Singapore, Weekend 21-22nd April 2018
An unexpected week in Singapore, well almost…due to some visa issues I could not travel this week as planned which resulted in an unexpected week without meetings and commitments! But it did not stay like that for long as I took the opportunity to take people up on “catch up” meets and go to Malaysia midweek for a meeting with Gooee, our first knowledge partner for lighting and the IoT. As I am developing our Lighting Design of Things platform (LDoT) this follow up meeting after Frankfurt, was a welcome day away from the office. It was planned at some point in time in the coming weeks but with this opening in my schedule I jumped on it. Later more.
The relatively “free” week also allowed me to finalise details of our LET Bangkok event as well as continue some work on PLDC. Our practice would not be our practice without some unexpected things happening and this week we finally received the RFP for a big project in Malaysia that was supported with so many design briefs and legal documents that we are still studying what is actually relevant towards putting together a complying fee proposal bid. So, what initially looked like a relatively quiet week turned out to be quite intense after all…
We are now really nearing confirmation on our Gala dinner venue and I think it is going to be a nice one, not even known to many Singaporeans. Once we confirm with the venue we will start developing the theme and concept for the night. Our approaches to the government are really slow with many bureaucratic hurdles, even something simple like getting CPD accreditation seems difficult! The team is working hard on all these details. Like always the confirmation of participants is slow and from experience we will see a wave of registrations just before closing date (end of May) for the early bird rate. For those interested you can register here: (https://pld-c.com/registration/). The first PLDC excursions (the glorious Gardens by the Bay and the award-winning Atlas Bar) have now also been confirmed and are now featured on the PLDC website.
We are finalising the participation of the last sponsors as well discussing the details of PLDC’s participation as a warm up event, with a special PLDC night planned on the Friday night after the day’s proceedings. If we can all make it work that will be great! The promotional campaign is in full swing and both internet and social media are now a regular target of the events promotion. Come join us in Bangkok 10-12 May 2018! My presentation will be about, what else…Lighting Design of Things 😊. So, if you want to know more of what’s cooking in the IoT kitchen of lighting design come and listen to my presentation! For more information visit: (http://www.ledexpothailand.com/international-led-summit.html)
The cutting edge – Jakarta
And, as if we I am not talking enough about LDoT, on the Monday (7th May 2018), prior to the Bangkok event, I have been invited to deliver a keynote address in Jakarta at an event organised for architects, interior designers, developers and key specifiers about the future of lighting. It will be a full day seminar about the cutting edge of lighting, which for me means to enlighten the participants about lighting design and the IoT or as I call it LDoT.
So where am I with that, some of you may want to know. We have now secured our domain name www.lightingdesignofthings.com and are developing a platform where clients, lighting industry players and IoT partners can reach out and connect with each other. After all we now live in a connected world so to me it makes total sense. My midweek trip for technical discussions and strategy planning with Gooee energised my thinking again and with that renewed energy I worked on our presentations in anticipation of the meetings ahead with other future thinking lighting and IoT players that are scheduled in the coming time. More on this in the coming months!
One thing seems to emerge from all that. While everyone in the IoT seems to agree that the trend is irreversible, nobody really knows where exactly we are going, let alone what and when things will be possible. The metaphor I use to explain the speed of development is that of the mobile phone…10 years ago on your old Nokia you could only phone and text, today that has become video calling and social media “apping”. But by far most functions have nothing to do with phoning…drawing, photography, gaming, translating, scanning, paying, you name your mobile phone can do it. It’s not difficult to imagine that with lighting we are rapidly moving in the same direction! If we not want to be caught out by another “Kodak” moment we need to make the switch to LDoT…
On my way to Malaysia I used for the first time Singapore’s newest terminal 4 which is beautifully designed and integrates the most modern and smart technologies. I am not a budget airlines guy, but I was certainly impressed! Well done to all designers, including the lighting designers!
Have a great weekend
Male -Singapore, Weekend 14-15th April 2018
When you travel to exotic places people always assume you are on holiday, regardless if you actually go there to work. This week I am back in the Maldives for our Raffles Hotel project upgrade, our first visit to this site that was held up before due to the state of emergency that was issued by the government. It was lifted a few weeks ago clearing the way for us to visit the site…finally. Yes, I took some idyllic travel brochure pictures, but otherwise we had quite an intensive program to settle design issues for the mock up villa and survey all existing areas against the design proposals made from behind our desk. On the spot design is my favourite way to approach renovations as you can not only get a direct feel for the spatial architecture surroundings, but also get a direct feedback from operations in regards to guest behaviour as well as discuss with engineering what the most common issues are they are dealing with. No point in repeating the same mistakes and learn from the problems they are now facing!
