Perth 12th April 2013
I don’t know how my colleagues work but I would assume that budget planning is part and parcel of the lighting design services. It’s all nice and good to create a beautiful lighting design but it all comes together if the numbers are right. A good design (or should we call it a sustainable design) is a combination of a great conceptual idea, its related (positive) impact on the environment (humans included!) and the numbers, the cost of realisation. Today I have mostly been number crunching, trying to get my head around the cost of my lighting design. We all dream, but often we come crashing down from the cloud castles, when we start putting a number ($$$) to the dream.
With these numbers there are generally two ways to go. Stick to the numbers and get the client so excited that he is willing to spend whatever the amount is…very rare. Rich people are generally rich because they DON’T spend J. The other way is to bring the numbers down to a level that the client feels he gets value for money…this exercise is generally called value engineering…
The challenge with early day numbers is that there are a lot of assumptions involved. Without having done a full fletched design the quantities are based on the designers’ expertise. The final light fitting selection is generally also fairly generic at that stage other than the lighting effects that are to be achieved…there are so many quality light fittings that can do a certain job, that a final selection is generally premature, certainly with the speed of the LED developments, we keep our selections to the last possible deadline. At the same time performance improves with about 10% a year, light fitting costs decreases with about 10% a year (according to the latest statistics), making looking ahead with the numbers a challenging task. Again I would say that is where the expertise and experience of the lighting designer plays a big role.
I have submitted my numbers today, feeling pretty confident that I am within 10-20% accuracy in the final outcome. But I am only confident as I have worked these numbers through other projects numerous times and at the end found that my assumptions were getting sharper and sharper…key is to stay in control of the process and manage the clients expectations! Have a great weekend!
Light Watch 4-64: It is without doubt that some designers have reached a “collectors” status when it comes to design, numbers being whatever one wants to pay for it. Zara Hadid in one of them and in Milan one of her latest lighting creations is on show…