Singapore – Mumbai – Bangkok – Singapore, Weekend 17-18th November 2018
As relatively quiet last week may have looked like, the more hectic and faster pace this week has been. From Singapore to Mumbai, on to Bangkok and back to Singapore, with meetings in Singapore on Monday before departure and Friday back on return, with very little sleep in between. I was glad to finally have a full night sleep last night…
Before leaving for Mumbai I first had a project kick off meeting for a new prestigious restaurant in Singapore (our award winning and successful Atlas Bar project seems to have attracted some interest from new clients in the F&B sector). The project is confidential for now, but I am looking forward to share it with you once we get going. The meeting was followed by a conference call (tender follow up interview) for one of our projects in Malaysia where we are shortlisted for final confirmation. While they gave us the impression that it was more a matter of when rather than if in regards to our appointment, I have no illusion they may have spoken in the same way to the other shortlisted practice. Official appointment confirmation due in December…
A bit of ranting first…For my trip to India I had reluctantly accepted to fly one of the national carriers to fly to Mumbai as SQ was fully booked with little other options available to meet the project meeting time schedules. The airline listed the Dreamliner as the aircraft, so I thought how bad can it be…well it was…while I was prepared for the lesser service and food offerings…my business class seat reclining was hardly working and my TV screen had to be rebooted no less than 6 times (!) after which it still did not work. The remote was not working and the so-called touch screen was so far away that I had to unbuckle myself to even reach the screen. It did not work either anyhow. I decided to take it on the chin and just go to sleep in half-half reclined seat position. Strangely enough 30 mins before landing my TV screen decided it was going to work again…out of itself…
The return overnight flight was a total disaster. I thought that as long as I have a flat bed I can at least sleep. But lo and behold they had changed the aircraft from a Dreamliner to a 20-year-old A320 with seats only reclining about 10 degrees! Reason for the change? Not enough passengers to justify the Dreamliner…I can tell you the mood in the business class section was foul! I would not be surprised if many will file a complaint. I am considering…specifically as I had a connecting flight to Bangkok on arrival in Singapore in the early morning. Having some sleep on the overnight flight was really elementary in the overall scheme of my schedule…I did manage to have a quick shower in the lounge, but you can imagine how the lack of sleep impacted on the rest of my day! Not an airline I will reuse anytime soon…
Ranting aside, I did have a great time with fruitful meetings in Mumbai. The project had been on hold for about a year but we are back steaming ahead with the mock up room soon to be completed and the rest of the project’s design development moving fast forward. The meetings were held in the architect’s office in downtown Mumbai and saw the whole project team coordinating the design in a workshop style meeting over two days to update and bring everyone up to speed with the design changes. Architectural value engineering had compressed the building’s podium block from 8 stories to 7 stories, effectually integrating two levels of public areas (restaurants, spa, lounges, lobbies, etc) into one. A creative exercise but it all seemed to have worked out well. The two-storey convention centre housed in the basement “suffered” only minor changes. Over the coming weeks we will revisit our original concept designs and work everything to a level where we can move swiftly into DD stage. We are looking forward to finally move ahead with this prestigious project. While the actual project is in Delhi, the MUR is being built in in Mumbai, which we visited to see the work in progress…
Going from Mumbai to Bangkok basically means you are moving from one traffic jam to another. In Mumbai over the 2 days I was there I spent nearly 7 hours in a car moving to and from hotel to the architects office and the MUR site. I added another 3 hours in Bangkok driving to and from the airport to site…I really can not understand how people can live in these cities, not only because of the traffic woes, but also the unhealthy air quality you need to “wade” through…
The Bangkok trip was very much a kick off meeting for me. The client only recently signed us on as part of the team and I look forward to develop the working relationship with them. While they are a big player in the Thai market, owning a bank, shopping malls, hotels and residences, they have so far hardly used any outside consultants for their projects, mostly being supported by their own inhouse design team in the past. Besides our architectural lighting services this project also will have opportunities to introduce our LDoT services in several areas. We really appreciate the client’s confidence in our services and will do our very best to deliver well beyond their expectations…
My return flight from Bangkok was delayed with a 2am arrival in Singapore as a result, but no let up there as I had Friday meetings and conference calls lined up. As it happened my brother, who works for the Dutch government, was in Singapore leading a delegation of government representatives, entrepreneurs in innovation, smart systems and blockchain technologies. When my brother invited me to join their delegation to visit the Future Cities Lab I grabbed the opportunity with both hands. Blockchain technologies are a potential opportunity for lighting so I wanted to know and understand more. But most of all getting inroads into governments is always difficult so the opportunity to connect to both the Singapore as well as the Dutch government delegations as well as the innovation research carried out by the Singapore universities was an opportunity not to be missed…
Enjoy the weekend
Mumbai in the morning…on our way to the meeting…impressions
arrived at the architects office…meetings…
lunchtime in the street
off to see the MUR
checking out suppliers…
Blockchain for lighting…?