The WIFI here is surprisingly good island wide so in between we had a bit of time to attend to general project issues from our luxury villa.
Not much to update on PLDC, we are still in process to source for our final key note speakers as well as the venue for our gala dinner. The excursions are starting to take shape with guided tours confirmed to the award winning Gardens by the Bay and the iconic Atlas Bar, the world’s best new bar of 2017. Getting the Singapore government to participate has been a painful process with little success so far.
Going into the last month stretch…still looking for some final sponsors as L&B, Light Fair and PLDC are eating up all the little bits of budgets for this year, but otherwise we are looking forward to an exciting work shop and speaker program.
For those who have never been to the Maldives it is perhaps interesting to understand a bit more the impact this remote location has on design and implementation. Just imagine a tiny little island with mangrove and palm trees that takes only 5 mins to walk around. A big generator (some are still diesel powered), hidden at the centre of the island surrounded by the staff quarters, provides electricity to the 20-30 villa’s dotted along the beach, hidden in the vegetation. You literally walk out of your villa straight on to the white sandy beach and after a 5-minute swim in crustal clear blue water, you reach the edge of the reef with beautiful marine life. Reef sharks (about 1m), turtles, manta rays, thousands of colourful fish provide a magical, surreal environment. There are also water villa’s, built on stilts over the water, that allow you to experience this even more directly. Now that is the tourist experience…you enjoy that a couple of days, perhaps a few weeks, then you return to the real world.
Working and living
Now people who actually live and work here…absolutely nowhere to go! The staff quarters are hidden in the middle of the island with basic amenities only. They can’t really go to the beach as this is in principle for the guests! They can’t really go to the city for a day out, because (in our case here) they would need to take a 30 min speed boat ride to the local airport and then take a 1-hour domestic flight up to Male. Besides the fact that it is very expensive it’s also quite an undertaking for a few days away. Visiting other resorts wears off after a while as well! Not surprisingly people selected for management roles are psychologically tested before actually been given the posting…it’s quite a personal investment!
Also bear a thought for the engineering and food preparation team that needs to coordinate logistics to keep it up for the guests in terms of maintenance, services and food provisions. There is nothing here so everything has to be ordered in and then flown and shipped to the island.
We had one sunny and two rainy, stormy days! Imagine making a holiday journey, spending USD 2000 a night to find yourself stuck inside because of bad weather…
Consultants and contractors
Now the bit that concerns us…being the design consultant or contractor tasked with the renovation of the property. All seems beautiful from behind your desk, but only once you reach the site, you realise its not all sun shine…as I mentioned literally everything has to be flown or shipped in at extravagant costs. There are no light bulb shops on the island, except one or two “light shops” in Male 500km away, there is nothing. So it has to be imported from either Sri Lanka, India, Singapore or the Middle East. As you can imagine the banking system is also very limited and customs clearance of anything can take a while because of the limited daily cash resources available to clear goods.
We had our lights flown in to Male, but now at the end of the week waiting, they are still awaiting clearance. Because of costs they are likely be shipped for a journey that will take about 2 days by a relatively fast “speed boat”.
The contractor brought in, is from China and while his men are all living on the island, his main concern is logistics of goods to site. Any site issue you have to deal with it on site with the means that you have for the same reasons…
Not surprisingly budgets are through the roof for these kind of projects and success very much depends on very close communication and coordination between the project team members. I can’t emphasise enough the importance to be on site and understand the issues of remote locations! These projects can never be properly designed from behind the desk!
An idyllic location yes, and the experience enriches you, but in terms of work it is as hands on as can be…
Enjoy the weekend (and the pictures…)
Mood pictures, the site currently…
At night…not much definition, poor contrast and glary lights
The mock up villa’s in process
And then the rain…
Singapore, Weekend 7-8th April 2018
A rather interesting week but with typical experiences commensurate with the life of a lighting designer…never a dull moment :). We are at the start of what is traditionally a very busy season of the year and just looking at my travel schedule is already scary…Male, Perth, Hong Kong/Shenzhen, Penang, Jakarta and Bangkok in just the coming 3-4 weeks! And that is just me…the rest of my team is also on the road…
Several fee proposals are in final stages of negotiations and if they come through we will have our work cut out over the coming months! A happy problem as they say, so no complains. Add to that my “other” activities with the IAC, PLDC, the development of our LDoT platform as well as preparing for my speaker engagements in the coming months and you can see that there are a hype of activities going on!
