An exclusive interview with Rida Mokdad General Manager, Debbas. He talked about the journey of Debbas, the products they offer in the market, the façade lighting industry & the latest technologies, and so on. Read the excerpts below.
Please brief us on the history and objective behind the formation of your company.
For more than a century, Debbas has been integrating innovative lighting solutions and building systems to help architects, designers, and engineers create human spaces with greater emotional value. The relentless pursuit of innovation was the major driving force behind the establishment, in 1910, of “Grand Magasin d’Electricité” in Beirut’s Souk el Gamil. Through his commitment to service excellence, César D. Debbas, the founder, set the stage for an organization that would evolve into the leading lighting integrator known today.
Please highlight briefly your products.
At Debbas, we meet the exact needs of our customers by harnessing the product knowledge of more than 200 international lighting manufacturers and the technical expertise we acquired on a wide range of complex projects, under the most stringent of environments. Our lighting engineering team is an ideal partner dedicated to assisting specifiers throughout the concept development process. Our team will put to use the latest lighting calculations and simulation software to help validate directions and generate precise specification schedules. Debbas engineering services also include the study and specification of the most suitable lighting control systems.
Could you please tell us about a few of your prestigious projects and the innovations you made?
Museum of the Future, Zaha Hadid’s Opus Tower, The Louvre Abu Dhabi by Jean Nouvel, Mubadala Tower and ADGMS Tower, Dubai Opera, Meydan Hotel, The Address Boulevard Hotel, St. Regis Hotel, Rixos Premium Hotel, and many more.
What advantages does Debbas have over its competitors?
We have a passion for innovative lighting that provides human spaces with greater emotional experiences. Our approach consists of assisting specifiers during the design phase of a project and helping contractors with the sourcing and the installation of the right systems.
Debbas offers a wide range of engineering support services to enable consultants to design innovative yet practical lighting schemes. Leading contractors choose Debbas because our solutions are built on the integration of optimized, technically compliant, and competitively priced products and systems. However, it is because of our services, which extend well beyond supply and into custom-built logistics, installation support, and after-sales service that contractors prefer our teams.
Debbas is committed to facilitating and accelerating the job of specifiers and contractors in order to deliver the best solutions, on time and on budget. As a large international buyer of lighting equipment with local knowledge of every market we operate in, Debbas provides accurate and comprehensive budgets for lighting schemes, taking into account project location and local constraints. Debbas is unique in its ability to assist clients and contractors with tendering, making sure everything is technically compliant with original specifications
Could you please tell us about your manufacturing facility and capacity?
Our industrial units are dedicated to the development of quality solutions for the building industry. With our own product development and manufacturing units in Lebanon and France, and in close cooperation with a network of specialized sub-contractors in Europe and Asia, we have a unique ability to deliver bespoke lighting systems able to withstand the most stringent of environmental conditions. From sketches to full scale mock-ups, our Product Engineering teams work closely with leading Architects, Lighting Consultants, and Engineering firms to develop the most intricate lighting systems and structures. We rely on world-class technology and know-how to manufacture custom solutions in-line with the technical, aesthetic, and budget requirements of any given brief.
Debbas is unique in its ability to integrate and deliver a comprehensive and balanced lighting proposal. Our historical relationships with leading architectural lighting manufacturers in Europe and in North America coupled with a large international network of prequalified specialist manufacturers allow us to deliver competitive yet technically compliant lighting proposals for all types of projects. Our teams in charge of operations are able to tackle complex sourcing and logistics scenarios such as the procurement of equipment from a large number of manufacturers across the globe and its delivery on schedule to the project’s site.
Our deep understanding of – and experience with – customs complexities in more than 40 countries enable us to offer smooth, efficient, and integrated logistics to project contractors and installers.
Your views on LED revolution and lighting control. What are the latest trends in lighting systems & lighting controls?
If you break it down, the LED or Light Emitting Diode, is an electronic component powered by electric current. This, in essence, makes the LED a light source with endless possibilities. The quality of light, its ever-increasing output, and efficacy as well as its integrability with digital systems make the LED an intelligent light source capable of emitting and receiving data. Today, the LED is at the centre of systems integration.
What are the future trends & technologies in façade lighting?
Media façade systems are quite sought after as control possibilities are endless. The ability to turn a façade into a communication tool is both aesthetically pleasing and commercially viable. We recently supplied and installed a custom-built media façade system on the Abu Dhabi Global Market Square. The apparatus has been used to mark the UAE’s national day, to ring in the New Year, and most recently to show solidarity with the People of India as they battle hard to beat the pandemic. As for lighting controls, the need today is for energy efficiency, preservation, and maintenance. Our capability to imbed a wide range of sensors in our solutions gives the owner or operator of a building the ability to reduce cost while offering more pertinent lighting based on the use of spaces, the flow of people, and the need for lighting in correlation with the time of day or night. Well-controlled lighting has been proven to have health benefits and impact productivity.
What are the standards, local norms & regulations for outdoor/façade lighting in your region?
Standards vary from market to market. What is important to note is the current global call for the reduction of light pollution which is harmful to the environment and our own health. The progress in optical control, as well as lighting controls, gives our community the ability to put together schemes that reduce light pollution and protect dark skies while preserving the potential for creativity.
What are your plans for the next 4-5 years? Do you have any geographical expansion plans or plans to include new products in your portfolio?
In addition to full lighting solutions, Debbas is aiming to become the go-to integrator of extra low voltage systems created to accompany home and workplace transformation. Our engineers assess the End-user’s current capabilities and address their expectations in order to custom-build a purpose-driven solution. As a strategic partner, Debbas provides its clients with advanced and secure solutions that are integrated with the current tech environment.
We leverage the existing solutions and build upon those by selecting integrable systems that the Customer actually needs. We partner with innovative technology providers to develop integrated systems that address our customer’s home automation, audio-visual, security, lighting controls and daylight management, energy saving, metering, and building data analysis requirements. When put together in a single and easy-to-control environment, these solutions foster efficiency as they fast-track businesses and families towards future-proof goals