUM. Founder of Dark, one of the most innovative trendsetters on the European lighting scene.

ALEXANDER LERVIK, SWEDEN. Designer, highly topical with his “Enlightenment” show, which explores the borderland between light and dark .


13.00 – 13.15 Part 1: Introduction by moderator Marcus Fairs

13.15 – 14.15 VESA HONKONEN: “Whispers from Darkness, Traces from Emptiness”

14.15 – 14.20 Legstretch

14.20 – 15.00 JAMES IRVINE AND MAGNUS WÄSTBERG: “Lighting for Neanderthal Man”

15.00 – 15.30 Coffee break

15.30 – 15.45 Part 2: Introduction by moderator Marcus Fairs

15.45 – 16.25 PROFESSOR JAN EJHED: “Light makes the Difference”

16.25 – 16.35 Wrap up by moderator Marcus Fairs

16.35 – 16.40 Legstretch

16.40 – 17.35 Panel debate: Vesa Honkonen, James Irvine, Magnus Wästberg, Jan Ejhed, Alexander Lervik, Marnick Smessaert

17.35 – 17.45 Final wrap up by moderator Marcus Fairs

18.00 – Nordic Light Hotel – Food, drink, mingle and music