The Abu Dhabi-based subsidiary of German lighting manufacturer A&O Technology has revealed plans to scale back its presence at this year’s PALME Middle East exhibition in favour of creating a showcase lighting installation using a villa property located on the Palm Jumeirah.
Thomas Linke, head of sales – rental for A&O Technology Middle East, said the property installation would provide the perfect opportunity to showcase the company’s products in a “real-world” environment to key clients.
“We have decided to go in a different direction at this year’s [PALME],” he said. “We will have a small booth to display products at the show but we’re planning to temporarily install a number of fixtures on a property located on the Palm, which we will invite our clients to come and have a look at.”
Linke said the decision was taken as a direct result of the organisation of last year’s PALME exhibition, which ranks as the region’s largest annual pro audio, lighting and live events production trade event.
“I was pretty disappointed with the organisation of last year’s show,” he said. “Our stand was situated next to pro audio suppliers who were playing loud music throughout the course of the event, which made it very difficult for us to do business with our clients.
“For us, it is much more relevant to have an open house where we can invite our clients to take a look at our latest products in a relaxed atmosphere.”
PALME exhibitions manager Alex Heuff was unavailable for comment at the time of press.
In addition to its manufacturing capability, A&O’s rental business has enjoyed considerable success in the Middle East, having supplied fixtures to Justin Timberlake’s Abu Dhabi gig in 2007, and consecutive annual Dubai International Financial Centre celebrations.
Linke said the company remained confident despite the economic downturn, which he claimed was having a more significant impact on A&O’s larger rivals in the region.
“The major suppliers and rental companies are struggling because they’ve invested in high-end equipment that is proving surplus to market requirements during the downturn,” he argued. “They’d also come to rely heavily on a constant stream of business from clients such as property developers. But of course that demand has dried up now.
“In the lighting business, we believe the key to success lies in targeting niche sectors, such as effects stage lighting and search style spotlights. By comparison, the market is flooded with moving heads at the moment.
"In terms of UAE demand, Dubai is still generating 60% of our business, but we are happy to keep our headquarters in Abu Dhabi, particularly considering the number of major infrastructure projects that are coming up in the emirate."