As exhibition designers, there are times when our best ideas just can’t fit the budget. We all wish we had more clients with big scale ideas and more money, but be careful what you wish for as you might uncover a new niche market.
Twelve years ago, Jeff Rudner, president of Exhibit Lighting Group, focused his skills from theatre and concerts lighting to specializing in exhibit lighting for tradeshows and events. With the development of fabric shapes and decor, LED lighting, and live stage presentations, the use of creative theatrical lighting blossomed on to the exhibit floor throughout the world. Exhibit Lighting Group (ELG) went on to become theatre lighting specialists that helped exhibitors to stand out on the show floor and at their corporate events. Today, trusses fill the ceilings of most convention centers in a way they never had in the past.
A few years ago, ELG got a call from the event coordinator for the Royal Family in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates-(UAE). The Royal Family was scouring the Web searching for new lighting effects for an upcoming party. They wanted lighting similar to what is done for the Academy Awards in Hollywood to create a memorable experience. The organizers were planning a bride’s wedding party and wanted creative lighting and decor to make it a really special event.
“At first we were not sure if this was a challenge we wanted to take on, but they insisted on our creative style of lighting to make the event a special affair. In the past three years, we have now been involved in 14 wedding parties and other social events in the Middle East region that included Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Lebanon.
“As an American supplier, working an event of this nature certainly has its challenges, but all our concerns were quickly resolved. Finding local suppliers for truss, basic lighting, sound equipment, electric power and labor to install was not a problem. Other suppliers were also brought in from around the world (Australia, India, Pakistan, Philippines, UK and France) and all spoke English. This was a worldwide collaboration. We shipped in only specialty lighting equipment and worked with a scenic décor company based in Beirut,” said Rudner.
Exhibit Lighting Group’s client knew just what effects they wanted to make this event magical. They stated that ELG lighting creativity, production know-how and attention to detail are why they requested ELG to be involved to create lighting effects and work in synch with other suppliers, and with the event’s required protocol.
Middle Eastern weddings will generally have a separate party – either a few weeks before or up to few weeks after the actual formal wedding – one for men and one for women. The party planned for women can be quite elaborate.
At the bride’s formal party, the woman remove their “Hijab” or “Burqa” (hair or head covering), and therefore, absolutely no men are permitted in the women’s party room. This includes any staff members as well, so the ELG running crew must only consist of woman. A live band is generally included as part of the program, but if the band has male musicians, then it is located in a separate room altogether and the sound is brought to the party via an audio sound system. As such, you will never see photos or videos of an actual wedding event; the pre-party event room is all that is ever photographed.
As the exposition industry continues to expand, so do other applications of the “specialty skills” we all acquire while serving the tradeshow marketplace. How might your company apply its skills differently to uncover a new marketplace?