The lighting design fraternity
Singapore, 8th May 2010
Last night I went out for some drinks with friends and met some fellow lighting designers based in Singapore that I had not met before. Our lighting design community is quite small and generally speaking we are mostly friendly competitors. There seems to be plenty of work around in this area of the world anyhow, specifically in China, India, etc so we don’t find each other fighting often for the same projects. Occasionally we bump into each other at project qualification interviews.
I was told that worldwide there are only about 5000 professional and independent lighting designers…that is not much. In Singapore for instance there are only a handful, compared to hundreds of architects and interior designers. The same goes elsewhere in the region. From the same source I heard that for every project that would need a professional lighting designer less than 5% actually does…so plenty of opportunities I would say!
One of the things that we spoke of last night was the lack (or better absence) of community feeling, get togethers, in Asia. In Australia the lighting community comes together once a quarter or so for drinks on the back of some of event organized by the local lighting association or manufacturers, but in Singapore or elsewhere in Asia it does not really exist. It is very sporadic if it does. In Europe PLDA is looking after the community and in the USA it is the IALD. The PLDC event in Berlin last year and the PLDA night in Frankfurt recently were two great events where we could all meet and exchange our experiences.
When ELDA (the predecessor of PLDA) started some 15 years ago in Europe, I ever tried to set up a local chapter in Asia Pacific. Though with good intentions I did that rather clumsily, without much consultation with my fellow lighting designers, stepping on many toes in the process. Not really a recipe for success…but the idea still remains and I hope that somewhere in the near future we will have such organization for this region that can oranise get togethers and functions where we can meet and share our experiences.