September 22, 2023   

San Francisco Shines Bright at Light! Design Expo

Lighting buzz and camaraderie illuminate the Embarcadero


The Embarcadero buzzed with illuminating enthusiasm on Thursday, September 21, as over 1,500 lighting enthusiasts gathered at Pier 27 for the annual Light! Design Expo. Hosted by the San Francisco Section of the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES), the event, now in its fifth iteration, has emerged as one of the most prominent regional lighting showcases in the nation.

Light! Design Expo, which debuted in 2017, attracted participants not just from Northern California, but also from Washington, Oregon, Nevada and Southern California. This year, an impressive array of approximately 144 exhibitors dazzled attendees with their state-of-the-art products and displays. The vast expanse of the venue, framed by soaring floor-to-ceiling windows, offered breathtaking views of the water, passing boats, and the iconic Bay Bridge, setting a picturesque backdrop for the event.


Curated for the Design and Construction Community

Event Director Linda Carrillo, also a specification sales professional with Lighting Systems, shared, "This expo is meticulously curated for the design and construction community." The expo's success can be attributed to its inclusive approach, drawing individuals from diverse lighting related fields, including architects, lighting designers, engineers, general contractors, and electrical distributors, among others.

As of 8:00 am on show day, more than 1,100 of the approximately 1,700 preregistered attendees identified themselves as a specifier. Brandon Thrasher, Senior Principal at HLB Lighting Design, told us that all twelve people from his San Francisco office attended the event.


Full support from Northern California Lighting agents

One important enabler of the Light! Design Expo’s success is the widespread support from nine Northern California lighting agents. Major players like ALR, sixteen5hundred, CAL Lighting, and Lighting Systems had a dominant presence. The event's popularity did present a challenge, with some agents unable to secure enough spots for all interested manufacturers. Beyond lighting displays, the event also offered four free AIA & IES accredited seminars.


Related:  Northern California lighting market »


When asked about the possibility of extending the expo to two days, Carrillo informed us that show stakeholders very much prefer the one-day format but they're always open to feedback to ensure the expo remains optimized for its audience.

Other notable fun facts:

Notable attendees included IES Executive Director, Colleen Harper, and International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD) CEO, Christopher Knowlton.

Beyond lighting, the event tantalized taste buds with a variety of local delicacies. Attendees indulged in gourmet offerings from popular food trucks, including tacos, chicken sliders, eclectic salads, and irresistible gourmet doughnuts. At one point, a queue 11-people deep formed, all eager for a sugary bite of Johnny’s Doughnuts. Numerous bars scattered throughout the event started serving adult beverages at 4:00pm.

For those who missed out on Light! Design Expo 2023 or are eager for the next edition, stay tuned: when dates for Light! Design Expo 2024 are announced they will be posted on the Lighting Industry events calendar.


We hope to see you next year, lighting up San Francisco once again!