Singapore, Weekend 10-11th November 2018
It was a relatively quiet week (nice to have these once in a while) with the Hindu Deepavali public holiday cutting the week a bit shorter. I took a well-deserved break on Monday to have a extended weekend to recover from the last energy zapping weeks and reload for the final home stretch to Xmas, traditionally a very busy time. This coming week I will be off to India and Thailand.
PLDC and SBC aftermath
This week saw some trickle-down activities from both PLDC and our Smart Building Conference with lots of social media activity, photo exchanges (see some more pics of the event below), debriefs and follow up communications with organisers and participants. These events generally create a lot of networking opportunities and we gladly followed up on contacts that we made during PLDC and SBC with further meetings in the planning over the coming weeks. The final tally for PLDC came out 774 attendees, a fantastic result for a first time in Asia and by far the biggest lighting design gathering seen in the region…a pity we have to wait another 4 years before PLDC comes back to our shores. But perhaps we can fill the gap with some similarly good events…I’m working on it!
We keep going on developing our LDoT platform now with a concrete portal for our clients to determine their IoT Data analytic needs so we can link them up with our partners. Some new partners joined this week and our collaborations keep growing and expanding. The feedback and enthusiasm is really exciting for us. Developing LDoT as a start up company is a new terrain for me and consultation with experts in the fields is now needed as this now goes way beyond being a simple consultancy company…
This week I also met with some architects we have worked with before to give them a better understanding of what LDoT is and how it could improve everybody’s business. This is specifically an interesting potential certainly in times where fees are tremendously under pressure.
Over the last few weeks we lost a few projects against practices that quoted unbelievably low fees. Alarm bell ringing low fees if you understand what I am saying…I know what they quoted as the client shared with me. Between one third and little less then half our fees and that while we already quoted very competitively! The client who really was hoping to work with us, could not resist and we were unwilling to lower our fees much further. One other client with whom we are in final negotiations about our contract, confided in me that he no longer goes for practices that submit rock bottom fees. They experienced the hard reality of the consequences at the back end where these consultants refuse to look at alternatives insisting the client can only use their specifications, which in the end turned out to be so much more expensive with poor documentation, poor service and poor lighting results increasing their disappointment. But it is unfortunately the reality in the current economy. I personally prefer to stay in integrity and deliver my services professionally without conceding to lesser quality.
Value engineering vs tender
In tis respect it is interesting to note a discussion we had with one of our clients. One of our hospitality projects that has been on hold is being re-activated with new funds after we completed previously our DD stage and a first round of value engineering. The question being whether to do another round of VE or go for tender first and then do another round of VE if needed (generally there is always another round of VE after tender). So I advised the client it would be better at this stage to actually go for tender to get some actual prices as these always turn out differently from what we get from just budget quotes. The caveat is that quoting suppliers should really quote according to specification with the option to quote alternatives as a separate option. Quoting directly for alternatives is a waste of time as you have nothing to compare with and moreover most of the time the alternatives are cheap China made copies with little to no proper photometric data or even technical specifications, prompting a lengthy sample review and approval process. But going for tender definitely will give some solid figures to assess the costs of the lighting is this case.
Sometimes you get a little peek in contractor (mal)practices. This week we received a request from several suppliers in regards to a spec sheet, clearly one of ours (however with our company, project and manufacturer name removed (!)) for 5000 pieces of a specific downlight. We received the enquiry both through our Singapore as well as our Jakarta offices. However, that specific down light is only specified in one project for only 50+ pieces. We would know the project if it had 5000 pcs! So the question is, what is this contractor doing floating around one of our spec sheets, which is not one of our projects…we are investigating…
Enjoy the weekend
PLDC mood shots
Interviewing Joachim Ritter
Smart building conference
The cleaned up cut sheet, missing logo, project name, qty and brand/supplier
Singapore – Kuala Lumpur – Singapore, Weekend 3-4th November 2018
There was no let up after PLDC, no time to rest, as I took the opportunity of having a large part of my team in Singapore for PLDC, to have our own little inhouse “convention” which we dubbed KLDC. On Tuesday I was already off to Kuala Lumpur to be a guest speaker at the Smart Building Conference. The week ended with some more LDoT meetings in our office taking advantage of Ingmar’s presence in Singapore.
