Lighting Design; art and science

Singapore 9th February 2012

Sometimes I wonder about those who practice lighting design as a profession. Today’s thoughts are triggered by a very enlightening meeting I had today with an architect/ developer who contrary to most people was very knowledgeable in lighting. Not only in the artistic and performance related needs of lighting and lighting design but also in the science behind the products. Specifically in times where everyone seems blinded by the LED craze that no-one seems to take a step back and say; hey, do I really need LED here, does this make economic and “sustainable” sense, is this really the best solution?

Lighting designers are supposed to be responsible people with knowledge of the art of creating as well as the knowledge of the science behind the products that allow us to create. We design for people in spaces that are designed to specific tasks and functions, not only to look beautiful. Lighting (as many other disciplines such as climate control, acoustics and sound management) need to make sense besides having that unique creative touch to it. It needs to be practical to install, practical and efficient to operate. LED is certainly a very exciting technology but some return on investment calculations make absolutely no sense. ROI calculations can be manipulated and in all honesty they are just a general indication as so many variables impact on the outcome that only over time we will know what the real impact is.

I am maybe part of the older generation but I find nowadays many (lighting designers included) of the new generation having little understanding of the science and technology behind the lighting products that they specify, often just going by the word of the manufacturer or supplier. As a rule we generally don’t specify a product without having seen and played with it, but how many just specify from a catalogue reference?

Light Watch 3-17: Northern Europe is going through a very big cold spell. In Holland there is now talk that the famous 11 City skating tour (Elfsteden Tocht), last time held 15 years ago, maybe held next week, that is if the cold lasts till then. To accommodate this famous race it has to be very cold and the ice needs to be a minimum of 15 cm thick to safely accommodate the thousands of people…For the first time in 15 years people are skating again on the canals in Amsterdam. I heard even in Venice the waters have frozen! Below some pictures of the Swedish Ice Hotel to get you in the (cold) mood…


09. February 2012 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: Education, light watch, lighting design, lighting design practice, lighting standards | Leave a comment

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