Prior to leaving for Dubai, a colleague asked me what I thought I was going to learn at Light Middle East. I didn’t have an answer. I did know that some of the brightest lighting minds in the world were attending so there must be something to be learned.
Dubai is known as a trading hub, not for manufacturing or design, but it is well-versed in trade and executes tradeshows well. Much like LEDucation, Light Middle East has small exhibits that are packed together, creating an electric atmosphere. Unlike LEDucation, there are no tabletops.
Like LightFair, the education sessions at Light Middle East are held on the showroom floor. It provides attendees access to the speakers and presenters who come from all over the world.
With its 165 exhibitors and 6500+ attendees, the show is not too large, unlike Light + Building. It was large enough to meet new people and make friends, but small enough that it was easy to connect with lighting designers and manufacturers. I spent time with Charles Stone of FMS Lighting Design, made new friends like Matija Klinkon, CEO at LED LUKS in Slovenia, became better acquainted with global superstars Martin Lupton and Sharon Stammers, and met one of the hardest working men in lighting, Dr. Amardeep M. Dugar, who is from India and believed to be one of the first non-North American IES Board members. I also had the opportunity to attend a dinner with two people I had never met: a lighting designer from Milan and a student from Kazakhstan. The business and political discussion that ensued was electric!
Another contrast to Light + Building was the hospitality extended to both attendees and exhibitors. The LME management team was warm and welcoming–it’s hard to believe that both events are managed by Messe Frankfurt.
Like the IES Street and Area Lighting Conference that is centered around a specific area of lighting, Light Middle East focuses on global architectural lighting. The attendees of both shows are interested in a particular segment of the industry which creates a strong commonality among attendees. This commonality allows show management to better deliver more focused content.
While I didn’t quite know what to expect, Light Middle East greatly exceeded my expectations and I recommend the show to anyone interested in global architectural lighting.