With our project design teams from Australia, Indonesia and Singapore all in Singapore to attend the landmark PLDC, the first time ever in Asia, we followed up on Sunday and Monday with our own strategy and future planning meeting and workshop. It was great to have a big part of our teams together allowing many of them to meet each other in person for the first time. We debriefed PLDC and brought everyone up to speed with the progress of our LDoT platform. We had our professional business trainer Mark Stuart conduct a workshop to help develop new ideas and approaches for the future of the company. Mark, who has been training our Singapore team for the last 1-2 years, delivered his skills in usual style, with a good dose of humour. We also took the opportunity to have Xicato’s Roger Sexton, update the team on the latest smart and IoT ready systems. It was a great motivational experience, and after both PLDC and KLDC we all left in high spirits for the future!
Smart Building Conference
When I accepted the invitation to speak at this conference I did this with the knowledge that it would be something out of my regular speaking commitments which generally are those organised by the lighting or design related industry. This conference had nothing to do with lighting and everything with governments, companies and institutions involved in making our world, their world smarter. It was a refreshing change to speak to a room full of facilities managers, system engineers, government officials and developers rather then architects, interior designers and people from the lighting industry. In fact, I was the only lighting person in the room and my LDoT presentation was an eye opener for everyone attending and the response very positive…The diversity of the speakers was also well balanced from very diverse backgrounds, from blockchain technologies to hacker techniques. In fact the cyber security presenter did a live demo on stages hacking into one of the major banks in India showing how easy it is to hack…a chilling demo! It just reinforced the notion that privacy and cyber security in our new world of IoT will be so important…a great conference…
LDoT in Luminous Magazine
The magazine editor sent me a proof print this week to share the article that has been put together to report on our round the table conference about Lighting Design of Things that was held in Amsterdam earlier in September and on which I reported previously.
Smart LED wristbands
Finally I was attended by my daughter last week about the smart wristbands that were used in a Taylor Swift concert that she attended recently. Those who attend her concerts are issued a smart blue-tooth enabled LED wristband that is activated, synergised and coordinated with the stage show and her songs. It seems a typical example of smart lighting communication, an exponent of Bluetooth technology, and smart visible light communication. The LED wrist band can also be controlled by a mobile app…
Have a great weekend… I certainly need the break after an intensive couple of weeks!
Special PLDC edition Singapore, Week 22-27th October 2018
It has taken a while till I managed to find the time to put this special blog together, but what an event PLDC 2018 in Singapore was! After a hugely successful convention program at the iconic Marina Bay Sands and a much talked about magical gala dinner at the Wine Vault, PLDC is now a landmark event that many of us will for long remember. Never did we see in Asia a congregation of more than 800 lighting designers and lighting industry players together in one single event. The simplified version (2 days and 2 tracks) and central market and network space was hailed as a refreshing set up very much appreciated and enjoyed by the attendees.
Over the 3 days (including the preconvention day and welcome night) there was a noticeable buzz and vibe of excitement. For the first time ever PLDC was being held outside Europe and Singapore had the honour to be its first destination. After 3 days of preconvention meetings, master classes, keynotes and expert presentations, the gala dinner at the Wine Vault, a venue and location even unknown to most of the local Singaporeans, concluded the convention in typical PLDC style.
Months of preparation by the Steering Committee (Joachim & Alison Ritter and myself) supported by the PLDC team in Germany (Louise, who project managed it professionally, Franziska, Kristina and the rest of the Via team), the KLD events team (Frank Kelly) and a host of sponsors and events providers made it all come together in one great event. Thanks to all!
Below some mood pictures of the event.
The set up
Preconvention: Cities Forum/Educators meeting/Master classes/ I-Core press launch/ Welcome night
The convention/ themesong
Singapore, Weekend 20-21st October 2018
A relatively quiet week in Singapore with no travel, but with lots of ground to be covered both in preparation of next week’s PLDC and ongoing meetings and conference calls with our LDoT partners in regards to developing cooperation and (pilot) projects. Meanwhile our architectural lighting project activities keep going steadily with this week another award bagged for our HMT project…it is motivating for the team to be recognised for their efforts.
