Hangzhou’s Grand Canal
Hangzhou-Shanghai 13th August 2013
I was originally going to talk about the lighting in my hotel room, which was really bad, but then I went out for my early morning walk along Hangzhou’s Grand Canal and found a more interesting subject to talk about. A few years ago a lighting scheme was implemented by the city of Hangzhou along its Grand Canal and although I did not have the opportunity to see it at night; I only discovered in the morning that I was staying a stone’s throw away, though the Hotel name (Canal Hotel) should have given it away. I guess I was not that alert and spent a good part of my night time in the Lobby, the only place with WIFI. My latest laptop does not come with a cable entry for internet anymore…times have changed we are used to WIFI everywhere. Cable?!
Anyhow as I walked along the canal I discovered the lighting that I believe was designed by Roger Narboni in cooperation with a local supplier Zhongtai. I did attend Roger’s presentation about the project at one of the international lighting events and I can only assume that what I saw was the realisation of his design. Distinctive quality light fittings in locations as I remember from his presentation. My point is that despite an excellent design, a design is only as good as its implementation. I say that to my clients time and again. What struck me most is how quickly a lighting installation disintegrates…I know the installation is not that old but it looked like it could fall apart anytime, specifically the linear LED lighting. While the fittings looked of fairly good quality (I could not really find any brand names, but they looked familiar), it is the installation quality that seemed to be the real culprit. And that really is one of lighting designers great nemesis, the quality of installation. I am confronted with it time and again and more and more I am putting in efforts to involve the client as early as possible in the end stages of our projects. We can all develop a beautiful design, but without a proper budget for good fittings and good quality installation it’s not much worth!
Light Watch 4-131: Here are some mood images from my early morning walk, truth be told some of the light fittings still hold out well (inground tree uplights and the lanterns), but the linear and water side lights are looking in need of some love and attention….