A very special gala awards ceremony celebrating the very best in global lighting design and technology brought a successful end to three days of business networking and knowledge sharing at the Light Middle East 2018 exhibition in Dubai.
The 13th edition of the region’s dedicated trade show for the lighting design and technology industry – featuring 333 exhibitors from 30 countries – drew 5,469 visitors from 74 countries.
The nine per cent year-on-year growth in exhibition space cemented the three-day event’s position as the annual must-attend gathering for the international lighting design community.
This was further underlined by the presence of more than 600 industry professionals at the sixth Light Middle East Awards, which took place at the Hilton Al Habtoor City on 25 September. A shortlist of 53 finalists contested seven project and six product categories, selected from more than 230 submissions.
Among the big winners was The Constellation – The Founder’s Memorial Abu Dhabi (right), which took home two gongs: the Exterior & Public Lighting Project of the Year, and the Innovative Lighting Project of the Year.
Dubai-based dpa lighting consultants was assigned to illuminate The Constellation, a monumental public artwork that forms the centrepiece of The Founder’s Memorial in Abu Dhabi, a permanent national tribute to the UAE’s founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
The artwork was designed by artist Ralph Helmick, with whom dpa collaborated closely with at both his studio in Boston and during extensive lighting trials conducted in Abu Dhabi.
Other big winners on the night were La Perle by Dragone (left), the Middle East’s first resident show in Dubai, which won the Entertainment and Leisure Lighting Project of the year; and design studio Delta Lighting, which took home two awards for work on Dubai’s Bvlgari Yacht Club (the Restaurant & Bar Lighting Project of the Year) and the Bvlgari Hotel (the Hotel Lighting Project of the Year).
The Light Middle East Awards provided a fitting finale to Light Middle East 2018, where the world’s leading lighting manufacturers and local start-ups alike showcased their wares to thousands of trade buyers and professionals from throughout the wider region. The full list of award winners is here.
On the show floor
Among the headline names on the show floor that need no introduction were the likes of Cinmar Lighting Systems, Decolight, Sylvania, Abensal, Venuetech, Martin Professional, Zoomlux and Zumtobel, while EZ Shade was a debut exhibitor launching its UAE-made light bulb shades made from 100 percent recycled material.
EZ Shade’s CEO and Founder Brian Wholehan, said the uniqueness of EZ Shade (right) is due to a patented customisable bracket that easily clips on to any bare light bulb fixture, while the shades, which come in varying sizes and colours, attach to the bracket.
“Everything is invented and made here in the UAE, and we’re looking to meet developers, designers, construction companies, contractors, and retailers at Light Middle East to present EZ Shade as an easy option to cover lights in residential or commercial developments,” said Wholehan, adding the shades retail from AED50 a piece.
“We’ve sold more than 1,500 in less than a year since we launched, and we want to take that to the next level. Outside of the UAE, we’ve already exported to Mexico, Morocco, and Egypt. We’ve had a number of interested people at Light Middle East 2018, including from Africa, who love the design and easy installation of EZ Shade.”
Light Middle East also featured for the first time in 2018 a Smart Pavilion, where leading brands featured their latest technologies in smart lighting, internet of things, lighting controls, and building automation.
German company Hager Group was a debut exhibitor at the dedicated pavilion, putting the spotlight on its smart home and building automation systems.
Juana Ashi, Solution Manager for Unit Cable Management at Hager in the Middle East, was on hand to show the products: “Our touch panels enable users to control everything in their homes, from AC, audio, lights, dimming, curtains and other IoT connected home devices, either from the touch panel or their mobile phones.
“We’re at Light Middle East 2018 to show our new solutions to system integrators, developers, as well as end-users – owners of villas and palaces. We’ve had a lot of visitors and meetings at our stand and are happy to be here,” said Ashi.
Conference and competition
Among the many features returning to Light Middle East 2018 was THINKLIGHT – a three-day conference focusing on the key areas of lighting, namely architecture, interior, and landscape design.
Elisa Rodriguez, Studio Leader at architecture and design firm Rockwell Group, was among the 15 speakers. She delivered a presentation on the ‘Illuminati of Trends’, discussing how designers are accommodating the latest trends in their design concepts.
Rodriguez highlighted the soon-to-open Siddhartha Lounge in Muscat Oman, where Rockwell Group was tasked alongside dpa to design the interiors and lighting of the rooftop bar.
“The Siddharta Lounge is an example of storytelling in design, and when we first travelled to Muscat, we were thrilled by the mountains and the mystery behind them,” said Rodriguez. “We created a story about the tales in the mountains and how through the oral tradition, those fairy tales were spread throughout the city of Muscat. This gave us a starting point to design the different spaces for the Siddhartha Lounge that will hopefully be ready at the beginning of next year.”
Light Middle East has always been a happy hunting ground for business partnerships as well as an incubator of new trends that are shaping the future the regional architectural lighting design landscape.
Light Middle East also featured the third edition of Light.ication – a student lighting design competition where five university teams conceptualised and installed their own artistic lighting schemes using exhibitor products and with the help of local design studios as mentors.
For the first time, judges awarded a dead-heat: Prince Sultan University and Zayed University were named the overall winners in an inspiring competition that also featured teams from American University in Dubai, Heriot-Watt University, and Manipal University.
Among the more than 5,400 visitors to the three-day event in 2018 was Martin Valentine, Global Design Director at Ligman, a UK based lighting design studio. A former lighting consultant at Abu Dhabi Municipality, Valentine still likes to be a regular visitor to Light Middle East.
“Having travelled a lot in the last year or so in my role, I’ve found the Middle East lighting market is not much different from the rest of the world,” he said. “It’s not behind or ahead; it’s exactly aligned with what’s being seen in Europe, the USA, South East Asia and Australia. The technology is here, the brands are here, the control side of things are the same. It’s just as fluid as what I’ve seen anywhere in the world.”
Ahmed Pauwels, CEO of Messe Frankfurt Middle East, said: “Light Middle East continues to showcase all aspects of light that impacts our everyday lives, from smart lighting and outdoor concepts to beautiful decorative and indoor technical lights – from the world’s most well-known brands, right through to start-ups looking to make their mark in the Middle East and global marketplace.
“The show combines many different elements that create a highly engaging and interactive platform for the entire lighting design and technology community. While business generation is hugely important, equally vital is the knowledge shared and ideas generated that make the Middle East such an exciting region to work in.”
The 14th edition of Light Middle East will return in September 2019. More information about the 2018 show is here.