LightFair 2023 Show Highlights

June 5, 2023

It has been a great week to explore the latest in architectural and commercial lighting at the Javits Center, New York. This video captures the highlights in a nutshell:

Immersive conference workshops were in full swing May 21 & 22 – and the trade show doors opened at 10 am on May 23. If you missed Day 1 of the trade show or want to revisit your experience, watch this highlight video:

300+ exhibitors were ready to welcome and greet thousands of attendees as they walked through the doors to explore the latest tools, products and solutions for their projects. The anticipation, energy and excitement in the show floor air was palpable.

Some Highlights

IALD Immersive Lighting Installations

Seven collaborative lighting experiences captured attendees’ curiosity and imagination on the show floor. Introduced for the very first time at LightFair, these unique and immersive experiences showcased the theme Circular Economy and sustainable design in seven different ways. Teams of manufacturers and designers collaborated to conceptualize, design and execute these interactive experiences on the show floor.

It was interesting and eye-opening to see the seven interpretations of the same theme. All teams made conscious efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle in the creation of these projects and the results were extraordinary. At the presentation and awards ceremony, all team leads acknowledged the collaborative teamwork and efforts of many individual contributors behind each design and emphasized the focus on keeping emissions and environmental impact low in the making of these installations.

“Cool”, “Intriguing”, “Interesting”, “Such a unique idea”, “Clever use of renewable resources” – were some of the reactions overheard on the show floor.

Learn more about collaborations and concepts

Keynote by Karen Treviño : Chasing Darkness Into the Light: Preserving Night Skies in National Parks

Keynote on Dark Skies
Chasing Darkness Into the Light: LightFair 2023 Keynote by Karen Treviño

The keynote on preserving our night skies bolstered the theme of responsible lighting design that was woven throughout the education and on-floor sessions.

It was such an honor to be the keynote speaker at the IES LightFair conference at the Javitz center in NYC today. I loved the opportunity to share with this diverse group of attendees why outdoor lighting is so critical to the protection of national parks resources and values including wildlife, cultural and historic authenticity, night skies, visitor enjoyment, wilderness character, sustainability, and more importantly, how each of them can help protect national parks through better, more thoughtful, park friendly lighting.– Karen Treviño, Keynote Speaker, LightFair 2023

LightFair Conference 2023

Featuring 165+ accredited sessions spread across, this is the most comprehensive continuing education program available in the industry. May 21 and 22 offered in-depth workshops including an LC study group for attendees seeking to delve deep into topics.

May 23-25 offered shorter sessions lasting 60 minutes and 90 minutes with time built into the schedule to allow attendees to explore the floor and exhibitors.

Conference got a later start at 11 am on Tuesday, the opening day of the trade show to allow attendees time to spend time discovering and networking on the floor.

2023’s educational programming explored five tracks: Art, Business, Process, Science and Technology – not as silos but as overlapping, interconnected areas complementing one another. The whole approach to this year’s programming was founded on acknowledging this multidisciplinary overlap.

LightFair Conference Tracks

A Bustling Show Floor

“Transformative experience”, “unmatched education”, “great connections”, “got to meet our reps”, “thrilled to see our partner lines” were among the feedback received on the show floor and over social media.

More Ways to Explore What’s New

LightFair Innovations Awards

Attendees learned about the 2023 LightFair Innovation Awards at the LIA lounge and stopped by the respective booths to see the award-winning products in person.

Curated Pavilion Tours offered another great way to see more in less time. Attendees joined industry experts to explore the exhibitors and products in each category.

The show floor was bustling with energy, excitement, lighting conversations, collaborations, new product launches and connections.

IES LightFair Sales Stars

Another first at LightFair, this fast-paced sales contest put 9 contestants to the test. The Illuminating Engineering Society and LightFair partnered to host a lighting sales contest at LightFair 2023. Contestants representing exhibiting companies made their respective product sales pitch to a panel of judges in front of a live audience on Wednesday, May 24 in the IES LIVE venue on the show floor. One winning pitch was judged as the Sales Star. Congratulations David Wheeless, FSC Lighting!

