The week that was…26-30th January
Monday 26; Perth: Australia Day
As much as I have difficulty connecting with Singapore’s National Day (which is really for Singaporeans in celebration of their “home anniversary”), I do connect with Australia Day as it has been “my home” for the last 17 years. It is a day where every one relaxes and enjoys family time. The enjoyment is generally much more intense because it is smack in the middle of the summer holidays, hence many people are factually on holiday and schools have yet to restart. Traditionally the beach is therefore one of the busiest places in town with people enjoying their day with a swim, a BBQ in anticipation of the fireworks. In Fremantle the fireworks are launched from the Indian Ocean at Bathers Beach just after sunset, this year with our recently commissioned cliff lighting in the back ground. For the occasion and to validate the colourful fireworks spectacle the lighting of the cliff was kept to a simple neutral white.
Tuesday 27; Perth: Fee proposals
I always struggle to find logic in “seasons” if there is such thing, when it comes to a heightened activity from our clients in moving projects to a start. I am not sure if this is a good sign for the year to come, but there certainly was a flurry of fee proposal activity over the last couple of days with a number of them due this week; perhaps clients wanting to log in their consultants prior to Chinese New Year (which is just around the corner) to assure they can kick of their project in the new (Chinese) new year. We certainly do not complain. It had been very quiet towards the end of last year but this new year has restarted in good shape. What particularly pleases me is that the majority of our new proposals are to existing clients, in other words they have appreciated our services and deliveries and are happy to continue enlisting our team for their new projects. The old adagio that taking care of your existing clients is far more lucrative then continuously having to source for new clients, remains fully valid. Having said that we do look and actively search for new clients and opportunities, but our existing clients will always remain our key focus. Meanwhile I know there is a reason why I like this place…
Wednesday 28, Perth: Coming to life
Our enduring relationship with visual artist Rick Vermey, continues to enjoy us. While the projects are of a relatively small scale, they all end up being eye-catchers with great visual impact to the general public. Today I went to site to assist Rick with the testing and commissioning of his “artwork”. Similar to the Art Wall (the one that recently won an IES lighting design award), this is of similar scale and impact. The colourful screen separates the ground floor carpark from the street providing an exciting but subdued kaleidoscope of colours and light projections which will give the residential owners some measure of pride once completed. We had done some testing in the weeks passed on an actual sample of the glass (see one of my blogs last year), today was the day of truth where our lighting ideas were coming to life. We were certainly not disappointed…after some tweaking and aiming (with the glare control louvres still to be installed) we were excited with the results. Can’t wait for it to be completed.
Thursday 29; Kalgoorlie: Validating our lighting design
Today we travelled to Kalgoorlie, about an hour’s flight east of Perth. While heavy lightning and thunder storms delayed our flight and caused wide-spread power outage in and around Perth, we ultimately did reach Kalgoorlie albeit severely delayed. Ahhh…the joys of flying, but then, safety first! Our task for the day was the inspection of the lighting installation for compliance to our lighting design parameters. We inspected the physical state of the installation during the day, tested the lights to assure they were all working so that we could return at night with peace of mind knowing we could actually assess and measure the fully working installation (you don’t want to find that out at night, when there is no time to repair any malfunction!). The lighting installation is designed to switch in 3 stages an average of 100 lux for general large ball training, an average of 200 lux for large ball (rugby, soccer) play and an average of 300 lux for local completion cricket, all that with the stipulated standard uniformities. A total of 8 poles illuminate 2 playing fields (East and West) that can eventually be combined to one large soccer/rugby fields adding an extra challenge to the lighting distribution pattern and levels of play required. It turned out that our lighting measurements and visual assessments were not just a formality. Visual assessment had already given us the necessary doubts and formal lux level measurements confirmed that floodlights were wrongly aimed and focussed. Just a look at the way the shadows fall is already a good indicator. On top of that we noted that some floodlights were obstructing the light output of adjacent floodlights causing visually unacceptable and measurable dips in the lighting levels. While we will compiling our compliance report over the coming week, the message to the contractor was clear…go back to the drawing board and redo your home work! We could not sign this off to the client.
Friday 30; Kalgoorlie-Perth: Professionalism rewarded
We had a debrief with the client and flew back to Perth without delays this time. We started collating our measurements and notes into a report that we will likely complete sometime next week. It is clear that we will need to go back one more round, but we have no doubt that the quantities and optical lighting system that we specified will be able to achieve the desired results, it’s just that the implementation on the head frames was all over the place. Meanwhile we had little time to breathe as we had an important appointment to attend, a internationally famed architects office had invited us to present our capabilities to their key project team management in view of putting us forward to the client. This came as a reward for our professional deliveries in another project in which we worked with them for the first time. They were duly impressed by our work and are keen to get us further involved in their projects. Like us they however struggle with the culture in (Western) Australia where most of the lighting designs are done by electrical engineers. Most electrical consultants here have a lighting design department catering for this, but what had set us apart were our creative approaches, renderings and methods of design, all that combined with our international track record. As one of their team directors said, in all these years I have never seen any of the lighting engineers we have worked with present this level of professionalism and creative lighting design in their presentations. I found that a very surprising comment not very flattering for the level of lighting design quality offered to them. What I thought was a basic professional standard of design delivery was obviously something they had never experienced before. The good news for us of course is that we struck a bond for future cooperation, which materialised immediately in a new feature project located prominently along the city’s skyline. We are now tasked to put together a presentation to help convince the client to engage us…the why-do-I-need-a- lighting-designer story.
The week that was…