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Middle East can be world-leader in embracing innovative lighting solutions

5 Nov 2014

Light Middle East Conference hears how Expo 2020 can act as catalyst for bringing new lighting ideas to the world

The Middle East is one of the most light-polluted places in the world, but with major events such as the Dubai Expo 2020 acting as a catalyst for change, the region could show the world how to bring ‘smart lighting’ to life, an industry expert has said today.

Tejas Doshi, co-founder & chief design officer of Light & Beyond, said with the help of lighting designers in every phase of construction projects, the Middle East can become a leader in embracing innovative lighting solutions that are better for the environment and improve everyday quality of life.

“With its mega tall structures, and never-ending skylines, the Middle East is one of the most light-polluted places in the world,” said Joshi.  “Thankfully the market is improving, and with events such as the Dubai Expo 2020 coming up, I feel now is the right time for the region to show the rest of the world how to light it right.”

Doshi was one of 21 speakers at the Light Middle East Conference, which concludes today (5 November), at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

He said the region relies too much on artificial light, and that natural light and ‘darkness’ have an important role in improving daily lives.

Added Doshi: “In the past many lighting designers have spoken of the importance of darkness in our daily lives as we increasingly move into and an artificial world. This is disconnecting us from nature and the overexposure to artificial light is not good for us.  Darkness is a natural condition and we should think about landscape within cities.

“This is where lighting design comes in.  If regional governments and developers bring lighting designers on board early in the conceptual phase of new projects and spaces, then I’m sure we will see a different Middle East by the time the Expo 2020 comes along, and one that everyone can be proud of.”

The Light Middle East Conference was a feature of Light Middle East, the region’s only dedicated exhibition for the lighting technology and design industry, which also concludes today.

Attracting the world’s leading lighting designers and regional government representatives, the two-day summit addressed the latest trends that will impact the Middle East’s lighting industry.

Enrique Peiniger, Founder and Principal of US lighting design agency OVI, and another speaker today said that with all the focus on sustainability in recent years, the regional lighting industry has now reached a happy medium.

“For the past few years until recently, attention was somewhat singularly focused on the development of certain technologies and of certain metrics for energy-savings,” said Peiniger. 

“While it was a huge accomplishment for the industry to make such impactful strides toward sustainability, some of the essential qualitative considerations of our work were left out of the conversation. I feel like now we have more of a balance.

“The character of the design is getting better, the luminaires are getting sleeker and more refined. The technology is at the point that it can support our aesthetic goals, as well as give good metrics.”

Education is another important component in shaping the future of the regional lighting design industry, said Martin Lupton, Partner at UK-based Light Collective, and another speaker at the Light Middle East Conference.

“The best lighting designs always spring from a well rooted concept or idea and have a defined narrative, and this can often be found in the heritage and culture of a place,” said Lupton.  “For me, one of the best examples of this is the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi.”

“This process of design, the lighting design profession and the value of the role of a lighting design professional are much more established in Europe, and the Middle East could learn from this and establish an educational system that supports the development of local lighting designers who have a much greater link to the heritage of the region.”

Organised by Epoc Messe Frankfurt, the 9th edition of Light Middle East is held under the patronage of the Dubai Municipality, featuring 325 exhibitors from 27 countries – 29 per cent more than in 2013.

The three-day event is the region’s premier platform for lighting manufacturers to network with one another and meet clients, industry experts, leading lighting designers and architects involved in the delivery of public and private developments in the Middle East.

A key show highlight was the Future Zone – a dedicated section of innovative technology shaping the future of the industry that has tripled in size since launching in 2013 and now features 32 hand-picked exhibitors from across the world.

Five country pavilions also brightened up the show floor, headed by Malaysia and the UK which, with 14 top manufacturers on board, is back for the first time since 2006 and supported by the UK Lighting Industry Association. 

Meanwhile, the Middle East’s most outstanding lighting projects and products will be celebrated at a gala dinner ceremony at the Light Middle East Awards tonight (5 November). A shortlist of 39 finalists made the cut from more than 150 nominations across 12 categories.

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