Reflecting on reflections
Bandung, 25th February 2014
It is not often that a client brings you to visit a project to show you what they do NOT want! Generally they bring you to see completed projects they like to explain to you what of these “likes” they would like you to implement in their own project. Not so last night. After a day of meetings, site inspections and technical reviews, the client invited me to dinner in a recently completed hotel in the city, considered as being the best of the best in Bandung. At least it is certainly the most expensive in town.
It was easy to see what was “wrong”, if I can say it that way. First of all the choice of materials for the floor tiles was a polished marble, but so polished that it was near to a perfect mirror surface. The second obvious thing was that the lighting looked completely unbalanced, mainly with a ceiling being way too bright as if there was no dimming or control. So there was no focus, no ambience, only very expensive materials. While I do know who the interior designer and the lighting designer were, I don’t know the history and can therefore not comment on the how and why of the end result, but it is easy to see the glaringly obvious failures, whatever the reasons.
How can these mistakes be avoided? One of the primary reasons is the ignorance of the interior designer on how lighting will interact with their selected finishes. As a lighting designer I always bring that to their attention, but 99% of the time the architect or ID adopts an attitude of arrogance (“who are you to tell me material selection is wrong!”) and pushes the problem back to you to resolve. Unfortunately some issues like this can only be resolved through cooperation and mutual respect for each other’s expertise. In all honesty I also have to say that in some cases, the lighting designer (if inexperienced or inattentive to the ID’s design) is at fault for not understanding or spotting the potential glare and reflection dangers ahead.
Light Watch 5-30: The pictures below show the extent of the lighting reflections drama in this hotel. In one them lighting is so bad you can hardly see the steps and level difference ahead of you! Textbook pictures on how NOT to do it 🙂
Can you spot the steps above?
Interestingly the reflections also seem to show the un-evenness of the floor (curved lines!)