Singapore, 10th January 2011
Back in Singapore and yes I did not blog over the weekend…I am taking my weekends of…J
Today I have been discussing a renovation project. It is amazing how quickly commercial properties can age. The project in question was last commissioned more than 15 years ago but when visiting the premises today I was struck by how much our (lighting) technology has progressed. Over the years the maintenance engineers had obviously done their best to go with the times by replacing light bulbs with more modern (CFL) versions, but it was more a “patch up” job rather than a well thought lighting improvement. Some light sources looked definitely at odds with their housing (obviously as they were not originally designed for it)… I am sure you know what I am talking about…The now planned (total) renovation offers several great opportunities in terms of lighting, namely: Get rid of all out-dated and energy consuming light sources, redesign and re-configure the lighting in line with the latest technologies in combination with state of the art lighting controls to minimise the carbon footprint and reduce maintenance to an absolute minimum.
The risk with the so called state of the art technologies is that designers often tend to over-sophisticate things with as result an installation too complex to operate for the average Joe. Operation of lights should be simple and straight forward and there lies the challenge for the lighting designer. The technology may be high-tech, but its operation should be simple and easy to understand.
Most of all as the renovation is total, the lighting designer has a great opportunity to engage with the lead architect/ interior designer to integrate the lighting design as part of an overall concept right from the start and create a balance of brightness and interaction with the space that makes you appreciate the space right from the moment you enter it.
Today’s Light Watch is an example of both a renovation as well as a heritage project worth paying a visit to. Originally built more than 100 years ago by the Sarkies brothers Raffles Hotel is a cultural heritage icon. Also from the Sarkies brothers and the same time are the E&O Hotel in Penang, The Majapahit Hotel in Surabaya and the Strand in Yangon.