"A general direction in which something is developing or changing"
Let's start with the two design tendencies that everyone knows about:
1. The US market seeks luminaires that have a historical connotation and design.
2. The European and Asian markets seek more modern and contemporary designs.
These two separate tendencies are in no way a design barrier. In both markets similar trends are emerging simultaneously.
With the arrival of LEDs, luminaires are getting smaller. Designers take advantage of the small size of LEDs to reduce the quantity of material needed to create a luminaire, while at the same time optimizing the design, and saving the client money.
Miniaturization and incorporation are also becoming mainstream in our industry. The trend on walkways, parks, bike-paths, and so forth, is towards more "person" orientated lighting versus the typical "car" orientated lighting of the past.
We are beginning to see that the lighting designed for people is becoming significantly different than the lighting designed for highway and road illumination. Smaller, more compact, with light that is designed for human sight, at human height, these bollards and light columns not only illuminate better, they blend in better with their environment. More and more, we are seeing lighting designed specifically to compliment park benches, lighting designed to illuminate park walkways incorporated into fences and decorative features, lighting incorporated into walls, into floors, etc.
Outdoor ambiance lighting is an emerging trend as well. Lighting designed to create a mood in a certain area. With research results that are begging to show that ambient lighting not only provides a calming effect in the observer but also increases safety and reduces vandalism, ambient lighting is very rapidly becoming a standard on most outdoor projects.
It has been theorized that the underlying wave that pushes these trends is a move towards eco-conception: a philosophy that more can be accomplished with less waste.
Combining the streamlining of shape and form with the reduction of materials and better material processing, designers are able to come up with luminaires that don't simply provide light, but increase the value, visibility, longevity, and efficiency of a project.
However, the most significant trend in the outdoor lighting industry, in our opinion, is the newfound cooperation between manufacturers, engineers, architects, landscape architects, and lighting designers. Only 20 years ago, what a city called the revitalization of an area was nothing more than a little re-paving and a new cobra-head, however now, revitalization consists of a team effort of experts with the combined knowledge to optimize the functionality of any space and turn it into a long-lasting work of art at the same time.
For the last word, we'd like you to think back to the definition of trend, "A general direction in which something is developing or changing", and think upon this:
A trend is a trend only because many people are doing something similar simultaneously. The responsibility, the honour, of defining currents trends rests in your hands, for it is by your projects, and how you execute them in this point in time, that the word trend is defined to other people in the future.