Illuminated skyscrapers reshaping the skyline

Apart from UAE being home to the world’s tallest building, the city of Dubai boasts of over 400 skyscrapers. Implementation of new age external lighting techniques has redefined supertall buildings to make it more vibrant and appealing.

With over two decades of experience in lighting architecture, David Gilbey has worked on several noteworthy external lighting projects across the globe. In an interview, Mr. David Gilbey, Director, EPOS Design, spoke on the importance and benefits of outdoor lighting.

1.The power of lighting is well-understood when city skylines are donned with lighting systems. How far would you say the Middle East market has made headway in redefining skyscrapers with innovative lighting techniques?

In my opinion, the Middle East has some of the best examples and also some of the worst examples of skyscraper lighting. Some of the best examples have considered well planned night time lighting strategies that make you marvel at the building against the night skyline, while others appear an afterthought or a huge budgetary compromise. Whilst accepting that lighting is a subjective topic, my discussion will look at some of the best examples.

2.How much importance does outdoor lighting hold in smart city programs?

It is of huge importance on so many levels not least energy efficiency, sustainable design and reduction of light pollution. Lighting has an important part to play in how people feel about their cities and neighborhoods; it can create local landmarks, security and delineate areas. Smart planned cities and even districts are attractive to both the locals that dwell in them and investors alike.

3.According to you, what are the new trends and products that will revolutionize the global lighting industry?

LED technology is revolutionizing the global lighting industry and is both a blessing and a curse: at its best LED technology has the ability to push boundaries with energy and maintenance efficient lighting solutions that amaze, but there are a lot of cheap imitators on the market that lead to confusion of clients as to what is an appropriate product to use. For my mind, I like companies that are not only technology driven but are also considering the needs of architecture, companies that are designing for buildings.

4.Recently at COP21, UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs spoke of improving energy efficiency as one of the key priorities for the country. Your thoughts.

Absolutely essential. We have a huge responsibility as designers to balance technology and artistry, but considering the energy efficiency should be at the core of everything we do.

5.Is the concept of green building a reality today?

I believe so, I see green building initiatives all over the world and I am able to learn from best practices in Europe, Scandinavia and the US and then to see that echoed in green building initiatives throughout the Middle East and even into to India and Asia. I applaud the way architectural design and government regulations are driving us in a green and responsible direction.

6.What will be the focus of your session at the 3rd Annual Smart Skyscrapers Summit? What will be the key takeaway for attendees from your presentation?

Design is a collaboration and the best design and buildings are created when client and design team work in harmony for the good of a project. I want to convey that you have a fantastic vertical opportunity with a skyscraper to create a landmark of beauty against the skyline: that the skyscraper can be visually striking and at the same time be energy efficient, sustainably designed and maintenance friendly. That budget does not have to be a limiter on creativity and that the buildings can be related to their surroundings.

Hear Mr. David Gilbey speak at length during his keynote session on the topic of external lightings of tall buildings at the 3rd Smart Skyscrapers Summit, to be held on 16-17 May 2016, at Sofitel Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa. More information on the Summit is available now at Follow the Summit on social media with the hashtag #SKYSUM2016.

About Expotrade

Expotrade is a global conference and event organizer with its head office based in Melbourne, Australia and a regional office in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Expotrade has delivered some of the largest, most successful B2B industry conferences and events. For almost 15 years, our unique blend of knowledge, experience and flexibility has accomplished an array of consistently top quality events. Today, Expotrade events enjoy such a distinctive edge, they are amongst the best patronized in the calendar. For more information, visit

Lakshmi Ramarajan
Expotrade Middle East FZ-LLC
Tel: +9714-4542135


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