IGuzzini – Fagurhult
But the headline of the week undoubtedly has to be the acquisition by Fagurhult of one of the most innovative and design focussed lighting companies, IGuzzini. Loved and adored by the lighting design community (me included), the integration of IGuzzini within the Fagurhult family should see the combination become one of the super groups in the lighting industry. With the IGuzzini top joining the board of management and becoming important shareholders only good can come of this acquisition. It seems like a win-win all over and a great foresight from both companies. Assuming the acquisition takes place later this year without any problems, we can look forward to some exciting times certainly as both companies have set important sights to integrating IoT in their lighting systems…
PLDC Singapore 2018
Next week around this time we will have about completed the first ever PLDC outside Europe. With the PLDC team arriving in Singapore early next week to work on the final preparations we are counting the days! Earlier this week Frank Kelly (our lead designer for the Gala dinner event) and I met at the venue with the fit-out supplier to make sure we got it all right, check details, measurements, quantities, logistics, etc…truss foundations, table settings, stage and bar locations…a lot of work which Frank has admirably managed over the last few months. It’s all in the details and I am confident we will have a great night! A good preparation is half the work done!
LDoT, JLL and Gooee
Our partner cooperation with Gooee for pilot projects with JLL is moving a further step forward with another site meeting here in Singapore this week to determine the system configuration that we will be installing. We are excited about the prospect of demonstrating the data infra-structure capability when integrated with the lighting. As we are all developing our knowledge in this area the pilot projects are crucial to gather the necessary intelligence so we can determine what will be the best set up and configuration for full size projects. Implementation of LDoT is diligent process that takes time and very careful consideration. Like we saw in the early LED days there are also plenty of cowboys in IoT world, even more, so thoughtful assessment and considered decisions are crucial. Building knowledge and experience takes time!
New generation lighting suppliers
One of the striking things that has been happening over the last few years is the emergence of a whole new breed of lighting manufacturers and suppliers. Driven by the digital LED technology and smart data connectivity we have seen a host of new companies pop out of the woodwork. Some of them are surprisingly good and competent as we saw from another tech visit to our office this week. Most them coming from the smart technology sector, some of them with lighting experience, some from research and innovation background, some from no lighting experience but with strong app or cloud based backgrounds that have the capability of controlling lighting and develop lighting products as part of it. We have already seen from our LDoT research that the biggest threat to the lighting industry is not coming from existing or new lighting players, its coming from outside the lighting industry. Tech companies and start-ups that based on their technology are moving into lighting and lighting control…a space to watch carefully.
HMT receives an IES/WA Lighting Award
After bagging an lighting award from the IES /NA we were honoured at the local IES chapter in Western Australia with another lighting award for our iconic His Majesty’s Theatre in Perth. The building’s façade lighting has received so much positive feedback from the general public and design community that the local award was the icing on the cake that we definitely felt the building was deserving. Ingmar received the award at Friday’s well attended award night gala dinner on behalf of our team. Well done to all…one that will proudly hang on office wall!
PS: Next weeks blog maybe delayed or held over to the next weekend as coming weekend will be pretty busy!
See you next week at PLDC in Singapore. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me during the event, I will there during the whole time.
The gala dinner venue, still bare and bones…
Another surprising supplier…
Another award for HMT, proudly received by Ingmar and Stan
Perth – Singapore, Weekend 13-14th October 2018
Time and again I can’t get over how different the lifestyle in Australia is compared to Asia. The open spaces, the landscape, the weather (seasons, we are going into spring) and way of living give a real sense of freedom, it relaxes and recharges your batteries. The balance with work (yes we do work!) seems much healthier…it was also a week when we heard that Two Roads Hospitality (to which our beloved Alila Hotel brand belongs) has been sold to the Hyatt group…it will be interesting to see how that might impact on the projects we are currently working on…When Raffles/Fairmont was taken over by Accor it resulted in some definite delays in our Raffles projects…
International Lighting Advisory Council (ILAC)
In the beginning of the week I met with fellow board member, James Wallace, to further discuss our plans for this coming year. We recently added “Lighting” to the original IAC name to underscore that we are in lighting. Originally set up as an advisory council the Chinese Lighting Design Association, we have now expanded our scope to develop lighting design event programs for fair organisers like Messe Frankfurt, who is one of our partners in the Asia Pacific region. We have big plans for the coming year!
Continuing our relentless strive to develop our LDoT business platform, my presence in Perth earlier in the week was used to officially incorporate Lighting Design of Things Pty Ltd in Australia. As Ingmar is driving this from Perth it made sense to protect our national interests with an official company incorporation and trademark protection. We are excited and look forward to develop the business in Australia as well.
