The curtains came down on Light Middle East 2014 with a glittering awards ceremony in what was a fitting finale to the most successful edition ever of the region’s dedicated lighting industry showcase.
The 9th edition of Light Middle East wrapped up with a 29 per cent year-on-year increase in exhibitors - 326 from 27 countries in 2014 - duly matched by an impressive 26 per cent increase in visitors - 6,300 from more than 65 countries.
The growth of the three-day event, which took place from 3-5 November 2014 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, is indicative of an industry that is making massive strides in the Middle East.
That is further underlined by the rousing response to Light Middle East’s three special features, the Future Zone, the Light Middle East Conference, and the Light Middle East Awards.
In only its second year, the Future Zone - a dedicated section of innovative technology shaping the future of the industry - has tripled in size, with more than 30 of the world’s leading manufacturers introducing their latest products for the first time in the Middle East.
Among these were regular global heavyweights such as Osram, LG, Linea Light, acdc, and Trilux, while newcomers included Martin by Harman, Targetti, Artemide, Holophane, XAL, Regiolux, and Rovasi.
Dario Fumagalli, CEO of Italian manufacturer Artemide, said, although the company was exhibiting at Light Middle East for the first time, he was surprised to see the big response to its brand and products.
“It’s been a real pleasure to see that so many people are aware of Artemide in the Middle East, not only designers and consultants but, end-users and consumers as well,” said Fumagalli.
“We are well-known in Europe, having been in the market for more than 50 years, but there is a lot of interest in what we are showcasing at Light Middle East. There’s plenty of development going on in the region now, and this is a very exciting time for the lighting industry.
Added Fumagalli; “Lighting can really change how good architectural solutions are which is hugely important for the development of regional construction sector and we see our participation at Light Middle East as an important part of this process.”
Standing alongside Fumagalli was Chris Rimmer, Head of International Sales at British-based exhibitor acdc, who chimed in: “We are regular exhibitors at Light Middle East, as we really want to support the regional lighting industry as a whole, and this show has been a key factor to do that.
“It’s a great opportunity for acdc to showcase some of the new products that we have and to capture some of the key figures in the industry. We’ve had some high quality visitors to our stand, including municipality representatives from Abu Dhabi and Oman.”
While the exhibition floor was buzzing throughout the three days at Light Middle East, the co-located Light Middle East Conference was a hive of activity as lighting designers, consultants, and government officials engaged in lively debate about the key issues impacting the regional lighting design industry.
The most high-profile line-up of expert speakers the conference has ever seen was punctuated with presentations from government representatives, including Salim Hussein Al Rimawi, Head of road lighting at Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), who spoke about the RTA’s initiatives towards LED street lighting.
“In February 2014 we began a pilot project in Al Barsha South installing 2000 LEDs as part of the Dubai Outdoor Lighting Programme, and this project will finish very soon,” said Al Rimawi.
“Once the pilot project is successful, the second phase of our strategy will have two parts; the first is to replace existing streetlights with LEDs across the Emirate, while at the same time we will expand installations of LEDs with higher wattages to main highways.”
“By 2030, we will reach our target, replacing 75 per cent of existing streetlights with LEDs, reducing energy usage by at least 30 per cent.
Added Al Rimawi: “It’s important for the RTA to speak at the Light Middle East Conference, because we want to spread the message that we envision a green and sustainable road lighting future in Dubai. We need the industry’s support to fulfil our requirements to achieve this and the response we’ve received has been very helpful.”
Laura Phillips, Associate Director for Lighting at BuroHappold Engineering was another speaker at the Light Middle East Conference full of praise about the regional lighting design industry.
Speaking on the sidelines of the conference, Phillips said: “I’ve worked on a number of different projects in Dubai and the wider Middle East region for the last 10-12 years and so it’s lovely to see the lighting design industry develop during this time.
“Certainly where we are now in Dubai, the sophistication and knowledge is being passed on to outlying regions with work that is developing in Abu Dhabi, Doha, and Bahrain, so it’s a very exciting time. I understand why there is so much interest here at the moment because it really is a big industry.”
Held under the patronage of Dubai Municipality, and organised by Epoc Messe Frankfurt, Light Middle East’s strong international flavour was led by the commanding presence of government-backed country pavilions from the UK and Malaysia.
The Middle East’s dedicated event for the lighting design and technology industry provided an interactive networking platform for manufacturers, architects, designers, consultants, engineers, construction companies, government officials and more.
Ahmed Pauwels, CEO of Epoc Messe Frankfurt, said: “Light Middle East has developed from a conference with a few exhibitors on the side into what is now a full-fledged exhibition with value-added features that is growing stronger every year.”
“This reflects a regional industry that continues to grow from strength to strength, and it was fitting to end such a successful edition in 2014 with the Light Middle East Awards, celebrating the region’s most outstanding lighting projects and products that are taking the industry to the next level.”
And a fitting finale it was; with more than 350 industry professionals in attendance, the Light Middle East Awards celebrated the winners of 12 categories from a shortlist of 39 finalists at a glittering gala dinner.
Among those who finished on top in their respective categories were the Abu Dhabi Municipality, which won plaudits for its Sustainable Lighting Policy in the Sustainable Lighting Project category; and The Beach in Dubai’s Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) by CD+M Lighting Design Group, which shone brightest in both the Public Lighting and Exterior Lighting project categories.
The 10th anniversary of Light Middle East, which coincides with UNESCO’s International Year of Light, will take place in November 2015. More information about Light Middle East is available at: www.lightme.net.