What is the history of MK Illumination?

Thomas Mark: Based in Austria, MK Illumination is active on five continents. It has 36 independent subsidiaries and projects in 120 countries. The company’s initially modest annual turnover grew by 100% every year for the first decade of operation. In 2016, we took a record €82 million.

The company has 320 permanent employees – increasing to 400 during peak times – and is constantly improving in terms of technological advancement, creativity, design and trend competence. It first used incandescent light bulbs in 1996, and in 2008 switched to patented, low-energy LEDs made by one of the world’s leading manufacturers. Its ‘buy smart’ quality criteria embrace safety, legality, efficiency and sustainability, assuring customers that they purchase legal, safe, efficient and sustainable lighting products.

Since 1999, our Slovak facility has been making made-to-order lighting designs. The company also has production facilities in England, Denmark, Italy, Romania, South Africa, Turkey and the US.

Today, MK Illumination supplies everything from light chains to spectacular handmade lighting motifs; like our handmade 10m-tall reindeer. At the same time, our design and trend specialists make sure that our projects fit regional and cultural sensibilities. Recent prestige projects include the festive decoration of Zurich and Heathrow airports, for example.

Why is lighting important in a modern airport?

Data shows that passengers want a positive commercial experience from their airport visit. Redefining airports as places that are inviting and entertaining is therefore imperative. Early check-in, security demands and increased traffic make it necessary to stay longer, and a relaxed, satisfied airport customer is twice as likely to shop as someone who is stressed. Lighting, architecture, ease of navigation, cleanliness and friendly personnel are key to success. Creative lighting can be a captivating diversion and serves to entertain passengers while they queue. Sophisticated lighting attracts visitors to cities during the festive season and brings substantial commercial benefits. We help airports achieve the same results.

What kind of services do you offer?

MK Illumination creates tailored experiences for every occasion, offering products and services in lighting, decorations and animation for real estate, the leisure sector and public spaces. The company is a leader in design, innovation, technical excellence and sustainable solutions, managing projects ourselves or cooperating with experienced local partners. We work with renowned lighting designers and artists to develop unique concepts, and actively consult with our customers at every stage. Our expert technicians are trained in the latest installation techniques, and every project is completed to the highest standard using the best equipment, and always in compliance with health and safety regulations. Displays are delivered in mint condition and can be redeployed later, as and when required.

More broadly, why should customers choose MK Illumination?

MK Illumination is only interested in providing the highest quality, sustainable displays that feature the best design competence, creativity and technology. It has a comprehensive product palette and already works with more than 20 airports worldwide.

What lessons have you learned from supplying lights and decorations to airports around the world?

We have gained valuable experience working with airports and so understand the challenges they pose for partners, especially regarding safety. We also know that the role of airports is changing, requiring investment in the customer experience. Because of security issues, passengers are now obliged to arrive earlier and stay longer. Retail is therefore more important, as is creating the right atmosphere for passengers to feel happy and spend money.