For the second instalment of our Corona Interview Series, in which we invite industry figures to discuss some of the effects which Covid-19 has inflicted on professional activities, we welcome the founders of Light Collective and Women In Lighting: Sharon Stammers and Martin Lupton.
How critical would you assess your current situation?
There is a saying in the UK that when you become unbalanced its like ‘having the rug pulled out from under your feet’. The last few weeks have felt like this. We have gone from having a predicted good year in terms of income to massive concern that our company may not make it through. We are planning how we can lower our overheads enough to survive.
How has the current crisis affected workload?
We knew before Light + Building got cancelled that our projected workload was going to suffer in light of the Covid-19 crisis. We had been working on many different events around the world, stand designs for shows and growing the Women In Lighting project. Everything that was in planning stages for 2020 has been cancelled or if not already, probably will be. However, we pride ourselves on our creativity and will approach life from our unique and slightly strange Light Collective way and see what comes next or instead of our planned year.
Are you able to take advantage of any governmental aid?
None that we are yet aware of.
How long do you expect the crisis to last?
We think it’s unrealistic to be sharing revised dates for events in the Autumn. Even if we can gather together again, the world will and should be a different place. We don’t believe that everything will and should return to business as normal.
With entire countries under lockdown, and an increase in the prevalence of online meetings, will we see a permanent shift in our attitude towards business travel?
We have been lucky enough to travel to many places and work with many designers and manufactures around the world which we always thought of as a massive privilege. At the same time, we have spent over 10 years working from our homes and achieved great things from our living rooms using the technology available. Everyone should review how they work in the future.
With most manufactures opting to present products online after the cancellation of Light + Building, will there still be a place for trade shows in the post corona future?
Given that trade shows cost manufacturers huge sums of money and that they will all be fighting to save their businesses, it seems hard to believe that trade shows can be economically viable or ethically right in the near future.
We’ve seen a decrease in emissions by as much as 25% in some areas in the last few weeks – a positive side effect of the crisis. How can the lighting industry contribute to a permanent reduction in emissions in the future?
By being responsible about our actions but also by breaking new ground with inventive approaches towards creating a circular economy.
Do you have anything else to add?
We realise how much we value the connection we have with all the people in the lighting industry and denied the chance to see them, miss them greatly. We hope everyone stays well and positive at this time.
Sharon and Martin, we appreciate you taking the time to discuss your situation with us and wish you the best of health during this period!