Is the economy affecting our lighting design industry
Singapore, 10th October 2012
Online magazine Illumni asked some of us lighting designers with a practice in Australia whether we are feeling the pinch on the back of information that some local practices in Australia had closed shop. While I don’t know the back ground and reasons for closing, it could also be as simple as a strategic regrouping or re-organisation as I understand these practices were part of a larger organisation. I am replying through my blog so I can share my findings to my own audience as well.
As a lighting design practice with an office in Perth, Singapore and Jakarta, KLD has a client portfolio that is spread throughout the Asia Pacific region and so far 2012 has been good. After a slow start to the year the demand for our services has seen a steady growth pattern and we have seen no slow-down in the demand for our services so far, on the contrary, we keep churning out fee proposals. However there is clearly something going on with signs that the Eurozone worries and the slowing down of the Chinese economy are starting to have impact. How do we know? Some projects inexplicably slow down or are on hold pending re-assessment, with possibly financing at the real root of the situation. Interestingly some countries like Indonesia, seem to do better with many projects on the go. But other countries like India are on a slow burner with little to no activity at the moment. The clearest sign is always the cash flow, with currently payments taking longer and longer to materialise. We have now a few clients were payments are reaching the 60 – 90 days overdue zone. I am hearing from several colleagues that they are suffering from this as well.
For me the 2012 bottom line will definitely be better than 2011 but whether we will be able to maintain the momentum in 2013 remains to be seen. It is hard to predict and will really depend on the geographic spread of our projects, the strength of our clients and our strategic approach to the market.
Light Watch 3-154: Meanwhile I read an article today that proclaims “brighter days for solar panel sales” in Singapore. With the costs of solar panels halved over recent years the high cost of electricity in Singapore seem to have given sales of solar panels a big boost. At least one application that seems to grow steadily!