Inaugural [d]arc sessions a success

(Greece) – Networking event sees top designers and lighting suppliers meet on the beautiful island of Mykonos for two-days of meetings and educational talks.

Making its debut at the beautiful, five-star Royal Myconian Hotel in Mykonos, Greece,  [d]arc sessions is a brand-new event organised by [d]arc media in association with Hix, built around connecting people involved in lighting specification projects around the world in an intimate, exclusive setting.

In an era when every business trip must be accounted for, the drive for [d]arc sessions was to get specifiers and suppliers together for a series of one-to-one meetings, away from the hectic hustle and bustle of a typical trade show, where there is no guarantee of who you are going to see. 

Held from 5-7 October, a curated guest list of 20 suppliers and 40 specifiers (lighting designers, architects, and interior designers) made the journey to the stunning island of Mykonos for two days of face to face, in-person meetings, networking, and socialising – a welcome relief after 20 months of remote working and webinars. 

Over the course of two days, four dedicated Speed+Sync “sessions” saw suppliers and specifiers attend a series of 20-minute meetings where they could sit down and discuss the latest products, projects, trends, and innovations in the industry, with the goal of generating leads, specifying products, and forming new working relationships.

Alongside the Speed+Sync sessions, the event featured a series of panel discussions around some of the industry’s biggest topics. On the first day, Sanjit Bahra, Director of DesignPlusLight, Stephanie Harris, Senior Designer at dpa lighting consultants, and Staffan Tollgård, Creative Director of Tollgård Design discussed design in a post-Covid world and how the global pandemic has impacted on their approaches, if at all.

On the second day, the topic of sustainability and the circular economy was discussed by Filippo Lodi, Associate Director at UNStudio, Laura Suico, Senior Lighting Designer at Foster + Partners, and Gé Hulsmans, Director Specifier Service at eldoLED; the final panel talk saw Rose Murray, Director of These White Walls, Sabine De Schutter, founder of Studio De Schutter and Sanjit Bahra cover issues surrounding equality in the design community. From race to gender and sexuality, the free-flowing, open discussion welcomed participation from the audience, leading to a very positive dialogue about one of the biggest issues in the design community.

The conference programme was capped off by a keynote presentation from Eleftheria Deko, who shared with the audience the story of the incredible, multiple [d]arc award-winning lighting design for the Acropolis of Athens. The inspirational talk was a big hit with the delegates in attendance, who were moved by the passion and enthusiasm that Deko put into this landmark project.

Following the Speed+Sync sessions, the event made use of its five-star surroundings with evening entertainment spread across its multiple restaurants each night. Here, delegates enjoyed exquisite local food, socialised and continued conversations initiated earlier in the day.

On the final evening, additional entertainment came with some traditional Greek plate smashing and sirtaki dancing to the soundtrack of Zorba’s Dance.

Looking back on the event, Paul James, [d]arc media Managing Director, said: “[d]arc sessions was an unmitigated success. I was absolutely delighted with the response from our delegates to this new event in the lighting specification calendar. 

“The delegates’ enthusiasm and positivity, coupled with the beautiful surroundings, made [d]arc sessions a pleasure to organise.

“[d]arc sessions is a unique event and a new way to get specifiers and suppliers to network with each other. Based on the feedback, both groups thoroughly enjoyed it and got so much from it.

“We will be organising more [d]arc sessions next year and we are currently looking at new locations, starting in the Middle East. We hope to welcome even more delegates in the future.”

Among the delegates in attendance, Gorazd Malačič, Managing Director at Tokio, said: “[d]arc sessions exceeded our expectations! It was very well organised, set in a beautiful location and with great attendance of high-profile lighting and interior designers. It was a relaxed event where we were able to get the full designers’ attention. We will definitely come back for the second edition!”

Jose Peramo, Key Account Manager at Sakma, added: “We are very surprised about the good result and response, this being our first time at this kind of event. In my opinion, the format is perfect to get in contact with the appropriate people and have the choice to meet with whom you’re really interested in – good talks, good feelings and good vibes.”

Walter Långstedt of Saas Instruments added: “The [d]arc sessions at Mykonos were a great way to kickstart our path towards normality and being able to meet clients face to face. Because it had been 18 months since our last encounter with an international client we were really pumped, and to our delight so was everybody we met during the trip as well. Feedback on our light fittings and projects was really good and we felt the potential for future collaborations was very real. Thanks to darc magazine!”

Amongst the specifiers in attendance, Darren Orrow, Director at into, said: “Well done to [d]arc media and Hix for putting together [d]arc sessions – a seriously well organised event connecting industry leaders in lighting design. Some great new partnerships established over a series of informal meetings, lunches and dinners. The beautiful location and sunshine was a bonus.”

Laura Suico of Foster + Partners added: “It has been an incredible experience, the perfect format and location to share design ideas and new trends for the future. I think the format works really well and the informal context helped the networking a lot, everyone was feeling more relaxed compared to when we are in our offices.” Meanwhile, Rose Murray of These White Walls added: “[d]arc sessions really stood out from the usual ‘conference’ events, and I feel quite honoured to have joined you all – and I have learned more about LED drivers than I knew existed.”

Eleftheria Deko continued: “After the Covid lockdown periods, it was great to be among so many lighting colleagues again, and to also share our journey of the lighting of the Acropolis. I would like to thank the [d]arc media team for the invitation to participate and to share with everyone our experience of this amazing project. A big bravo to the 

[d]arc team and everybody involved for all the efforts to bring the lighting community together.”

www.darcsessions.com

Images: Gavriil Papadiotis (www.gavriilux.com)