Show off or switch off?
China, 10th December 2009
I may as well continue on the topic of global warming and climate change. In a meeting today I presented the landscape and exterior lighting concept for one of our hotel projects. As most of you may well know, in general the “owner” and the “operator” of a hotel are not one and the same person. The “owner” is the one investing and building the hotel, the “operator” is the one who will run the hotel once finished. That comes at times with conflicting interests. The “owner” wants to minimize costs, the “operator” wants the best quality… which is not always compatible. But they generally share their desire to show off their newly completed property. Lighting is the obvious tool to achieve this desire and create an atractive visual impact at night.
But what I wanted to post today is the dilemma of wanting to show off your property through eye catching façade lighting and beautiful landscape lighting versus the growing public opinion and media pressure against “wasting light” and polluting the sky. Hence my title today… showing off or switching off. Besides ego there is an obvious commercial aspect to lighting up your property at night. But there is also a strong commercial (and now obvious environmental) aspect to reduce or even cut out energy consumption, read carbon emission. As lighting designers, now more than ever, we have the task to educate and find solutions for this big lighting challenge.
I am not sure what the right answer is, but likely it is somewhere in between.