LIT Award juror
This week I also confirmed my participation as a juror to next year’s LIT awards which will take place in February next year. Besides professional lighting design practices the competition is also open to the new generation of lighting designers, encouraging students to participate in the competition. My blog will offer additional education value to the competition. Last years awards were hugely successful culminating in an exhibition in Tokio earlier this year. Next year’s venue is not yet determined…Singapore perhaps? More at www.litawards.com
Inaugural Lighting Design Summit Melbourne
Looks like next year’s schedule is already quickly filling up with also my participation as a guest speaker at the inaugural Lighting Design Summit to be held in Melbourne in March next year confirmed. Looking forward to catch up with some of my colleagues in the industry who will be speaking there as well. More at www.lightingdesignsummit.com.au
While details are still confidential, we had an exciting meeting with the client of the hugely successful Atlas Bar in Singapore. This year ranked at nr.8 on the world’s best bar ranking, it was great news to hear that a little sister bar is being planned for the new year! We are excited to be invited to work on the little sister. The Atlas Bar is a really unique concept and figures as one of the top attractions of the PLDC excursions. While the guided excursion (to be led by our own Cheryline) is sold out, the bar is a public space and as such open for a visit any time. I am sure its little sister once completed next year will be as successful…
PLDC Singapore 2018
PLDC is now really around the corner, another 10 days and we are off to the first ever convention outside Europe. The pre-convention program is all confirmed with the Cities Forum and the Educators meeting starting off the proceedings on Thursday. On Thursday’s opening night (to be held on location at Marina Bay Sands) I will be delivering a short keynote presentation on LDoT after Joachim Ritter’s welcome address. Besides giving me the opportunity to welcome PLDC in Singapore on behalf of the Singapore and Asian design community, my LDoT presentation will also allow us to set the tone for the “smart move” mantra that has been chosen for this year’s convention in Singapore. Next week I will be out an a about with Frank Kelly, our lead designer who has been in charge of organising the lighting fit out for our gala dinner the last couple of months, a lot of work! More at www.pld-c.com
LDoT round the table podcast
My participation to the round the table conference organised around my Lighting Design of Things concept has been recorded as a podcast and is now officially available on Signify’s Lighting University website. See the podcast here.
Have a great weekend!
Singapore – Perth, Weekend 6-7th October 2018
As we move into October already the high-speed train that is called LDoT, keeps moving on. More and more people are getting interested and understanding of what is changing this world. At the same time it’s like being in a maze with chambers, you open a door and you enter a room with 10 other doors…While Ingmar and myself are spending most of our time in LDoT, our team keeps ploughing away at our regular project work which is keeping us very busy as well. It’s hard to get a read on the economy at the moment as on one hand we can feel pressure on budgets and resulting slower decision making and payments, but on the other hand there are still many opportunities and we keep doing fee proposals, with many new projects on the horizon.
I travelled to Perth midweek to be with my Perth team as we got some potentially exciting projects coming up. While we always were struggling getting projects in Australia, our LDoT platform seems to have opened some new doors…time will tell which door is the right one 😊, but this is one of the reasons I am in Perth this coming week to support the team.
Talking lighting design of things
One of my most striking meetings this week was meeting with two clients and hardly talk about lighting or lighting design at all, something unimaginable just a year ago. With one of the clients (JLL) we are discussing our pilot project, with the other the redevelopment of a hotel and shopping mall. In both cases we spent most of our time discussing the data infra-structure of the projects in question and what exactly they wanted to measure, analyse or control. With our understanding of what is on offer and how it potentially can be linked up with our lighting design we now have meaningful discussions and are in a position to professionally partner our clients with potential IoT players depending on the needs.
The interesting part of the hotel/mall redevelopment project is that the architect/ interior designers have yet to be confirmed. This is significant as generally lighting designers are contacted way further down the line (if at all, with architects and interior designers more and more offering the service “inhouse”!). Our client had been attended to our LDoT platform and had invited me to give him a rundown of the opportunities with the view to get us on board early.
In the early part of the week I also met and spoke with current and potential new partners for our LDoT platform for some of our projects where we are considering (proposing) the integration of IoT in our lighting design. In our Punggol Digital District project it seems a hard sell as the government seems to already have made some decisions (before we came on board) and have as a result started to make some trial runs directly with the suppliers. Our partner discussions show that many of them are diving into it head first (as we are doing) without really knowing which direction to swim. As a result we see an IoT industry with hundreds of little and big fishes swimming wildly around without anyone knowing what the roadmap is to move forward. This will eventually become clear and through our partner discussions we are in an ideal position to assess and understand what each one is doing, most of all on how we can connect them within the lighting linked data infra-structure.