We are getting close to securing the venue for the gala dinner, now waiting for the PLDC team to decide on the go or no go. We are looking into nominating some warm up events in the lead up to the main event in October as well as engaging with the government, associations and universities to secure possible participation in the pre-convention meetings in regards to a smart cities and educators forum…still a lot of work to do! The main speaker program is confirmed, now we are looking at securing the key note speakers. Arjan de Boer, who stole our hearts with his presentation at our Shanghai International Lighting Fair – Lighting Design Agora event last year was this week confirmed as our first keynote speaker.
LET Bangkok and SILF Shanghai
With the IAC I am also directly involved in the organisation of I-Light Connect in Bangkok this coming May and the Lighting Design Agora in Shanghai in September. The Bangkok event is finalised, invitations sent out and attendance arrangements being organised. In Bangkok I will be delivering in my first Light Tech-Talk, loosely based on the TED talks, in which I will be presenting my vision in regards to our Lighting Design of Things ™ (LDoT) about the future of Lighting Design and the IoT. For those able to attend, please join us 10-11 May. The Shanghai event is also shaping up to be an exciting event. More news over the coming months.
Projects and projects
There are projects and projects and until you start a project you generally don’t really know what is in store for you. Yes from background research or previous experiences you can anticipate how projects will go, but event within the participating client representatives and project consultants things may vary from person to person! This week was a typical example of extremes in the various projects that we are currently servicing.
Poor project management
We all suffer from it at times in two of my projects this was blatantly on display this week, both newly started projects. We had recently been appointed for a multi building infra-structure and façade lighting project in Johor Bahru, just over the causeway from Singapore, but contractual matters took a while to settle. Just before our trip to Frankfurt the contract was signed off and of course when the kick off meeting was requested we were in Germany! No issue, a new date was set on our return. However, we had yet to receive the drawing and detail package from the architect to get started. The client asked us to present the full concept on our first meeting, also in general no problem, but with the meeting scheduled this week on Wednesday time was getting tight. We received the drawings finally by COB last week literally leaving us only two days to work out something. For the sake of continuity (and the fact that I was actually available to go to this kick off meeting) we forged ahead and put a decent concept on the table that was well received. However as I had already informed the client it was just a direction as we had not been able to coordinate anything with the architect, let alone make sure the concept was financially viable. During the meeting the client told us the budget and after forewarning them we worked out later in the week that the budget needed would probably be 10x more! It is so important to be clear about budgets and have sufficient time to coordinate that with the team before presenting!
The other project (a hotel resort renovation and upgrade in the Maldives) had been held up by the recent state of emergency, but poor communication from the client resulted in no-one being able to be on site for coordination at the same time, with the mock up room to be ready next week! The landscape consultant is there this week, we are going next week, the interior designer the week thereafter and the operator sometimes thereafter…so much different with our other Maldives project (same operator, different client) where everything is well coordinated with short turn arounds between the team members. The first I am sure will struggle to complete within the time schedules with “holes” in the final end result, the latter is on course to become an award-winning resort!
To the point or forever dragging on…
Related to this are projects where the management team is either in control (generally top management is involved) or dragging on for ages (read years!), generally the result of junior management trying to overdo it. Our golf resort project in Desaru is one of those. Technically completed 2 years ago we are still assisting the client in the defects and liability rectifications and would you believe that 9 trips to site later it is still not completed! Hopeless contractor, incapable management. This week I informed the client that we no longer would follow up…
In contrast our cool and hip city hotel project in KL with award winning interior designers Neri & Hu, has been a pleasure to work for. Grace went to KL this week to start the first phase of the testing and commissioning with another round to go later in May before the official opening. Attentive project management, dedicated contractor, great client… a world of difference! Below some mood pics shot by Grace during her first round of aiming, focussing and commissioning work.
Can’t wait to see the completed end result, well done to the team!
