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Global lighting projects to share spotlight with top regional designs

12 Sep 2018

Iconic landmarks from UAE, Saudi and Kazakhstan among 53-strong shortlist vying for top honours at annual gala ceremony

Dubai, UAE: Saudi Arabia’s Aziziya Mosque, the Kazakh Pavilion at Astana Expo 2017, and Dubai’s La Mer are among the world’s outstanding architectural lighting projects that will contest for the ultimate accolade at the 6th Light Middle East Awards this month in Dubai.

The three projects are among a shortlist of 53 finalists contesting seven project and six product categories and at the region’s foremost awards programme for lighting design and technology, selected this year out of 230 submissions from across the globe.

The winners will be celebrated by more than 600 industry professionals and colleagues during a gala dinner ceremony at the conclusion of the Light Middle East exhibition on 25th September 2018 at the Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City.

Ahmed Pauwels, CEO of Messe Frankfurt Middle East, the organiser of Light Middle East and the Light Middle East Awards, said: “Since its inception, the Light Middle East Awards has generated a tremendous response from the international lighting design community, and every year we welcome an increasingly diverse range of projects and products. 

“Creating awareness and sharing experiences are what these awards are all about, and they provide the opportunity for the lighting design community to take time out of their busy schedules and gather with clients, colleagues, and industry peers to celebrate their achievements.”

Saudi Arabia’s Aziziya Mosque in Mecca was shortlisted for two categories this year; the Innovative Lighting Project of the Year, and the Exterior and Public Lighting Project of the Year.

The interior lighting scheme was designed by Dubai’s UMAYA Lighting Design, comprising bespoke chandeliers inspired by traditional Arabic patterns and recomposed to form kaleidoscopic geometries.

Other key elements, namely the mehrab, domes, arches and screens were given visual priority, not only as a means of showcasing the high level of artistry, but also to establish a logical sequence of views, aligned with the actual worship ritual.

Elsewhere, the Kazakh Pavilion at Astana Expo 2017 by Light Touch is among three finalists in the always competitive International Lighting Project of the Year category.  Light Touch’s Andrea Acciarresi, said the pavilion’s ambitious lighting scheme was one of the most challenging and rewarding projects he’s ever been involved in.

“You know there’s pressure when the President of Kazakhstan relays a message to the design team that in a matter of months, you’re challenged to create the most innovative lighting design without delay, within one of the most spectacular architectural structures I’ve ever seen,” said Acciarresi.

“Other challenges was the fact that ambient temperatures in Astana range from -20 to +30 degrees making the facade lighting an extreme challenge to say the least. We were involved in every aspect of the project, including exhibit design as well as general ambient lighting and architectural feature lighting.”

Acciarresi said the amount of details on the project was massive, adding: “Most lighting effects were created with bespoke details and products designed from scratch, lending itself to be an extremely innovative project.”

Meanwhile Dubai’s impressive La Mer development on the Emirate’s vast shoreline was shortlisted for the Retail, Entertainment, and Exterior & Public Lighting Projects of the Year gongs at this year’s Light Middle East Awards.

Dubai firm Delta Lighting designed the lighting scheme for the recently opened beach-front complex, including the exterior lighting for 130 retail and food outlets and a public area spread over a 2,500,000 sqft. 

Ziad Fattouh, Delta Lighting’s Managing Partner, said the intention of the design was to create a casual, rustic atmosphere for public squares while certain streets took on a more dramatic approach: “Inspiration was drawn from the seaside location and the city’s sea faring traditions,” said Fattouh.

“Responding to this concept, a catenary lighting system was developed providing much of the ambient light for walkways and squares.  A total of 53 custom pendants, brackets, tree sconces and other fitting types were designed, using finishes of wood, steel, rope and brass.  Furthermore, 10m and 3m high bespoke timber poles were developed.”

Fattouh said the design and coordination for the custom fittings coupled with the sheer scale of the La Mer project was a huge undertaking, adding: “A family of custom street poles and pedestrian poles was developed specially for the project, taking inspiration from the masts of ships and the old sailing Dhows.

“The process of designing and manufacturing these 10m high poles with a pedestrian version at three meter height was a huge challenge in this project but was critical for creating the required look and feel.  The poles had to integrate CCTV systems, audio visual systems and also be connected to the shading structures of the project.”

The 13th edition of Light Middle East takes place from 23-25 September 2018 at Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, featuring more than 345 exhibitors from 28 countries showcasing 425-plus brands.

The annual three-day event is the wider region’s only dedicated trade fair for lighting design and technology, and returns in 2018 with popular highlights including THINKLIGHT – a three day conference focusing on the key areas of lighting; Light.ication, the Middle East’s only university lighting design competition; and Ready Steady Light Middle East, a live competition during the show where teams are given 90 minutes to design and install a lighting scheme with a range of provided equipment. 

Among the new features this year is Smart & Connected Lighting – a dedicated forum where trade buyers and industry professionals will attend technical presentations, live demos and workshops from leading global players involved in IoT lighting and building automation technologies. 

Also new is Light & Design, a dedicated space showcasing the latest in decorative lighting products; and The Perfect Light, a thought-provoking documentary by Light Collective giving voice to over 20 leading lighting designers with the mission of exploring the development of light and evolution of LED.

The full shortlist for the 6th Light Middle East Awards and more information about Light Middle East is available at: