LightFair now a biennial event

Oct. 26, 2022
Starting in 2023, the architectural and lighting trade show and conference will take place on odd-numbered years "in response to the changing needs of lighting manufacturing and specification."

LightFair is moving to a biennial schedule from 2023 onward, the show’s owners — the International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD), Illuminating Engineering Society (IES), and International Market Centers (IMC) — announced today. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the North American architectural and commercial lighting trade show and conference was an annual staple for the industry worldwide. LightFair will now take place on odd-numbered years, a decision that was part of “an overarching strategic plan” developed by LightFair’s management committee “in response to the changing needs of lighting manufacturing and specification,” according to a press release by LightFair, IALD, and IES.

“This shift to a biennial schedule allows us to better align the show with manufacturing cycles and the pace of industry innovation, delivering an experience that provides maximum value for the architectural and commercial lighting community — with even more product launches, new technologies and opportunities for connecting with a broader range of professionals in industry segments,” according to IALD, IES, and IMC in a separate email announcement. The show also aims to expand its audience to include residential lighting professionals, alongside its historical makeup of lighting designers, manufacturers, distributors, engineers, and architects.

LightFair 2023 will take place May 21–25 at the Javits Center in New York. That event will debut several new features, including partnerships with the International Contemporary Furniture Fair and NYCxDesign, the latter of which will result in after-hours lighting and experiential studio tours and programs about design. LightFair 2023 will also introduce immersive lighting installations created by four manufacturers paired with a New York–based lighting design firm on the theme of circular economy.

Other highlights include a Shark Tank–style sales competition on the IES Live stage — formerly the LightFair LIVE stage — and a conference program led by IES that will be “anchored around inclusivity and celebrating the multidisciplinary interconnections within lighting and beyond.”

LightFair 2022 attracted more than 10,000 people from 63 countries, an 110% increase in attendance over its October 2021, during which the world was in a different phase of the pandemic. In July 2020, LightFair presented several online courses in its condensed conference program LightFair Connect.

Back in the pre-pandemic era, the 2018 event in Chicago — then billed as LightFair International — saw a record registration number of 28,075 with 600 exhibitors, while the 2019 iteration in Philadelphia had an estimated attendance of 27,000 with 550 exhibitors.

WANDA LAU is editorial director of LEDs Magazine and Smart Buildings Technology. She previously served as executive editor of Architect magazine and worked for a decade in the architecture, engineering, and construction industry.

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About the Author

Wanda Lau | Editorial director, LEDs Magazine, Architectural SSL, and Smart Buildings Technology

Wanda Lau is an award-winning editor, writer, and podcaster whose work appears in several publications, including Architectural Lighting and Architect, where she was most recently the executive editor. In 2021, she was named one of Folio: and AdMonsters' Top Women in Media, in the DEI Champions category. Along with working a decade in the architecture, engineering, and construction industry, she holds a B.S. in civil engineering from Michigan State University, an S.M. in building technology from MIT, and an M.A. in journalism from Syracuse University.