Culture shocks

Perth, 12th August 2014

As you travel around the world and are exposed to different cultures, climates and ways of life you realise how different people are, how different peoples perspective on life can be. In the developed “western” world we are used to comfort, quality and professional service. But in lesser developed countries these acquired “rights” are often hard to find and as a designer you need to understand the culture of the places you visit or the places for which you design your lighting. While Singapore maybe well developed and quality criteria have been raised to higher levels, many Asian countries have little standards in place to assure quality and comfort. And even if they have their standards there is little recourse to enforce them.

When I left Europe for Singapore I was given a book called “Culture Shock – Singapore” which was compulsory reading for every expatriate moving to the that part of the world. These books exist for every major country in the world and are supposed to prepare you for the way people live and do things in the country you are moving to. While the reading was interesting it is hard to understand without the actual context. Now more than 25 years and hundreds of travels in the region later I have become part of the culture, I know the way of living and doing things whether in Singapore, China or Australia.

Yet as a professional designer I do always set my standards high, aiming for the top, only to come crashing down to the reality I am all too familiar with. My little breakaway to Phuket last weekend showed me again that when you forget about all your work and professional standards life just goes on; people make do with what they have, with what they can afford. All those lofty standards seem then far away! It makes you think… do I really need a $200 down light or ccan I just do with a bare bulb on a wire…but now back at work I have hidden again behind our lofty quality and comfort standards.

Light watch 5-132: Simple life, simple lighting…

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12. August 2014 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: light watch, lighting and culture, lighting and the economy, lighting standards | Leave a comment

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