Have a great weekend!
the difference aiming and focussing can make…right before, left after aiming the lights
Singapore, Weekend 31-1st April 2018
After hardly a day in the office on Monday, quickly catching up with my team, it was off to Shanghai the next day and with this Friday being a public holiday, that was the rest of my week done. I flew to Shanghai for a long overdue design coordination meeting and site visit for our Xitang project, that had kindly been postponed in consideration of our Frankfurt trip. For those who do not travel often (to China) for projects, let me share some of the typical experiences that were on show this trip this week. For some of you this may bring a smile of recognition on your face…
First let me state that we are lucky with this project client, he respects our expertise (we are the only foreign consultant!) as we were brought on board on recommendation of the interior designer with whom we have completed several other projects successfully (recently our award winning Alila Yangshuo project). The client takes care of my business class flights, pays the full hotel bill, makes sure you are well fed and provides a driver for all transportation needs. Everything is really well take care off, which does make you feel respected and appreciated as the lighting expert.
One note to make is to be careful having your client pay directly for your flights. While it makes sense from administration point of view (no upfront costs) you have to realise you relinquish control of your flights. It has happened to me before that my client wanted me to stay longer and unilaterally (without even consulting!) change my return flight! No complaints with this client here though.
Expectations and anticipation
With the high recommendation also comes great expectations. As a “foreigner” the rest of the Chinese team looks at you expecting some special magic and “big” deliveries every time you present or utter your opinion. I have learned my lessons in the past, even if you have not much to present or update, make sure that whatever you bring along or present is well prepared and more then they expect. For that reason, we did spent the little time we had on Monday putting together a neat presentation, spruced up with some “never before seen footage” 😊. China is very much a country of quantities and quality is often measured by the quantity of your delivery.
Meetings and the blame game
Knowing what the client and the team around the meeting table expect is half the battle won. While our design update was not much I felt grateful my team had put together more than was expected even attracting some applause at the end of our presentation. By anticipating their expectations, we had delivered right on the dot.
Chinese meetings can be pretty nasty and weak presentations are pounded on directly. Two reasons why that happens, first because people like to show off, so being able to find fault in others somehow shows you as knowing what you are doing. Secondly, focussing on others weaknesses diverts attention from yourself if you know you have not done your “homework”. By anticipating and preparing well you can avoid being “blamed” for poor deliveries.
In these “Chinese” meetings specifically hierarchy is very important. The boss comes in last, when every one is seated and should the bosses’ boss come in later on, we duly start back from the beginning. The more important you are the closer you sit to the boss. Often there are second rows of subordinates sitting behind their project principals. I have often questioned about why they are there then being there to see how “important” their boss is. That the boss answers his mobile phone in the middle of your presentation is a show of his superiority. It is not difficult to see how inefficient these meetings can be. Add in my case the translation aspect (adding extra time to translate back and forth from English to Chinese) and you will have no problem understanding that we needed our two full days in meetings, including the regular summaries and recaps 😊
Sneaky ways to save money
Money is a universal human driver around the world but in my view never so prominent as in China. Anything for a dollar I have said before. It is always on display when they ask us to approve samples. The contractor is normally the one trying to save money and he will lure you to approve the cheapest light fittings. We were asked for the same during this trip as well. We had done some value engineering prior and were expecting to see all options, but when we were shown the “samples” we were only shown what looked like the low-end range. This also tends to happen in mock up rooms were they sneakily install the cheap alternative hoping you will not notice and approve it 😊.
What was touted as IP65 or so rated fitting did not look like it. On questioning their testing procedures, we were told it was done inhouse…ah, I see, ok so it has to be ok then…I have seen these tests in Chinese factories…I can tell you its not a certified test!
Wining and dining
Finally no trip is complete without wining and dining, a part of the culture even though it has been under heavy scrutiny by the government. We had our fair share of that as well with bottles of expensive wine and Moutai going by the dozens! There are techniques to survive that, but these are stories for another time!
Have a great Easter weekend!
Here are some impressions of our trip. The project will complete in December but already some parts are looking good…
Netherlands, Weekend 24-25th March 2018
After an average of nearly 15,000 steps a day according to my Samsung Fit Pro Watch (yes, I succumbed to it…) I am now recovering from the L&B, Frankfurt 2018 experience at my mum’s place in Holland. With our manufacturers meetings and booth tours planned every 30 mins to an hour over 3 days, it felt well organised but very intensive, with hardly time to breathe…
Light & Build 2018
Our mission with the team was to find out what is cooking in the manufacturers kitchen specifically in regards to smart lighting and the IoT. In 2 weeks’ time back in our Singapore office we will have an innovation workshop with the team to debrief and convert what we have seen into useful concepts and potentially new lighting design strategies.
