LIGHTING THE WAY
MK Illumination creates True Light Experiences and offers custom end-to-end lighting solutions, as well as an extensive range of commercial lighting, lighting design and lighting related products. Here, RLI speaks with Managing Director Oktay Sureka about the company’s global expansion and what the future holds.
A worldwide organisation, MK Illumination prides itself on applying a combination of international experience and local expertise to create the best solutions for its clients. The company creates seasonal, permanent lighting and decorative solutions as well as lighting sculptures that can be used in a variety of settings.
They work with clients from a range of sectors, from shopping centres, cities and airports to hotels, leisure and corporate spaces. “We started life as a company specialising in festive decorative lighting and last year we became the world market leader in this area with a local presence in 40 countries,” explains Oktay Sureka, Managing Director of MK Illumination.
“The company’s evolution owes a lot to the continuous expansion of our products and services, both in-house and through the acquisition and merger of other companies into MK Illumination over the years.” Continued growth occurred in 2018 and the business now currently employs more than 1,000 people worldwide, it delivered 4,000 projects over the course of the past year and is on track to report a global turnover of 130M.
One of the most exciting MK projects that completed in 2018 also saw a personal objective be achieved by Sureka, with the completion of the unique project for Downtown Dubai by Emaar Properties, where festive decoration had never been a consideration. “We created a stunning atmosphere in Downtown Dubai with a custom-designed concept and unique products. We worked with MK Illumination designers across the globe to bring the idea to life and in fact, 12 designers worked for more than a month to help us attain the desired result.” Another major project for the business was the Westfield Shopping Centre in London.
Working closely with well known design house Millington on the project, MK was able to realise their vision using the highest quality products and newest technologies within a very short timeframe. “The result was a lighting and decorative installation with over 3,500 individually animated balls placed throughout the mall, with many different themes that filled the centre with a magical and impressive atmosphere,” says Sureka.
The current economic climate has meant the company has been careful in its diversification, and they have built their teams to be flexible. The result of this is that they are quite resilient. They may have a temporary downturn in one country or region, but by involving local teams in global projects in challenging times, they are able to continue growing globally each year.
Presumably, the ability to create exciting and attractive destinations is all the more important in the current climate? “Helping our clients turn spaces into exciting and attractive destinations by adding atmosphere and creating experiences have always been an essential part of what we offer.
We will continue to do this because we think that creating experiences is essential whatever the economic climate,” Sureka explains. Creating lasting partnerships has always been paramount to MK Illumination, and to build these relationships they take a partnership approach with clients, in which they take time to understand what their challenges are, thinking in and out of the box and working closely together with them at all times and by finding the right solutions for their needs, often offering them approaches that build on the latest trends and technologies.
The importance of social media cannot be underestimated in 2019, and MK has recognised just how pivotal these mediums can be. An example of its importance was when they launched their Ramadan lighting and decoration at Emaar’s Mall of the Emirates, social media was flooded with images of the lights and of people enjoying the lights and sharing their delight.
“You can’t buy that sort of exposure, so we make sure our clients understand how we can help them build an attraction into their space that visitors feel compelled to share.” Sureka feels that the biggest challenge is always change, and today change is happening at a faster pace than ever before. While this pressure won’t go away, he says the company is fortunate that they are facing the challenge of time and change with a competent team and is confident that as a team, they can overcome these challenges to deliver future projects that will exceed expectations.
So what does he believe are the key drivers behind the success of MK Illumination? “From my perspective, it’s clear that having a local presence and local understanding and being able to leverage our international experience are important. Also being a solution partner instead of a sales-driven company, continually developing our offerings and ourselves, and maintaining our reputation for exceptional quality have all been key drivers of success here at MK Illumination,” Sureka concludes.