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New initiative nurtures next generation of regional lighting designers

13 Oct 2016

Light.ication forum to promote interaction between students and leading industry professionals

Dubai, UAE: A new initiative aimed at promoting lighting design through education is being launched at the Middle East’s largest exhibition for lighting design and technology, offering UAE students an exclusive platform to showcase their creative vision to a global audience.

Light.ication, introduced in collaboration between Light Middle East 2016 and consultancy Light.Func, will highlight the wealth of talent that UAE lighting and interior design, architecture, or engineering students possess, while also fostering positive interaction with lighting design professionals, manufacturers, and industry leaders. 

The new initiative invites teams of students from UAE universities and institutes to prepare and conceptualise a lighting installation, with each team guided by a designated lighting design studio, and using lighting equipment provided by Light Middle East exhibitors. 

The teams, which have been selected on the basis of a pre-submitted presentation, will be challenged to produce an installation using the theme #cultureoflight as a means to develop their final creation.

They will then have an opportunity to present their installations to thousands of trade visitors and professionals at Light Middle East 2016, which takes place from 31 October – 2 November at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre. 

Each student group will explain the concept, challenges and implementation of the installation, using testimonials from the lighting manufacturer and lighting design studio. A time-lapse video will also detail how they built up their installation.

“The idea behind Light.ication is to draw attention to the immense pool of talent that UAE students possess, and to put them in touch with leading industry professionals who will be able to guide them towards achieving their full potential,” said Ahmed Pauwels, CEO of Messe Frankfurt Middle East, the organiser of Light Middle East. 

“Light Middle East has over the years reflected the tremendous progress made by the lighting design and technology industry in the wider region and it gives us great pleasure to promote fruitful interaction between the industry and the next generation of designers and customers.

“Light.ication also provides young designers with a credible channel to showcase their talent and develop their conceptual vision and implement it with the guidance of design professionals, while also giving us the opportunity to contribute to the community by promoting lighting design through education,” Pauwels added.

Sakina Dugawalla, the founder of Light.Func, added: “Light.cation is an all-inclusive concept that ties together the whole lighting industry, bringing together students with mentors in an open forum where suppliers, designers, and the future generation collaborate to show end-users what is possible in the world of architectural lighting. 

“This has never been done before in the Middle East and lays a marker for the future of how we interact with light, whether in nature, architecture, photography, form or graphics.”

Six teams from Manipal University and the American University in Dubai (two teams each), the Canadian University of Dubai, and Heriot-Watt University Dubai, have been shortlisted for Light.cation, and are now undergoing the final preparations for their big showcase later this month.

Bhakti More, Associate Professor for the School of Design & Architecture at Dubai’s Manipal University, said: “The Light.ication initiative is an exciting opportunity and a platform for the design students across various UAE universities to explore, play and interact with light.

“The students at Manipal University are looking forward to being part of this initiative and the academia-industry connect in creates will definitely guide many participants to consider careers in lighting design and specialise in the field,” he added.

“Canadian University Dubai always seeks for opportunities where the students meet with professional designers from the industry,” said Serkan Gunay, Assistant Professor and Chair for the School of Architecture & Design at Canadian University of Dubai.

“Having the chance to participate at Light.cation, where the students will witness the application process of their design will be a great learning experience. The showcase will also be a good way for the students to understand the importance of lighting as a part of architectural and interior design projects.”

Professor Bruce Paget of Heriot-Watt University, added: “We are delighted that a team of six Heriot Watt students comprising two each from the Interior Design, Architecture and the Architectural Engineering programmes are collaborating with leading lighting consultants in a project which provides not only much sought after practical experience but will also culminate in a real, built project.

“Live projects are always highly prized but the extended participation and committed involvement of professional mentors within the process, coupled with the opportunity to see a project through from concept stage to final realisation is a fantastic opportunity which we are sure will be of great benefit to our student participants.”

Kristin Lee, Associate Professor of Interior Design, at the American University of Dubai, said: “Light.ication is unique in that it brings not only students and practicing professionals together in a workshop environment, but that there is a link to the Light Middle East exhibition.  I am thrilled at the response from our students, and am eagerly awaiting early November.”

Now in its 11th edition, Light Middle East 2016 will feature more than 350 exhibitors from 30 countries, and returns with regular headline features including the Light Middle East Conference, bringing together key leaders to analyse innovative technologies, changing global trends and evolving regulations impacting the lighting industry.

The prestigious Light Middle East Awards on 2nd November will also celebrate the most outstanding lighting projects and designers from throughout the region. More information is available at: