Paris is the City of Lights, but New York may claim that title temporarily as more than 17,000 architectural and commercial lighting professionals storm Manhattan for Lightfair International 2000.

The trade show and conference will be at Javits Convention Center, May 9-11. A special pre-conference program will begin May 8.

The 2000 conference features seven workshops and a program of 31 broad-based, in-depth architectural lighting seminars. Course levels range from beginner to masters, and CEU/Learning Units will be given upon association approval for American Institute of Architects, American Society of Interior Designers, and Illuminating Engineering Society of North America accreditation.

Conference highlights include "Entertainment Architecture: A Collaboration of Architecture and Lighting Design," a presentation by the award-winning team of architect David Rockwell of The Rockwell Group, New York, and Paul Gregory of Focus Lighting, New York. The two will host a visual presentation using finished projects, in-progress work, renderings and details that will examine ways to establish a successful collaboration between architects and lighting designers.

All the newest technology will be on display at the Lightfair 2000 Exhibit Hall, featuring more than 400 exhibitors in more than 1,100 booths.

Mobile phone giant Nokia recently opened its prototype store in Odense, Denmark. The retailer brought in Danish lighting company Martin Professional to design and implement a showy new concept, including lighting, sound and smoke effects.

When a customer enters the store, a high-tech presentation starts. Ambient lighting dims, sound effects fill the room and moving light effects are projected onto the walls and floor. Products themselves and point of purchase displays are illuminated with complementary colors and patterns, and Jem haze machines emit a mood-creating, non-irritating smoke screen.

After hours, the store remains active. Sensors register activity outside the store, such as window shoppers peering inside. If movement is detected, a short presentation program automatically springs to life. Lights come on, color and effects focus on specific products, and the shop's three LCD screens turn toward the potential customer.

The Nokia store lighting concept is also used at the Berlin shop, and the retailer plans to install the program in other European locations.

Martin Professional will be exhibiting its products at Lightfair International 2000 this month.