LIGHTFAIR International Lights Up Las Vegas

May 12, 2012

Go to enough trade shows and you’ll notice that every event seems to have its own personality, flavor and attitude. Some shows are innovative and visually appealing, some lively and fun, while others more focused and serious.

LIGHTFAIR International, the world’s largest annual trade show and conference for the architectural and commercial lighting industry, could be described as all of the above.

Held May 7-11 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, the 23rd annual LFI attracted more than a projected 20,000 attendees and more than 500 exhibitors spanning 200,000-plus net square feet of exhibit space, according to show officials, although final attendance numbers were not available by press time.

Last year, the event drew 23,687 attendees and 474 exhibitors occupying 202,800 net sq. ft. at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, the largest show in the event’s history.

But unlike many shows that may still be struggling to increase traction and grow their attendance in the wake of the downturn, LFI has continued to buck the odds throughout the recession and continue an upward trajectory in participation and size, said Jeffrey Portman, Sr., president and COO of AMC, Inc., which produces and manages the show.

“This show has been an anomaly to what has been going on in the marketplace – we’ve never had a downturn,” Portman said. “We’ve grown from 2007 until now in both attendance and the number of exhibitors.”

He added, “I think it’s a combination of technological advancements, the competitive environment, governmental regulations and the push for sustainability and recyclability. There’s a lot of innovation taking place in the industry, which is to some extent driving the business.”

As a forum for domestic and international manufacturers of lighting technologies and products, LFI also offers the world’s largest and most comprehensive annual architectural and commercial lighting conference, with 72 educational sessions and more than 200 hours of programming.

On a glowing expo floor, colorful, eye-catching booths showcased the industry’s newest products and technologies, with bustling aisles and exhibits sporting robust traffic and activity.

Among the event’s five pavilions – Building Integration, Daylighting, Design, Global Light + Design and the new New Exhibitor Pavilion – many exhibitors used creative and innovative uses of light and color to attract attendee attention.

Exhibitor Lauren Hoffman, marketing coordinator of Douglas Lighting Controls, said this LFI boasted a definite upsurge in traffic and energy, compared with the last time the event converged in Las Vegas.

“There’s a really good turn out this year and a lot of new and exciting products that people are showcasing,” Hoffman said.

She added, “We’ve been exhibiting at this show for the last 15 years, and I think the traffic has been the strongest this year, compared to Las Vegas two years ago.”

Attendee Steven Thren, electrical designer of Henneman Engineering, said LFI was always a valuable show for him and his company, especially for finding new, cutting-edge products and applications.  

“I’m here to see what new products are out and available,” Henneman said. “You never know what you’re looking for until you see it – you might find a product you might be able to use that you haven’t used before.”

LIGHTFAIR International will return April 21-25 to the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia.

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