LightFair 2023 Fosters Business Connections and Expanded Educational Opportunities, Switches to Biennial Schedule
LightFair, North America’s largest architectural and commercial lighting trade show and conference, recently brought together more than 11,500 global lighting industry professionals for five days of education, discovery and networking at its most recent trade show and conference, held May 21-25 at the Javits Center in New York City.
Owned by the International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD) and the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES), the show is produced and managed by International Market Centers (recently rebranded as ANDMORE).
According to show officials, LightFair attendees hailed from across the U.S. and around the world, including representation from 70 countries and 49 states along with crossover attendance from the collocation with the International Contemporary Furniture Fair and partnership with the city-wide design festival, NYCxDesign.
“Lightfair lit up New York City, with over 100 well-received conference sessions, 30-plus exhibit floor educational opportunities and 320+ trade show exhibits,” said LightFair Show Director Dan Darby. “LightFair continues to raise the bar for breadth and depth of education and exhibits, cementing its place in the lighting industry calendar as a must-attend event.”
A Showfloor Buzzing With Excitement
Across an expansive and energetic showfloor showcasing design innovations and cutting-edge lighting technologies, brands, specifiers, designers and architects reported making quality connections from the kick off of the show, including Exhibitor Vladimir Grigorik, president, CTO and chairman of GVA Lighting.
“We knew we had to launch our new and innovative technology and product platform at LightFair this year to create awareness, and we were pleasantly surprised with the quantity and quality of attendees,” Grigorik said. “We work in a very niche segment of the architectural lighting industry and there is a limited number of lighting designers and architects that specialize in specifying products like ours, and we saw the right people here.”
Other exhibitors reported that while the traffic was strong, they were pleased with a steady pacing that allowed them enough time to sit with new and repeat buyers to explain their products.
“We have seen mostly lighting designers, which is our audience, so [the show] is perfect for us,” said George Moghaizel, CEO of Bold Lighting. “The pace at which people were coming in the booth allowed us to be able to accommodate everyone.”
Many attendees detailed a welcoming, productive and inspiring show experience, bolstered by the ability to make key business connections and gain industry knowledge.
“Attending LightFair in New York is an amazing experience,” said Javier Iglesias Borrell, CEO of Kumux Lighting Solutions, who had traveled to the show from Brazil. “The atmosphere is buzzing with excitement and innovation, and I am inspired by cutting-edge technologies. I am grateful for the connections and knowledge I am gaining, and this experience will undoubtedly shape our future projects.”
The expanded 2023 on-floor events and education at LightFair, which were developed by IALD and IES, drew in attendees eager to learn and discover the latest design and outdoor trends, as well as enjoy networking and show tours.
Among 2023 highlights were the introduction of the first-ever Immersive Lighting Installations (ILIs), which encouraged attendees to consider new ways to use lighting for different projects and added a more design-focused element to the show floor.
For the inaugural ILIs, the seven participating designer/exhibitor teams were encouraged to build their installations around a “Circular Economy” theme. Lighting and control systems company Traxon e:cue and design firm Tillotson Design Associates were selected as the winners best representing the theme with their installation, “Seeds of Light.”
“LightFair was a huge success and IALD is proud to play a vital part in such a needle-moving lighting trade show,” said Christopher Knowlton, CEO of IALD. “The Immersive Lighting Installations and IALD Designery brought innovation, creativity and design excellence within the industry directly to attendees, and we are looking forward to bringing more design education and inspiration in 2025.”
For the first time ever, the LightFair Conference, which was curated by the IES, offered more than 100 educational sessions, ranging in length from 60 minutes to full-day, as well as five educational tracks: Art, Business, Process, Science and Technology. Many of the sessions, which were well-received and attended, focused heavily on lighting sustainability.
“I have attended a number of sessions over three days, many on sustainability, reusing and recycling and end-of-life issues, which are critically important to the work I do,” said Jean Bonander, government official and member of the California Street Lighting Association. “I am leaving with many new ideas and thoughts on how I can do things differently.”
According to show officials, the sessions also received high acclaim for the breadth and depth of lighting topics presented as well as the high level of presenters.
“This year, [the conference] saw lighting and controls practitioners from many areas of the industry, both those with little experience and those with a great deal,” said Conference Presenter Daniel Blitzer, principal of The Practical Lighting Workshop. “Our workshop and presentation were developed specifically for LightFair 2023, and I think the audience appreciated that the material was both fresh and relevant. Additionally, the questions and feedback received during the sessions were very valuable.”
Up Next: LightFair 2025
In response to industry feedback, LightFair has transitioned to a new biennial cadence, with dates and location for the 2025 edition, as well as interim activities in between biennial markets, to be announced shortly. Until then, the show will listen to feedback from show surveys and create a plan for 2025 to best suit the needs of the industry it serves, Darby said.
“The IES was blown away by the energy at LightFair,” said IES CEO and Executive Director Colleen Harper. “The new components that debuted this year, including the strong conference program that truly reflected IES educational priorities, sets us up for an incredibly bright future. We are looking forward to 2025 already.”