Other peoples work

Singapore, 13th April 2011

In our line of work we always come across work done by others and as always we have our own opinion on what or whether we like it or not. We all come from different back grounds with different cultural and social upbringing and life experiences. So we judge and compare what we see against that background. Today I have been working on (and judging) somebody else’s lighting design as we have been called in to help “rescue” the lighting design done by a colleague in the industry who for whatever reason has fallen out with the client.  

One of the things I have learned in my long carrier in this business is that you can never judge or criticise somebody else’s work. Never judge a book by its cover as the saying goes. Generally we don’t know the history nor are we aware of the reasons or causes how things came about. In general the working relationship between lighting designer and client starts with the best of intentions to do the best possible job, but sometimes little things can grow to big issues and before you know it the rift escalates to an irreparable situation. I have found myself in similar situations in the past. Once it is broken it is often very difficult to fix it…

So re-doing someone else’s lighting design is in my opinion quite a sensitive and diplomatic affair, as there is no need or cause to criticise the previous design (however tempting it may look to make you look and feel better towards the client). The start to such project has to be to acknowledge the design as it is and look for key design considerations that will address the clients concern with the current lighting design.

Most designers have the “not-invented-here-syndrome”. In other words if not designed by them they are unlikely take ownership of someone else’s design if they are to re-do it and put their name to it. I am faced with a similar dilemma as I would definitely have approached the lighting concept in a different way. So the challenge for me now is, rather than throw everything in the bin and restart (probably the easiest way), find the good parts of the design and gradually rebuild from there….

In Light Watch an example of an historic existing building that was re-designed to meet todays’ modern expectations while preserving its heritage at the same time. It includes a great integration of modern day-lighting technology.

 Light Watch 72: Reichstag Berlin

13. April 2011 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: light watch, lighting and culture, lighting design | Leave a comment

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