Poor maintenance…a killer

Yangon, Myanmar, 6th June 2012

My first day back in Yangon since a long time…I was last here around 2003-2004 invited as guest speaker at an architectural lighting event. Not much has changed on the road from the airport to the hotel other than that the airport is new…it was a breeze to go through, quite a difference from what I remember from my last visit, in an old, air-condition-less building without aero bridges, with a lot of noise, people going in all directions and hard to make out how to get out of the building. The hotel, one of the very view “high end” hotels in the country looks out over Inya Lake and from the hotel I can see Ang San Suu Kyi’s house (!), just at edge of the lake. Quite symbolic I feel….

Today I had my first round through the hotel I designed the lighting for 18 years ago and in this blog I will share some of my first impressions. First of all I have to say that despite the time the hotel still has character, overall the design (architecture/interiors/etc) is still strong, but time and poor maintenance have caught up with the place. Why? Because over the years we have come to be used to higher performance and comfort levels, so our expectation levels are much higher the two decades ago. On top of that technology has moved on and the use of old technology (incandescent bulbs, yes!) is very obvious.

But by far the biggest impact is the lack of maintenance. I will have discussions with the engineers tomorrow, so I just share my observations without knowing too much about the reasons. One of the key seems to be the lack of local support and low quality of locally available replacement products. On top of that in a drive to “save energy” halogen light bulbs have been replaced with CFL creating awkward situations where the CFL does not really fit with the optics and the resulting lighting effect is creating a dull and sombre mood. Focal brightness as per initial intention has made way for general illumination at sometimes less than half the lighting levels with no  visual impact! Add to that, that many fittings have reached end of life, lights after lamp replacement are out of focus or the poor replacement quality provides different colors or light intensities and one can see how an originally vibrant interior has turned into a rather sombre and unexciting interior.

Light Watch 3-79: Here are some pictures to illustrate:

Ang San Suu Kyi’s house far top right (red roof) along the lake

CFL in halogen optics

Lighting controls, the upper one now manually operated, below 3 different actions (toggle, rotate, press)

(Poor quality picture) but left same fitting replaced with CFL, right still with halogen

Colour issues after replacement

Fix-it solutions…just add some floodlights!

No comments 🙂

05. June 2012 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: Light & Learn, light watch, lighting and culture, lighting and the economy, lighting design, lighting standards | Leave a comment

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