In Perth we are eyeing a multi-storey building redevelopment that will see an existing office tower renovated to accommodate new tenants. Part of the redevelopment includes the integration of smart and intelligent systems to asses and efficiently manage energy consumption, climate control and building usage. The difficulty that we face is that everyone seems to see the potential and we all get excited, but that the reality of wat needs to be achieved needs to determined properly before we start aiming for the sun. After a few meetings and site visits we realised that their was a slight disconnect between the desires of the “board” and that of the facilities manager in regards to the realistic capability of the existing building infra-structure (even with the planned upgrades) to integrate the more sophisticated data infra-structure we were proposing. It reminded me of my early days in lighting design…you learn along the way! Dreams (lighting concepts) and reality are sometimes miles apart. With LDoT we are now in the same “early days” position, we have yet to get full project runs on the board so I suspect we will still come across many of these learning curves…
Have a great weekend!
Exploring opportunities in Perth
Amsterdam – Dubai – Singapore – Kuala Lumpur – Singapore,
Weekend 29-30th September 2018
Fresh from my little retreat in France I hopped on the plane to Dubai to attend Light Middle East event and deliver my presentation on LDoT. Like we collaborate in Asia with Messe Frankfurt (HK) for lighting events in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Bangkok, the local design community under guidance of the ever-energetic Sakina Dugawalla -Moeller created a great conference program at Light Middle East as well as some other fringe events to stimulate lighting education and awareness.
Think Light – Cross roads
The conference program had started on the Sunday but my flight only arrived late in the evening so I unfortunately missed both the day and evening program. I know from experience how difficult it is to not only put an attractive conference program together but even more on how to attract and keep an audience captive throughout. Targeted marketing and promotion is one and “strong handed” moderation is another. Specifically making sure the speakers arrive in time, stick to the allocated program time and stay focussed on the theme of the conference. This requires pre-consultation with the speakers to make sure that the presentation is not only relevant as a topic but specifically in content. To make sure there is also a bond between the speakers making sure the immediate speakers before and after are present also helps in forging a coordinated feel towards the audience. While I stayed throughout most presentations I felt some disconnect as some of the speakers arrived last minute and left straight after, giving the feeling the event was not important to them…anyhow that is just my personal little rant. I enjoyed doing my presentation and overall compliment Sakina with the outstanding effort in putting the program together!
The Perfect Light
The evening was dedicated to the first ever screening in the Middle East of Light Collectives movie “The Perfect Light” that has been shown around the world. The showing at Novotel’s Blue Bar was to my understanding the 16th time the movie was screened. Hosted by IGuzzini (Richard Holmes/ Sergio Padula!) and introduced by the makers themselves, Sharron Stammers and Martin Lupton, to the Dubai lighting design community, the evening turned out to be very entertaining. I had not seen the movie before but thought it was very well done and captive from beginning till end…it certainly seems to ask for a sequel!
Light Middle East Awards night
Rounding up LME was the awards night, honouring designers and manufacturers for outstanding projects and products. Expertly hosted again by Sharon and Martin it saw the local community come together to celebrate their achievements. The after parties being probably the most enjoyable parts of the night with lots of networking and connecting…
The Middle East is not my prime focus in terms of business, but if and when there are opportunities we will take on projects there. I have been in and out Dubai on numerous occasions over the years, some for projects, some for lighting events as Light Middle East. As my return flight was later in the evening after the event I decided to take some time off and actually do a bit of “sight-seeing”. Visit the later year developments such as the Burj Al Arab and Burj Kalifa, The Frame, Palm Resort island and its Atlantis Hotel and others. I am obviously not the only one as to enter Burj Al Arab for instance you require a reservation or booking which on enquiry was about USD 200 per person for a high tea! Visiting Burj Kalifa also requires some advance planning and booking…
Overall, while Dubai may be great for business, I don’t really like the city…they are building like mad, one developer trying to outdo the other (Emaar, Meraas, Nakheel, etc), assumingly with the 2020 World Expo in mind, with the result that everything feels artificial and unreal. It is hard to feel a soul in this city…Certainly coming from my nature environment of the Dordogne countryside, the contrast was scary. I did enjoy driving around though thanks to my host Veer and great company Vibhor…
Alila Hotel Bangsar
Hardly back in Singapore I flew out again 24 hours later to attend the grand opening of our Alila Bangsar Hotel project in Kuala Lumpur. Another potential award winner… Designing city hotels with an “oasis” feel is not easy but the Neri & Hu interiors, simple and contemporary with great attention to detail together with our lighting really works. As soon as you step in your feel in a different world. The night was an exploration of the hotel with activities and food/ drink stations scattered throughout the key hotel areas. An official opening toast was hosted by Alila founder Mark Edelson in the presidential suite. The enjoyable evening moved slowly from the pool area up to the magnificent roof terrace with unlimited 360 degree view of the city. Proud to be associated with this project.
