“Lighter” perspective on The Special Event

The Special Event (TSE) in Chicago did not fail to impress.  I was lucky enough to begin the week attending ISES meetings, retreats, and sessions before the convention kicked off.  What I found most inspiring was the passion ISES members have.  We had the pleasure of getting to know several chapters throughout the Midwest and beyond – some are struggling and others thriving.  This opened up a great dialog amongst chapters and ISES leaders creating a wonderful collaboration to inspire all of us.  I know for a fact the ISES Cleveland chapter came out with exciting programming ideas for next year.  You can read more about ISES Cleveland’s TSE experiences here
Lighting isn’t a large part of the exhibit floor or educational sessions at TSE (we go to LDI to get the latest on gear).  I use the show floor for my own research.  I love seeing what inspires decorators, florists, designers, and event planners.  When we work with these pros together, the end result is always impressive.  Therefore, it is important for me to be on the same wavelength.  Most often, just overhearing their comments about any sort of product lends perspective.   Although, I must admit, a roll of the eyes can be even more telling. 
Gaining this understanding is essential to ensure our clients get the very best lighting design for their event.  I have heard the following questions countless times over the years when beginning the design process for events: “Where you at The Special Event?”  “Did you see __________   (fill in the blank with a specific product or element from one of the networking gatherings or celebrations)?”  “It’s kind of like that, but here’s what I’m thinking…”  Clearly, if the answer is “no” to either of the first two questions, I would be holding up the process.  Having the ability to keep the creative ball rolling partially comes from what we learn at TSE and is critical for the design process.   Also, having the ability to pitch ideas outside our area of expertise makes us more valuable to the entire team we are working with. 
As with any convention, the networking is possibly the most valuable.  Meeting creative minds from all over the world is a great inspiration.  Building these relationships and solidifying existing relationships helps build a wonderful source of stimulating ideas for the future.  I am excited to translate all I soaked in at TSE into our upcoming events!     ~Maureen E. Patterson, Lead Designer Solus Lighting LTD

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