Lighting and the economy 3
Singapore, 22nd June 2010
Having offices in Australia, China and Singapore allows me to travel and compare the lighting design work we have in the various parts of this world. It is really interesting to see that the different countries and I guess I could say economies, have somehow a direct impact on the type of projects. I generalize a bit but having travelled in this region I experience distinct differences, similar to the ways I described the pace of work in my blog about the speed of life.
We quote practically weekly for new projects but it is interesting to see how the type of projects varies from country, or better from region to region. A lot has to do with the state of the economy. Developed countries such as Australia have different type of projects then fast developing (and economically strong) nations such as China or India. While Australia is basically preserving its heritage through renovations, improvements and generally improving the quality and comfort of life Singapore is consolidating its developed nation status by reinforcing its basic infra structure and creating more developments in the social, cultural and entertainment sector. China is just developing anything that is basic to a growing economy.
Let me give you some examples: In Australia we find ourselves doing environmental lighting studies or lighting audits for compliance to safety and security regulations, lighting up heritage buildings, city landmarks or improving recreational public facilities. But in China there is basically none of this. We are mostly involved in mega mixed developments that incorporate residential living, hotel and serviced apartments all spiced up with extensive commercial facilities and surrounded by landscaping (most developments now need a 20-30% landscape component to balance the fast artificial buildings with natural elements). While Australia is more about the quality of living, China is more about quantity. People, who have made their riches from the increased spending power of the “ordinary” people, mostly in the residential sector, now show off by investing in building hospitality and retail outlets, nearly as a status symbol. Owning a few sports cars is not hip anymore…owning a few hotels or shopping malls now is the in-thing….and we are not complaining :).