We left back to Singapore the next day with a tired but very satisfied feeling.
Have a great rest of the weekend!
Some of the lighting artworks
The perfect light
Singapore – Amsterdam, Weekend 8-9th September 2018
With the usual hectic meetings and last-minute demands the first two days of the week, I finally left on Tuesday night for Amsterdam to attend Signify’s Pioneers of Light event with at the centre of it all the Lighting Design of Things round the table conference.
The week started with a strategy meeting to decide on the content of our planned KLD Convention (KLDC) right on the heels of PLDC in Singapore. As I will have most of my team together to attend PLDC it is also a unique occasion to catch up and discuss the way forward with the company into the future. With the help of Mark Stuart, a professional corporate trainer who has helped our team over the last 2 years and specialises in helping companies prepare for the digital age, we discussed the content for our 2-day in-house event. We put a provisional program together and are excited about the directions and potential outcomes, very much centred around our LDoT platform.
We now pretty much meet every week with new potential IoT players for collaborations or partnerships. One thing is for sure if you want to make a dent in the lighting-IoT world you can only do that through collaborations and partnerships. The IoT world is too complex and extensive to be wanting to be and do everything. On Monday we met with another new player previously not known to have anything to do with smart lighting, but like us they are moving forcefully ahead and we may well collaborate with them on our Punggol digital district project as they have already been approved by the client as a smart supplier…there you go…
Punggol Digital District
Speaking of which we had another major and crucial meeting (literally hours before I flew off) with the client to make sure they are well aware of what we are doing. While we are coordinating our design development with the lead architect and the rest of the design team on a nearly daily basis, making sure the client is on the same page is critical to avoid abortive work as we move ahead. The client, practical as ever, is not surprisingly principally focussed on cost saving and the ease of operational management…all good so far…
Pioneers of light – Amsterdam
The rest of the week for me was dedicated to the Pioneers of Light event held at the famous Amsterdam Arena stadium, home to probably Hollands most famous soccer team Ajax and not in the least linked to arguably Hollands greatest player, Johan Cruyff.
Philips Lighting, now aptly renamed Signify, also held a world partner event at the same time which saw some 250 partners from all over the world congregate at the Arena to learn more about Signify’s IoT platform called Interact. A market place was created for everyone to see the various Interact platforms in action in dedicated applications. The Pioneers of Light event however was only for a very selected few, literally handpicked by Signify’s management based on their strategic importance to the business. We started on the first night with a welcome get-to know-eachother-network dinner. Nice and relaxed, allowing us to get familiar with each other and each others background.
No, I am not talking about U2’s famous lead guitarist but about arguably the world’s most smart and intelligent building, which was our first stop the next day. Occupied mostly by Deloitte the building is a living example of what todays smart and intelligent IoT technology can achieve. We were given some great presentations and shown around the building to get a feel of the IoT capabilities of the building which came into operation in 2014. You can google the Edge Building, Amsterdam for more information. While the achievements are impressive, it did not come about without lots of challenges and obstacles and not surprisingly with what they have learned the Edge is now preparing for V2.0 as technology has kept on improving at a fast pace…a very impressive visit indeed.
Lighting Design of Things
Back at the Arena and after some further introductions about the Interact platform it was finally time for our LDoT round the table discussion, a studio event that was being pre-recorded for posting as a web/pod cast in the coming days on the Signify Lighting University site expertly managed by Jaap Schuuring, who is in charge of customer learning. Moderator for the discussion was independent lighting designer and writer Alan Tulla and his task was to extract as much as he could from not only myself as the only active lighting designer of things but also Laura Taylor, Head Design Exploration at Signify, Nathanael Meyer, Head of Design at GSM Projects and Peter Raynham, LET Lecturer at the University College of London. The diverse backgrounds of the panellists providing a large variety of expertise for a great discussion. The one and a half hour during discussion, through Alan’s skilful moderation, delivered everything that one would like to know on the current state and impact of the IoT on the future of lighting design…a great value discussion…can’t wait to relive it when the webcast comes online! Thanks to the Signify Team (Anissa, Jaap, Pierre-Yves, Mike) for making this possible and thanks to my fellow panellists for their great insights.
