Messe Frankfurt buys in to LightFair

Feb. 26, 2024
Global trade fair organizer acquires a stake in the largest U.S. lighting tradeshow from ANDMORE.

On Monday, Feb. 26, 2024, Germany–based trade fair organizer Messe Frankfurt announced that it would expand its event portfolio with a stake in LightFair, the largest architectural and commercial lighting tradeshow held on U.S. soil. This acquisition marks Messe Frankfurt’s first event partnership in the U.S.

Messe Frankfurt’s Light + Building trade fairs are currently held in regional markets including Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Sout America, with a total of 13 events at present. Its exhibition customers typically include manufacturers in lighting, electrical engineering, home and building automation, and networked security systems, who target attendees including architects, interior designers, lighting designers, municipal planning authorities, building engineers, and retail facilities managers.

Until recently, LightFair was planned and executed by the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES), the International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD), and furnishings channel marketing firm ANDMORE (formerly known as International Market Centers).

In a statement provided by ANDMORE, chair and CEO Bob Maricich said, “Consistent with the model of wholly owning and operating its tradeshows and market centers, ANDMORE has sold its interests in LightFair to Messe Frankfurt, effective February 23. Messe Frankfurt […] will continue to partner with IES and IALD, the industry’s leading trade associations, creating new opportunities for the LightFair brand and the event’s exhibitors and attendees.”

Maricich concluded, “This was a deliberate decision by ANDMORE to redeploy capital to growing industries in our universe. The change also gives us the opportunity to fully focus on delivering value to customers in our core gift, home furnishings and apparel markets.”

ANDMORE’s representative confirmed that Messe Frankfurt’s North American team would support LightFair and would not engage existing ANDMORE team members.

According to a spokesperson for Atlanta–based Messe Frankfurt, Inc., IES, IALD, and Messe Frankfurt maintain equal shares in LightFair. “The expertise in B2B tradeshow management and the success in the field of lighting technology with the Light + Building portfolio make Messe Frankfurt a great fit to take over the operations and management portion of the show,” the spokesperson said.

IES and IALD will presumably maintain their current LightFair programming responsibilities. In 2022, the associations revealed that IES would curate the conference sessions and continuing-education accredited content, in addition to “IES Live” show-floor programming, while IALD would deliver its IALD Designery on the exhibit floor, with design-focused education, live demonstrations, and installations showcasing design elements.

In the joint press announcement, IALD CEO Christopher Knowlton praised the international recognition of the Light + Building brand and Messe Frankfurt’s international presence, saying that “[t]his new stage in LightFair’s development will open up new possibilities for reaching a larger audience.”

Meanwhile, IES executive director Colleen Harper said that the IES “[expects] our new union with the IALD and Messe Frankfurt to bring in a fresh perspective and cement the show as a must-attend event for everyone in lighting.”

As experienced across all industries, the lighting industry calendar of events was deeply affected by the pandemic, with some organizers opting to hold biennial events (including LightFair), reportedly to accommodate for longer product launch cycles and reduced exhibitor marketing budgets. Online programming for some events, notably the LED professional Symposium and LEDucation, has even expanded alongside in-person operations in the years since the pandemic to appeal to professionals who may not have the opportunity to travel to such conferences.

The next edition of LightFair is planned for the Las Vegas Convention Center, May 4–8, 2025. UPDATE: The 2027 event is also expected to be held in Las Vegas. The location of future exhibitions has yet to be announced.

CARRIE MEADOWS is editor-in-chief of LEDs Magazine, with 20-plus years’ experience in business-to-business publishing across technology markets including solid-state technology manufacturing, fiberoptic communications, machine vision, lasers and photonics, and LEDs and lighting.

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About the Author

Carrie Meadows | Editor-in-Chief, LEDs Magazine

Carrie Meadows has more than 20 years of experience in the publishing and media industry. She worked with the PennWell Technology Group for more than 17 years, having been part of the editorial staff at Solid State Technology, Microlithography World, Lightwave, Portable Design, CleanRooms, Laser Focus World, and Vision Systems Design before the group was acquired by current parent company Endeavor Business Media.

Meadows has received finalist recognition for LEDs Magazine in the FOLIO Eddie Awards, and has volunteered as a judge on several B2B editorial awards committees. She received a BA in English literature from Saint Anselm College, and earned thesis honors in the college's Geisel Library. Without the patience to sit down and write a book of her own, she has gladly undertaken the role of editor for the writings of friends and family.

Meadows enjoys living in the beautiful but sometimes unpredictable four seasons of the New England region, volunteering with an animal shelter, reading (of course), and walking with friends and extended "dog family" in her spare time.