The week that was 24th – 28th September 2018…
Amsterdam – Dubai – Singapore – Kuala Lumpur – Singapore,
Weekend 29-30th September 2018
Fresh from my little retreat in France I hopped on the plane to Dubai to attend Light Middle East event and deliver my presentation on LDoT. Like we collaborate in Asia with Messe Frankfurt (HK) for lighting events in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Bangkok, the local design community under guidance of the ever-energetic Sakina Dugawalla -Moeller created a great conference program at Light Middle East as well as some other fringe events to stimulate lighting education and awareness.
Think Light – Cross roads
The conference program had started on the Sunday but my flight only arrived late in the evening so I unfortunately missed both the day and evening program. I know from experience how difficult it is to not only put an attractive conference program together but even more on how to attract and keep an audience captive throughout. Targeted marketing and promotion is one and “strong handed” moderation is another. Specifically making sure the speakers arrive in time, stick to the allocated program time and stay focussed on the theme of the conference. This requires pre-consultation with the speakers to make sure that the presentation is not only relevant as a topic but specifically in content. To make sure there is also a bond between the speakers making sure the immediate speakers before and after are present also helps in forging a coordinated feel towards the audience. While I stayed throughout most presentations I felt some disconnect as some of the speakers arrived last minute and left straight after, giving the feeling the event was not important to them…anyhow that is just my personal little rant. I enjoyed doing my presentation and overall compliment Sakina with the outstanding effort in putting the program together!
The Perfect Light
The evening was dedicated to the first ever screening in the Middle East of Light Collectives movie “The Perfect Light” that has been shown around the world. The showing at Novotel’s Blue Bar was to my understanding the 16th time the movie was screened. Hosted by IGuzzini (Richard Holmes/ Sergio Padula!) and introduced by the makers themselves, Sharron Stammers and Martin Lupton, to the Dubai lighting design community, the evening turned out to be very entertaining. I had not seen the movie before but thought it was very well done and captive from beginning till end…it certainly seems to ask for a sequel!
Light Middle East Awards night
Rounding up LME was the awards night, honouring designers and manufacturers for outstanding projects and products. Expertly hosted again by Sharon and Martin it saw the local community come together to celebrate their achievements. The after parties being probably the most enjoyable parts of the night with lots of networking and connecting…
The Middle East is not my prime focus in terms of business, but if and when there are opportunities we will take on projects there. I have been in and out Dubai on numerous occasions over the years, some for projects, some for lighting events as Light Middle East. As my return flight was later in the evening after the event I decided to take some time off and actually do a bit of “sight-seeing”. Visit the later year developments such as the Burj Al Arab and Burj Kalifa, The Frame, Palm Resort island and its Atlantis Hotel and others. I am obviously not the only one as to enter Burj Al Arab for instance you require a reservation or booking which on enquiry was about USD 200 per person for a high tea! Visiting Burj Kalifa also requires some advance planning and booking…
Overall, while Dubai may be great for business, I don’t really like the city…they are building like mad, one developer trying to outdo the other (Emaar, Meraas, Nakheel, etc), assumingly with the 2020 World Expo in mind, with the result that everything feels artificial and unreal. It is hard to feel a soul in this city…Certainly coming from my nature environment of the Dordogne countryside, the contrast was scary. I did enjoy driving around though thanks to my host Veer and great company Vibhor…
Alila Hotel Bangsar
Hardly back in Singapore I flew out again 24 hours later to attend the grand opening of our Alila Bangsar Hotel project in Kuala Lumpur. Another potential award winner… Designing city hotels with an “oasis” feel is not easy but the Neri & Hu interiors, simple and contemporary with great attention to detail together with our lighting really works. As soon as you step in your feel in a different world. The night was an exploration of the hotel with activities and food/ drink stations scattered throughout the key hotel areas. An official opening toast was hosted by Alila founder Mark Edelson in the presidential suite. The enjoyable evening moved slowly from the pool area up to the magnificent roof terrace with unlimited 360 degree view of the city. Proud to be associated with this project.
We left back to Singapore the next day with a tired but very satisfied feeling.
Have a great rest of the weekend!
Some of the lighting artworks
The perfect light