In a strong demonstration of the localization commitment of GE Lighting (NYSE: GE), the company opened the region’s first-of-its-kind ‘Lighting Lab’ at the American University in Dubai (AUD).
Dr. Lance de Masi, President of AUD, marked the official inauguration of the Lighting Lab in the presence of Agostino Renna, President & CEO of GE Lighting Europe, Middle East and Africa.
The opening of the Lighting Lab follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) last year between GE Lighting and AUD to nurture design talent in architecture and interior design covering both students and lighting professionals locally. As part of the MoU, a Lighting Design Council was also set up, which serves as a repository of knowledge and conducts guest lectures for students at AUD covering the advances in lighting.
Dr. Lance de Masi said: “The Lighting Lab is a powerful example of the strong linkages formed by AUD with the industry to build the skills of our students as well as professionals, who are provided the newest insights in lighting design. Lighting plays a significant role in architecture and design, as well as in driving sustainable development, especially with the UAE today focused on promoting energy efficiency. Through the Lighting Lab, we will integrate our academic knowledge on lighting and design with GE’s industry insights to create a new platform of knowledge sharing that benefits all stakeholders.”
Agostino Renna added: “We are thankful to AUD for their support and commitment in opening the Lighting Lab, a one-of-its-kind initiative in the region. This underlines our long-term focus on promoting a culture of localized innovation by promoting human capital development and sharing our years of research findings in innovative lighting. As the pioneer of LED lighting, which is central to the UAE’s current emphasis on sustainable built environments, GE will work with AUD to develop a wide pool of talented lighting and design professionals in the region.”
A dedicated facility that promotes experimentation in lighting design and provides live demos to students and trainees, the Lighting Lab will also host regular workshops and seminars on the newest trends in the global lighting industry. LED lighting solutions of GE that have extensive application in retail, hospitality, retrofitting, signage and other functions are displayed at the Lab.
Dr. Linda Nubani, Associate Professor of Interior Design, at AUD, said: “The idea of the lighting lab came out of AUD’s School of Architecture, Art and Design’s strong belief and confidence that GE Lighting will offer the same platform and support in the UAE, as it does globally.”
The mission of the AUD School of Architecture, Art and Design is to prepare graduates in the fields of Architecture, Interior Design, and Visual Communication to immerse into the profession and attain international standards of excellence. “This is achieved through well-grounded studio-based curricula combining theory and applications with the latest technologies in each discipline, as well as establishing strong ties with the profession such as the relationship with GE Lighting,” Dr. Nubani added.
With the ultimate goal of contributing to the advancement of society, the School fosters an educational environment conducive to creativity, competitiveness and excellence while promoting cultural diversity and professional ethics, and educating students to embrace sustainable development and protection of the environment.
GE Lighting is drawing on the industry experience and knowledge of its US-based Lighting Institute to develop the content for the short courses for students and professionals at the Lighting Lab at AUD.
At least 20 professionals are expected to attend short-term courses of 3 to 7 days at AUD annually. Design professionals, architects, interior designers, engineers, contractors and other industry stakeholders can attend the course.
GE Lighting has a rich history in the Middle East having established long-standing business association with over 70 key partners over the past several decades. The company established its full-fledged team in the region 15 years ago, and today has several professionals driving the operations. Its distribution center in Jebel Ali, spanning over 1,375 square meters, serves as strategic hub for the company to further expand its presence in the UAE as well as strengthen exports to key markets in the Middle East and Africa.