“Born in the USA”
Singapore, 9th June 2014
Back in Singapore! While I re-adjust to our daily office work (it’s the first time since several weeks that I am actually a full day in the office!) I reflect on my American experience. I submitted my transfer membership application from PLDA to the IALD as the only remaining “international” professional lighting design association. And herein lies my internal conflict; on one hand I fully subscribe to a professional organisation that promotes the profession, supports its members and provide a standard reference for the provision of our services, on the other hand I am trying hard to find a connection between myself, my practice and an organisation that has its roots in the US. Being Dutch and having my practice with projects from Europe to Asia I had a clear affinity towards the ELDA, later the PLDA. With the PLDA now being defunct, I am missing an organisation that I felt was in support of my profession and the region I work.
Don’t get me wrong, the IALD has been around longer and has established itself as the principal umbrella organisation for professional lighting designers around the world, yet I can’t escape the feeling it is too much rooted in the American culture. Having been to Light Fair last week that feeling was reinforced with my impression that the exhibition was clearly focussed on the American market (in itself understandable), with predominantly American based manufacturers present in the show bar the occasional Chinese, Asian and even rarer European manufacturer. I also had a strong feeling that the American lighting market in some ways is still lagging a bit behind as contrary to Light and Build there was still emphasis on conventional lighting technologies including plasma, induction and fibre optic lighting . Or perhaps the American market is further ahead… ?
The American market also with its different voltage, frequency, demanding legal standards and constraints is definitely different to operate in; I would have to take out a special (and expensive) indemnity insurance to be able to work on projects in the US. IALD was “born in the USA” and therefore understandably has American roots. In order to become truly international it will have to embrace other cultures and markets with an open mind and without wanting to convert, but rather encourage, support and harmonise. If I am given the opportunity I certainly hope to contribute.
Light watch 5-96: More impressions from Light Fair…