When to engage a lighting designer

Shanghai, 17th January 2010

You may wonder why I bring up this subject on a Sunday. Would you believe I just had a meeting this morning with a potential client? Welcome to life in China … The client approached us yesterday after being referred to us. They are in Shanghai but go back to Northern China tonight and wanted to meet us before going back. Sometimes a little goodwill can do wonders. We’ll see…

From the preliminary information we got it seems the buildings (a big commercial development) are about finished and they want to have a grand opening sometimes in September. Though still 9 months to go (sounds like a pregnancy  🙂 ) it seems that we are left with an agonizing short time to come up with a lighting design and related documentation so site can procure and install the lights. Somehow they had overlooked the façade lighting of the building and while the scaffolding is still up they are hoping we can quickly come up with the lighting…ho-ho not so fast!

There are obviously no electrical provisions for lighting in the façade so unless a lighting concept is developed properly it will not be easy to do anything. With Chinese New Year coming up in February it will therefore be near impossible to call tender in March as they have in mind.

This brought me to the main topic I wanted to share today. When is the best time to engage a (professional) lighting designer? My typical answer is always: “It is never too early”. The earlier we are involved the better as we can then really integrate the lighting into the architecture rather than have the lights as an obvious add-on. It allows us to brainstorm concepts with the architect in the arly stages and even influence the building design to accomodate the lighting asa consiously designed part of the buildng.

17. January 2010 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: lighting design | 2 comments

Comments (2)

  1. I couldn’t agree with you more. It really is never too early to get the lighting designer engaged on a project. However, there are only a handful of clients that understand the importance of doing this. The bigger problem (in my opinion) also lies in the fact, that the project managers don’t know better as well. I have also been in certain situations, where we were involved very early on in the process, and were then reprimanded a few weeks later, for not producing any drawings……was extremely shocking. But I guess that is the nature of creative design – there can’t be a ‘one size fits all’ solution, can there!

  2. Dear Siddharth
    Thanks for your feedback. This is what I need to make this blog a success!
    It is oh so true that often clients have no understanding of the design process. Sometimes you just can’t win 🙂


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