Singapore, 23rd April 2014
One of the things we do as lighting designers and expert consultants is to verify and certify a design to standard compliance. This is specifically the case when it concerns highly sensitive projects which have high risk factors such as where (public or staff) safety and security are extremely important or performance tasks are critical; think of public transport, the mining and oil industry for instance. We are involved in one such project, very confidential in nature which requires the design to be delivered to full compliance of the applicable safety and security country standards. While the standard to which we have to design covers all aspects of relevant design, including air and temperature management, sound and noise control, chemical safety issues it also has a good part dedicated to lighting which we have to follow.
Because it is a specialised industry, the design standards are also fairly specific to the application and no doubt build on years of experience in the field. The challenge we have (and were given in this project) is to look past the technical standards and apply our experience in developing “human” spaces with the lighting. A far more challenging exercise than we thought. Not because it is difficult to apply, but because we are dealing with engineers who have no idea what we are talking about. Everything in this project is engineered to the detail and practically no-one understands what we mean when we talk about the 3-dimensional effects of lighting and how light interacts with colours and materials, let alone when we talk about mood lighting. We want the lighting to be harmoniously integrated in the architecture/ interior design, but we talk to engineers with no sense of creativity whatsoever.
We are used to work with plans, sections and elevations from interior designers and architects that give us a clear understanding of the space, here we deal with engineering drawings and because of confidentiality most drawings are unreferenced and undated…Trying to certify lighting levels and other lighting parameters when you hardly understand how the lighting has been integrated is a challenge by itself…at least for us in this project!
Light Watch 5-66: Lighting on industrial sites such as mines and oil rigs are generally purely practical and functional, with the main focus on providing safety and security for the tasks to be performed, with generally no attention to architectural integration, finesse, mood or ambiance. In some instances through attention to sustainability and most lately environment / natural habitat friendly lighting solutions.