Professional lighting design
Singapore, 20th July 2012
As the Professional Lighting Design Association (PLDA) is re-thinking its future away from Via-Verlag, complete with new logo and website, it is a good time to think about the importance of an impartial, independent and professional lighting design association. So much is said (and thought) and so many interests interwoven, that it is not always easy to see clearly through the woods. There are many national organisations in different forms and configurations, some including manufacturers and other professionals sideways linked to lighting design, but on an international scale there are little. International organisations with purely lighting designers as members are basically only the PLDA, with European origins, and the International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD), with its American origins. Otherwise we have organisations like the IES (Illumination Engineering Society), the CIE (Committee International de l’Eclairage) and more, but none of these are solely aimed at promoting, protecting and developing the lighting design profession.
At this moment lighting designers, unlike architects, are unprotected. Basically anyone can call him or herself a lighting designer and unfortunately (in my opinion) that really affects the perception of what professional lighting designers have to offer. Too many people (and with the LED rage it seems now more then ever) jump into the fray, never mind their experience, they know the difference between an incandescent bulb, a fluorescent tube and an LED, so they think they can call themselves a lighting designer!
It is not for nothing that a full scale lighting design course takes several years complete with internships to further practice your skills. But I have said it before, in my opinion if you want to call yourself a professional lighting designer you need at least 5 years experience in the field! Mark my words: In-The-Field! Yes because many projects take several years to complete and unless you have gone through a few project cycles from start to finish, you do not have the proper experience to advise the client. You design is as good as the completed end result!
Like car drivers have learner and practice permits, in lighting design we should have the same. Airplane pilots need a minimum number of flying hours, doctors need similar practice hours before they can call themselves pilots or doctors. Hence accreditation by a professional lighting design association becomes of prime importance to re-assure our clients that the lighting designer he has hired is vetted as a “professional”, from which he can expect due diligence and professional skills in lighting.
Light Watch 3-108:
(new logo being developed)