Singapore 11th September 2010

We can safely say that the events of 9/11, now 9 years ago, have left a lasting impact on the world. The numbers 9/11 have become associated with terrorism and practically everyone who lived the moment the tragedy happened will forever remember the images. The impact is felt everywhere, not only for those who travel (airport security) but even on the ground when entering hotels, office towers and big shopping malls. You can’t really just walk into those spaces anymore without having to go through some form of security check. Such a shame that the world has come to this…

In our daily work we feel it too! I am not talking about the travel (where are the good old times you could spend some time with the captain in the cockpit?) but about our actual lighting design work. Nowadays most of our projects have bomb shelters, security check points at hotel entrances, shopping mall, etc. All this is now an integral part of new commercial developments. The other day I visited a residential property and was shown how one room was actually a bomb shelter, with a huge metal door as in a bank safe…how horrible is that?

So on one hand we find ourselves designing lighting for a greener and more sustainable world, while on the other hand we have to design lighting to comply with higher safety and security standards. Somehow that seems at odds with each other, isn’t it? What’s next? We may get lighting control systems that need facial recognition before it can be activated, motion/camera sensors that not only activate lighting according to peoples presence but at the same time report back your presence in that space to some central security office. Your mobile phone already acts like a GPS system so tracking of people is easy. There have been several Hollywood movies where intelligence agencies are able to follow your every move, know your every detail, trace your every communication, whether phone, email, etc. For sure it is happening in the real world, we just don’t know at what scale.

Don’t be surprised if you see down lights with integrated camera’s coming up and lighting control systems that report back your every move…it feels like we are gradually becoming part of a big surreal movie…unfortunately it is the reality…

11. September 2010 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: lighting and culture, lighting of the future | Leave a comment

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