Amsterdam at night
We concluded the event with a sunset canal boat dinner and a walk about the city narrated and guided by an expert city architect and lighting designer to give substance to the beautiful city skyline. We un-boarded at the famous Hermitage building and walked our way to the city centre taking in the beauty of the canals, bridges and “grachten huizen”,Amsterdam is famous for.
I mentioned it before and I do it again in rounding up my blog…it will be crucial for the future and the Pioneers of Light event has certainly contributed in planting the seeds to develop these oh-so necessary partnerships!
PS: I will be away for a short break…back in 2 weeks when I am presenting my LDoT platform at Light Middle East 24-25th September in Dubai… have a great weekend!
The Edge presentations
Pioneers of Light – LDoT
Canal boat dinner and city night tour
Of course the social media…
Shenzhen – Singapore, Weekend 1st- 2nd September 2018
After an exciting weekend in Shenzhen I flew back to Singapore for what I thought would be a relatively quiet week as my original trip to the Maldives was postponed to a later date. But as so often, appointments, meetings and other “things” popped out of the wood work making for a busy week after all!
As I mentioned in my last blog, the weekend was all about celebrating, in this case the celebration of my good friend Alex Xu the principal of the company named after him. An architectural lighting practice based in Shenzhen celebrating its 10 years in the business. Good initiative, I think it is good to celebrate and reflect on your achievements, which is what Alex did with more than 200 attending the event held at the newly completed Hard Rock Hotel in Shenzhen, one of his projects. While I was the only “Angmoh” among the otherwise Chinese guests, the elite from the design industry was present; architects, interior designers, developers, city representatives, lighting manufacturers and of course fellow lighting designers, many from the CLDA.
The event was very well organised and I can only say I got the royal VIP treatment, flight arrangements, pick up, hotel, etc. Thanks Alex! It was my pleasure to deliver the keynote address about my Lighting Design of Things platform which was gracefully translated by Lear Hsieh, who represented the CLDA as its president. Presentations and entertainment were well mixed and kept everyone interested and entertained. The subsequent celebration dinner was a typical Chinese affair with a lot of toasting and drinking! An enjoyable event! Well done.
After our team’s factory visit in Austria earlier this year on the back of our Frankfurt trip, it was our pleasure to meet up with Javier Nieto again in our office. He updated us on the latest developments and product improvements since Light & Build. I always keep saying that the products are as good as the people behind it!
One of the leaders in IoT world is without doubt Signify, formerly known as Philips. As part of our LDoT partnership drive, I had been invited to spent a full afternoon at the Philips experience centre to meet with the various IoT specialists to get myself fully updated on what their Interact platform can achieve and what’s cooking in the kitchen. There is no doubt that Signify is one of the current IoT leaders when it comes to linking IoT and lighting. Their lighting innovations and Dynalite control smart systems are being developed at breakneck speed and keeping up to date is therefore of importance for our team.
Pioneers of light – Amsterdam
My ulterior motive was of course also to be fully updated before my Lighting Design of Things round the table conference in Amsterdam next week. As this is a Signify sponsored event it seems logical to be aware of your hosts achievements and future plans! I am excited about the conference and look forward to it!
JLL Liquid Labs at District 6
In anticipation of our upcoming Liquid Labs participation, a cooperation between KLD/LDoT and Gooee, I spent time reviewing the space where we are planning to display our capabilities to the “world”. As it is an existing space we will need to work with the lighting that is already in place, so a thorough review and site assessment of the current lighting installations was one of the jobs I carried out this week. Looking forward to this event as well!
On the heels of PLDC end of October we are planning our own inhouse KLDC. With most of our overseas colleagues coming to Singapore to attend the PLDC event we decided it was an opportunity not to be missed to create our own little mini convention, aptly named KLDC 😊. Over the Sunday and Monday following the PLDC event we will discuss strategies towards making our practice ready for the digital age and will have professional specialists to guide us in the proper direction. Our Lighting Design of Things platform will be central to all of this. Certainly having most of my team (from Australia, Indonesia, Shanghai and Singapore) all together will be a great opportunity for everybody to meet up and bond. Another exciting happening, I am looking forward to!
Time’s worlds greatest places list 2018
What a surprise to see our award-winning Atlas Bar project make it on to the top 100 world’s greatest places list for 2018! It is testimony to the whole design and project team and the clients vision to transform this Singapore icon into this beautiful and unique bar. There is no doubt that the lighting has been key in bringing out the mood and unique features of this architectural marvel. Congrats to everyone, great acknowledgement. No wonder that the Atlas Bar excursion offered as part of the upcoming PLDC event in October is the hottest ticket on offer!
Have a great weekend!
Pioneers of light