Expo 2020: Six years away and already keeping Dubai's lighting market busy

Lighting design consultancy DPA is expanding its operations in Dubai as the city prepares to host the 2020 World Expo.

David McNeil, who has been made a director at the practice, told Lux the Dubai market has ‘matured a lot’ in the 10 years he has been there - with independent lighting consultants no longer the rarity they once were.

Confidence in the lighting market has been boosted by last year’s announcement that the city will host the 2020 Expo, and the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar is also driving demand in the region, as the small country undertakes massive infrastructure projects including new stadiums and a metro system.

‘A lot of projects have come along since the announcement of the 2020 Expo,’ says McNeil. ‘Hotels, shopping malls, parks, infrastructure... some are already being built and a lot of new ones being announced. We’re working on a lot of designs that are going to be realised next year, so it is a reality.’

And with the world’s eyes on the host cities, there’s also a renewed focus on 'high quality projects', he said.

DPA has also hired Douglas Brennan, who was part of the team that set up and ran the firm’s Edinburgh office in 2000-2005. He returns to the practice following a stint with Project Lighting Design in Singapore.

'The Middle East appears to be the marketplace that is most dominant’ at the moment,’ said Brennan. ‘I’m pleased to be joining a group of people that I have a good relationship with and know from old.’

DPA’s recent projects in Dubai include the Mint Leaf of London restaurant in the Dubai International Finance Centre (pictured, above) and the Yuan restaurant at the Atlantis resort.