Perth 1st July 2010
Back in Perth I can still feel my muscles aching! Being a lighting designer, contrary to popular belief, requires definitely a certain level of fitness! We do not just sit behind a desk or computer doing design work or meet around a table looking over plans and discussing lighting issues. We actually do physically move around! An important part of our job is to go to site to monitor the progress of installation or to commission a lighting installation as I did over the last two days.
The thing with working sites is that everything is very rudimental, dusty, dirty (sometimes wet and muddy) with lots of working activity going on that requires you to wear a safety helmet. You don’t have nicely paved pathways or neat car parks, there are no elevators (certainly at the beginning of construction) to move up the floors. So you end up ruining your shoes in the site dirt, and being exhausted of climbing up and down 10 floors thru stinky (workers have a habit of not using the site toilets) and dimly lit, rough concrete stairway… definitely requiring a certain level of fitness! I am not even mentioning doing that under humid and hot tropical conditions….
When commissioning a project we have the added factor of having to work late, which messes up your eating and sleeping habits. Lighting is generally commissioned once the sun has set so we can fully assess the impact of the night and the performance of the lighting. It wouldn’t be the first time I have worked through the night to do my measurements, focussing and programming.
Last night I had to take measurements on a 2 hectare sports field. While officially a grid pattern of 5m was used for calculations we skipped some less critical areas but you can imagine in general the number of lighting points that has to be measured. We measured them at ground level so at every point you have to kneel down to take the measurement, then get back up your feet, walk several meters and do it again. We did that three times as we measured the levels the full, half and training level lighting steps. Do that a couple of hundred times and you will agree that some stamina and fitness is required!