It was interesting to note that there was actually very little on IoT with many still focussing on tuneable (circadian) lighting, albeit with some smarter controls. Human Centric Lighting still seems to be a focus for many, but from my point of view as lighting designers we have always been designing with people foremost in mind adapting to the new technology opportunities along the way. What I was really expecting (read: hoping) to see was the way IoT is finding its way into lighting. Many talk about it but besides a handful of the bigger companies there were little new players of note. The usual suspects like Philips, Samsung, IGuzzini, Xicato are openly promoting the new age of IoT but for most the commercialisation is still some time away, though many pilot projects are currently on the way.
To satisfy my curiosity I attended a Philips seminar about the IoT moderated by Paul James (Arc Magazine) but felt that the discussion was rather observational in nature with the president of the IALD (one of the panel members) even having a sceptical wait and see stance towards the IoT. Personally, I feel this is a Kodak moment year, where you need to embrace the IoT and you jump in to see how lighting design can remain relevant by making sure the lighting designer retains overall control when lights are the host to sensors and other data infra-structures. Failing to do so may result into lighting designers left behind at the train station with the IoT train already leaving the platform. Already we were recently confronted by a client appointing a smart consultant (instead of the lighting designer!) to deal with the necessary smart lighting systems! I am just saying…
Interestingly big players like Philips, Zumtobel and Osram are now all openly promoting Light as a Service. We are exploring this as part of our own services profile as well these days and while most of these are still pilot projects, they may well become mainstream soon. Couple of years ago no one had heard of Uber or AirBnB, now it is a s mean stream as it can be…
Overall, I did not feel a lot of excitement on the fair this year, certainly not in regards to the IoT, but there are distinctively things cooking in many kitchens…new developments coming to a screen near you soon!
Meeting my followers
I would like to pay tribute to the many of you who follow my blog. I had the pleasure of meeting some of you in person (you know who you are!) which was a very gratifying experience. As I write my blog and share my experiences as a lighting designer I don’t realise how I affect others in the industry, but meeting some of you personally at L&B this year and hearing your stories on how my blogs have impacted on your lives and provided inspiration and motivation to carry on in the lighting industry was very humbling! Thank you for coming up to me and sharing!
Light & Build in pictures
The best way to share my impressions of the 2018 L&B edition is through pictures. Here is a snapshot. It is by no means complete, as I did not “snap” a pic everywhere I went. Some more possibly in the weeks to come.
Have a great weekend and for those who went to L&B speedy recovery!
Some smart & IoT manufacturers: Gooee/ Artemide/ Philips/ Samsung/ Xicato/ IGuzzini/ AEC/ Selux/ Filix/ Soraa
Above the Philips IoT seminar
Below, the wonderful world of Coelux, artificial skylights
Virtual reality at IGuzzini; a very interesting immersive experience!
…and the Iguzzini party
Acoustic lights, several companies developed acoustic panel lights
Signing of one of my projects at the Luci stand:
With my team at the Asia Pacific Dinner organised by IGuzzini
Images of Frankfurt and the Luminale
Vienna, Weekend 17-18th March 2018
This weekend my blog is coming to you from Vienna in Austria. I am here with my team in the lead up to L&B that is starting from this Sunday. As we have done in the past, we tag one or two factory visits to our L&B schedule and this time we decided to visit the XAL factories in Graz and Slovenia, with Vienna as our port of call prior to Frankfurt.
Designers from our Perth, Jakarta and Singapore office convened in Frankfurt from where we took a connecting flight to Vienna mid-week. Once in Vienna we joined an international group of about 40 people, a mix of XAL suppliers , interiors designers, architects and of course lighting designers from countries as diverse as India, Indonesia, Singapore, China and South America.
No update on PLDC this week, we will catch up at L&B next week.
Vienna, XAL and Zaha Hadid
Our first stop in Vienna was to visit some of the XAL projects in the city with as highlight the Zaha Hadid designed main campus building at the University of Economics and Business. The masterplan had called for different architects to design different zones at the university campus and the result is a very interesting mix of architectures. A professional architectural guide provide historical and architectural background information about the campus with the XAL boys providing the lighting input. Later in the evening, those who were not too much affected by jetlag enjoyed a tour of the historic ancient city centre. Having never been to Vienna before (yes. unbelievable I know) I really enjoyed the majestic palaces, museums and historic buildings, most of them beautifully and tastefully lit. The history drips from the buildings…you can just imagine how it would have been centuries ago, certainly when you hear the horse and carriages click-clack on the cobble stones. Many of the historic architectural buildings, though oozing a distinct different feel, certainly reminded me of my beloved Paris.
