Hainan 19th July 2010
I am in Sanya, a resort city in the south of the lovely island of Hainan, Southern China, to attend to some project meetings. Hainan can more or less be considered the Bali of China, different culture of course but fairly similar climate, with one big difference. Hainan is very exposed to typhoons, just like typhoon Colson who left a devastating trail last weekend. It was absolutely lovely weather today and hard to believe a typhoon ravaged through the area, if not for the many uprooted trees, damaged billboards, etc. We decided to have dinner at the newly opened InterContinental Hotel near our site to view its lighting…as you do as part of your job I guess. We always learn from looking around…..
We ended up at an open outdoor diner terrace at the seaside enjoying a nice sea breeze. With the typhoon impact in mind I was surprised to see the terrace in such good and clean condition including suspended ceiling fans, decorative light pendants, floor base lights, etc. How did they survive? Curious I asked the staff who explained that when made aware of the typhoon’s arrival all exposed fittings were dismantled and stored away. The day after the typhoon had passed it was re-installed. Which made me think ….I saw at least 30+ pendant lights in our restaurant alone, a similar quantity of fans, quite a number of floor lamps, etc. Considering they are all hard wired to power it means quite some work! Hence it may be an idea (maybe applied already) to have all wiring connected with so called quick plugs, that are fairly easy to connect and disconnect for this kind of situations rather than to use terminal blocks and screw drivers! Little things that make life in typhoon prone areas more bearable.
The other issue of course is the light fittings wind surface. Most reputable outdoor light fitting manufacturers provide the wind load data, but does anybody really use it? If anyone, probably pole manufacturers do when they have to figure out the structural strength of the pole. But we should certainly be mindful on where and how to mount light fittings that may potentially be exposed to extreme wind conditions.
You don’t really learn these things from behind your desk. Only actual presence and confrontation will help to build that practical experience so needed for a successful lighting design.