Perth, 6th April 2010
Not always are we able to revisit our projects years later to see how they have stood the test of time. A lot of the time after the project is commissioned we never return to site. Project done, we move on to the next, we keep the nice pictures as reference. Occasionally we return to the site but most of the time we don’t, so it was interesting for me today to return to one of my project sites that was commissioned 10 years ago, the Burswood Casino in Perth.
At the time the project won us an IES/WA lighting design award and had many novelties, including some innovative synchronized fiber optic lighting effects. While much of the original lighting is still in place (and working!), the overall feel was definitely dated. Funny how things that looked leading edge and trend setting 10 years ago now look dated and “passé”. At least I had the satisfaction that it was still working and functioning! But our world has changed and our standards and experiences have grown to higher expectations. Hence it is understandable that most commercial life expectancies such as in retail and hospitality do not exceed 5 to 8 years, after which a make-over or renovation is needed to keep up with the latest trends.
One of the key aspects that is overlooked in most lighting design projects is maintenance. Too often our projects look beautiful on completion but come 1 or 2 years later we find specifically the more sophisticated parts of the lighting installation failing or just not working any more. Most of the time this is due to poor maintenance and the lack of knowledge of the maintenance staff.
As lighting designers we have to make it part of our routine to assure that the client is provided with proper maintenance instructions and trained staff. Even recommending that the lighting supplier be signed on for regular maintenance. At least we should make sure we leave our lighting installation in good care.