Graz, XAL head quarters
The next morning we departed early for our 2 hour bus trip to Graz where we were warmly welcomed by the XAL team. We toured the premises that now mostly functions as the head office with the sales, design and development team, together with the technical testing and measuring labs. All testing and certification of light fixtures I understood is done in-house. In the afternoon we engaged in a lively presentation of both the XAL products as well as the Wevre & Ducre range, now also part of the XAL family. The Nano series particularly are a very interesting product development excelling in its compactness, miniaturisation and versatility. XAL’s strength typically are in the corporate, commercial retail and lifestyle applications. One of the main reasons for choosing to do this trip to XAL is to get a first-hand touch and feel of the product capabilities as till recently we had not used much of them in our specifications. It is often about what and who you know and I believe that this trip will reinforce our knowledge and confidence in this brand. Establishing a direct relationship with the team behind the product is critical to our success.
On my question whether XAL is moving into the future in terms of controls and smart systems I was pleased to see that their Zigbee driven infra-structure is taking shape most promisingly. With KLD’s drive towards LDoT an important development for us to note.
In the evening we adjourned to a winery for an increasingly joyous dinner and wine tasting. We certainly could not fault XAL on their hospitality! Luckily the bus driver did not drink…😊
XAL Manufacturing, Murska Sobota, Slovenia
Our last day was reserved for the main factory about an hour’s drive from Graz just over the border in Slovenia. Government incentives and other tax breaks had lured the family company to establish the manufacturing there and after the latest expansion that started operation last year, XAl can now boost about an 11,000m2 production facility. With a double digit yearly growth the companies turnover last year reached about 115 Million Euro’s, quite an achievement. With the latest robotics warehousing and component storage, top of the range machinery and powder coating/ painting facilities the factory looked everything you would expect from this high quality brand. With personal explanations from the factory manager himself we got a close up understanding on how products are manufactured, treated and assembled. Amazing that up to 3000 to 4000 different product variants are being produced every month…
A big thank you to the XAL team led by Xavier Nieto, for going out of the way to make this visit meaningful. It certainly was for my team…
Next week, Light & Build!
Weekend 10-11th March 2018
Another busy week, no let-up in sight and with the team flying off to Europe next week to attend Light & Build and do some factory visits in conjunction, there was a lot of pressure to get as much done as possible before we leave as the office will be in a virtual close down for nearly 10 days with just a skeleton team in attendance. This meant a lot of project meetings and rushing to complete design packages for submission to clients before we leave.
This week was busy too with visiting a few more potential venues for the Gala Dinner. One in particular is our favourite, a unique and totally unexpected venue, even for Singaporeans! Fingers crossed we can make that work. We confirmed the lighting designer for the gala dinner and had initial communications/ discussions with the Singapore government agencies to explore cooperation in pre-convention events. It’s a slow process as we mill through the bureaucratic layers, we are getting there. One of the key opportunities we are exploring is to make the convention eligible for CPD points and for that we had our discussions with the Singapore Institute of Architects…I have to say I did not realise the intensity of my involvement when I agreed to be the local steering committee member…but I am enjoying the challenge!
As we are moving our services towards the Lighting Design of Things with IoT becoming a key factor in many client’s decision making, we have now a few projects that offer genuine prospects to put our knowledge and expertise in lighting and the IoT to the test. Through partnerships and cooperation with IoT leaders in the lighting industry we are now genuinely working on our first IoT project, a big multi-level corporate office. We are keen to see what can be offered and which of the options the client will want to incorporate. It is an educational process for all involved, us, the client and the lighting systems provider.