Thank you to our judges for putting on the “specifier”/”designer” hat and taking on this tough task!

Shirley Coyle
Robert Preston, LC
Randy Reid
Erik Ennen

The event was moderated by Tom Butters, LC, Lighting Agora.

NYCxDESIGN Partnership

LightFair attendees were treated to two offsite tours of Manhattan lighting projects curated by the IALD and NYCxDESIGN teams.

The Reinvigoration Tour (Monday, May 22) – High Line + Moynihan

The Reinvigoration Tour took attendees through the High Line, an obsolete elevated rail line turned into an iconic public park, and Moynihan Train Hall, a historic USPS facility transformed into a state of the art train station.

  • At the High Line, attendees learned more about the lighting strategy designed by L’Observatoire International which is a consistent low-level and below eye level plane of light, avoiding any glare or obstruction of the night sky and the city views all around, and keeping the High Line safe, visible, and unobtrusive at night.
  • At Moynihan Train Hall, visitors heard about the station’s stunning transformation, orchestrated by Domingo Gonzalez Associates, that embraces the ample natural light provided by the vaulted skylights during the day and allows for RGBW light technology by Color Kinetics to steal the show in the evening.
The New Classics Tour (Tuesday, May 23) – One Vanderbilt, Touro College at 3 Times Square, One Bryant Park

The New Classics Tour enabled attendees to learn more about three buildings that have become contemporary architectural landmarks and the lighting that have come to define their emblematic facades.

  • One Bryant Park’s dynamic spirit is captured through the adaptable lighting by Cline Bettridge Bernstein Lighting Design (CBBLD), making it the first LEED Platinum–certified skyscraper in the United States.
  • At One Vanderbilt, lighting designer Tillotson Design Associates presented impressive lighting display installations using Color Kinetics IntelliHue technology.
  • At Touro College at 3 Times Square, Anita Jorgensen Lighting Design masterfully lit the interior of this project in a unique way that allows for the building to hold its own in an area known for its marquees, neon lights, and bright digital screens.

The offsite tours were followed by a panel discussion on Wednesday, May 24.

Future Directions for Urban Space at Night– A panel conversation exploring how urban lighting activates public space after dark. The discussion explored the best practices around serving our nighttime communities: people who love to be out at night and those who must.


Emily Weidenhof, Director of Public Space, NYCDOT
Suzan Tillotson, Founding Partner, Tillotson Design Associates
Andrew M. Manshel, Senior Advisor, Hollis Public Affairs


Leni Schwendinger is a published, award-winning authority on urban lighting and nighttime design, Leni Schwendinger Light Projects.

Informal On-Floor Education and Networking

Beyond the IES Live and IALD Designery venues, learning and networking continued across the floor in other areas such as the Outdoor Exchange and in the Special Events space. These were more open, intimate settings that facilitated conversations and interactions between attendees and presenters.

Career Fair (Left): Joseph Vigil, Paul Pompeo
Outdoor Exchange (Right): Michael Deo, former AOLP President

Remembering Libby Morley, LightFair’s Founding Director

LightFair's Founder

At the end of the 5 days, we were pleased to receive an overwhelmingly positive response from all quarters – attendees and exhibitors alike. The feedback both in person and on social media is incredibly encouraging.

As this post is published, the LightFair team is traveling back home. We will be sure to update the blog in the coming days with more. Stay tuned and keep sharing your amazing pictures and feedback on social media.

More information available here

Related Article

LightFair Innovation Awards 2023 Winners

The LightFair Innovation Awards (LIAs) highlight the industry’s top innovations introduced since the last LightFair. They celebrate the ingenuity, creativity, and resourcefulness of our industry’s manufacturers, researchers, developers, scientists, and designers.

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