Lighting trends betraying Arab identity: Miranda

S&S Award winner argues industry must reflect Arab cultural identity.
Sound & Stage lighting designer of the year Terry Miranda.
Sound & Stage lighting designer of the year Terry Miranda.

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Sound & Stage lighting designer of the year Terry Miranda has claimed an adherence to international lighting trends is hindering the emergence of a viable Middle East lighting design industry. 

Miranda, who is the managing director of Dubai-based Lighthouse Productions, has more than a decade’s experience working as a lighting designer in the GCC. In this time, he has established a stellar reputation for developing lighting designs specifically for various cultural events.

In the past 12 months alone, he has worked on projects on behalf of the UAE Ministry of Culture, including the Quran Singing Awards and UAE National Day celebrations.

Miranda argued this experience had reinforced his perception that the fledgling Middle East lighting design industry needed to forge its own path separate from international markets.

“The industry has developed tremendously in recent years,” he said. “While I fully support the adoption of international standards, the general approach of many seems to be simply copying design themes being developed offshore.

“This approach is robbing the region of its cultural identity. Rather than bringing a concept from Europe or the US, we as an industry should be taking inspiration from Arab culture and society and use it to create a unique identity that reflects the region we live in.”

Miranda is currently developing a line of lighting gobo effects in conjunction with Goboland, inspired by Islamic art and design.

“We are committed to demonstrating to clients and the public what can be achieved using gobos and visual media inspired by Islamic calligraphy and art,” he said.

“We plan to market this range of gobos locally and internationally, which will not only provide kudos to the local industry but will also raise the profile of Arabic-inspired lighting design overseas.”

Miranda also called for improved training standards for lighting design and event production in the region.

“You can’t just lecture students in a classroom about lighting design,” he argued. “They need to understand the principles, but they also need to be provided with on-the-job training.”

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