Philips IoT Leader
One of the market leaders in lighting and the IoT is Philips. A recent research by Navigant Research put Philips at the top of the leader board (see graph below). Not surprisingly our team went for an educational and inspirational trip to Philips brand new headquarters in Toa Payoh this week to get ourselves updated on the latest state of the art lighting IoT progress as well as visits their lighting application centre showing the latest smart products and systems. Seeing is believing, so this trip allowed us to physically see it for ourselves. A follow up will be done at the Philips stand in Frankfurt at L&B. We had live demonstrations of the Luminous Walls, Patterns and Carpets and got ourselves updated with the latest smart systems in outdoor sports, the public realm, façade lighting and lighting for hospitality. In a conference room environment, we experienced the demonstration of smart IoT functions integrated in light fixtures. It is clear that IoT is no longer a dream or concept but a reality that can already been proposed to clients. While many IoT challengers are still in pilot project stage, Philips has moved into the real lighting market with commercially available solutions.
LiFI a reality
We were privileged to experience as one of the very first lighting design practices to get a life demonstration by Philips of LiFi in action. While it is still confidential it will be revealed at Light and Build so I am not breaching much confidentiality by sharing the news…we experienced first-hand how lighting points provide a seamless internet connection. There is still much to be developed as now the data transfer still occurs in the visible light spectrum. It is not a secret that those active in this field of LiFi are researching ways to move the data transfer to the invisible part of light (infra-red) so that visible light can be switched off without interrupting the LiFi transmissions. One of the LiFi producers already manages its data uploads in this spectrum. We saw it in action and there is no doubt that it is not a matter of if but when that LiFi will be the common way to transfer internet and cloud data in interior spaces. I think it adds a really exciting new prospect to our lighting designs…
Have a great weekend!
Weekend 3-4th March 2018
The interesting thing about our lighting design profession is that no week is the same, nearly no day is the same and most of all we can hardly predict how the week will unfold. I believe this holds for many in the design or consultancy industry. Project demands fluctuate due to economic aspects, site issues, local requirements, bureaucracy, unexpected delays, weather conditions, I can go on with a whole list of potential factors influencing the progress of a project. Likewise, decision making about new projects is unpredictable. We have times were project RFP’s are scarce and we have times when they just pour in. This is one of the big challenges of a design practice being flexible to accommodate these fluctuations and have the ability to adapt to these unexpected changes and demands. Time is money and hence time and its management is the commodity that we trade in.
This week saw a mixed bag of all of this. Sudden requirements to travel to site, accelerated kick off meeting for a project after appointment…you never know how long it takes an owner to conform your appointment…let alone letting you know you got the job. So we got another one confirmed this week and surprise, surprise please come for a kick off meeting straight away…
My Steering Committee work for PLDC Singapore kept me busy as well, engaging with government and scouting for potential venues for our Gala dinner. If you look for a venue that can accommodate up to 1000 persons which is not a hotel ballroom, you soon find out there are not many! Like MBS being an iconic venue for the convention, we really would like to find a location that will be a bit out of the ordinary. Everyone so far will remember the film studio’s in Rome for instance…we visited a few this week, but while being nice locations, not fully suitable. We are eyeing a potential venue now that I will visit beginning next week, but I will keep that under wraps to keep the surprise element. I also had further meetings with the government in regards to preconvention meetings and by the looks of it we have 2 out 4 key note speakers confirmed…I will leave it to announce them in due time by the PLDC team.
Mid week saw me going to Jakarta to follow up on our World Traced Centre (WTC 3) project that is nearing completion…the devil is as always in the details so in order to resolve some site issues of potential glare and reflection the architect and my self met on site with the client to make decisions. You can talk about it for hours but one hour on site together and we resolved / decided on what needed to be done to everyone’s satisfaction. Solutions are most of the time compromises, lighting wise as well as architecturally. Architects who like to use reflective stones like marble don’t seem to understand that you will see the lights (their brightness) reflected…an age long discussion…this particular project has highly polished marble on both walls and floors so you can imagine the dilemma. I think we resolved the situation as good as we can given the materials used through aiming and the use of louvres…
While in Jakarta I decided to stay at the Raffles Hotel (a project we completed 2 years ago) to see how it was looking and meet with the GM to get his feedback. The current GM had replaced the one that managed the opening at the time and as is often the case he had no knowledge of the history and was trying to fix issues that we had pointed out at hand over. The owner had refused to spent more money on fixing it and now the current GM is holding the hot potato…My local Jakarta team will follow up to fix these issues which to no surprise are related to badly dimming LED (client induced cheaper alternatives, which we had not approved). Hopefully we can now finally get that right. Otherwise the hotel looks great and to no surprise is receiving much acclaim. See a short video clip of the typical guestroom here.
MNC Plenary Hall
Money, money, money…its always about the dollar’s and cents. With still part of our contract (the final testing and commissioning) outstanding, I decided to make a cold call to site to see where the project is at. The unfortunate thing in this project was the unexpected shock passing away of the project manager resulting in total breakdown in communication. As luck had it on arrival I bumped into the big boss, who was happy to see me but totally unaware that we had yet to properly commission the project. We visited the venue, a purposely build plenary hall design in theatre style allowing for up to 2000 people to be present at live reality TV shows. We had free hand in designing the ceiling and stage layout. While the venue is already sporadically in use for shows, there are still some lights missing and programming is yet to be done. My spontaneous visit resulting in a commitment to invite us as back soon as possible to finish the job…the implication being that I can then finally close the file and bill for the final part of the contract…
Finally for those who are in Jakarta regularly you would know the traffic jams we have to endure at times to reach our destinations…below some pics of a typical backroad we sometimes take to avoid these jams…adventurous at times. What struck me along the high ways is the desolate state of some of the billboards. The good old-fashioned billboards with their protruding floodlights are now mostly disused having made way for modern day LED billboards. See some pics below. On arrival back in Singapore I noticed an even more sophisticated bill board a double dynamic moving LED screen welcoming travellers into Singapore…progress?
Enjoy the weekend!
Weekend 24-25th February 2018
A busy week it was! I have so many pots cooking on the kitchen stove that it was quite a juggling act this week to make sure everything cooked along nicely. RFP’s keep coming in with another few new projects confirmed this week, keeping the flying start to the new year well alive! Is this a sign of a great year to come? Fingers crossed…
PLDC work picked up again after the CNY holidays with further searches for a large size gala dinner venue able to accommodate 500 to 1000 people a challenging task (suggestions anybody?) and approaches to the government to explore cooperation in the preconvention program. The Via team worked on some introduction brochures to go with our approaches and further progress was made in regards to the potential excursion program.
One of my prime missions now is to develop LDoT (Lighting Design of Things). There is no doubt that the industry is changing rapidly and I am reaching out to potential IoT partners to make sure proper lighting design is not shoved aside by IT engineers ignorant of the importance of lighting, blinded by their strive to implement IoT. Where lighting is used as host for data/ IoT functions a lighting designer needs to remain involved at all times, hence my relentless efforts in this matter. and implement IoT. I immediately jumped in to question their responsibility when there was talk about LiFi and using light as a host. I have now been invited to do a presentation to the team about what we can offer in the LDoT…thank you! I am more than ever convinced that we as a profession need to quickly wake up and jump into action before the IoT train has left the station! I certainly will be on it!
For the lighting manufacturers the same holds…you need to embrace the IoT or be prepared to be left behind. It will be our key focus during the upcoming Light & Build in Frankfurt, to look for the latest in IoT lighting developments. One company who is taking the lead in Singapore is the Passionate Lighting group, who’s founder and principal, Michael Chia was recently awarded Entrepreneur of the Year 2017. Michael and his team are developing an IoT pole, named I-Core, and I was privileged to have a sneak preview this week. While still in full development, I am excited about the concept and predict it will be a winner in the near future. As the name suggest it is built around an IoT core to which modular elements (lighting and non-lighting elements) can be added simply…to be continued!
Fast evolving smart technologies
During the week reading through some LikedIn posts I happened to read about a number of new innovations and smart developments including lighting drones. I mentioned the 1200+ lighting drones used in the Olympic Games opening ceremony 2 weeks ago, this week I saw a report about the Bellaggio Casino in Las Vegas (the one with the fountain) that had added a permanent (250) drone light show above its building every night! Click here
Then there was the LED drive over road crossing tested in London with road embedded LEDs creating a LED zebra crossing activated by approaching pedestrians changing back in a normal road after the pedestrian crossed the road…is that the future? Click here
Finally two stories about charging. One where light is used to charge devices and one where roads have been designed with embedded charges, allowing motorists to charge their car while driving over that stretch of charge road…clever! The other one using light to charge devices like mobile phones and tablets. Click here
We live in an ever-changing world where AI and IoT are gradually taking over. We definitely have to become experts in the LDoT if we want to survive as lighting designers in this world!
Have a great weekend!
Perth – Singapore
Weekend 17-18 February 2018
Happy Chinese New Year of the Earth Dog
Gong Xi Fa Cai!
Exploring new opportunities…