The week that was…February 2-6
Singapore, weekend 7th February 2015
Monday 2; Singapore: Moon lighting
Most of the times we assume that everybody in the project team understands what we are talking about. Everyone in the team, consultants, client reps, contractors are supposed to be professionals (maybe clients not always as that’s why they hire us) so we present our concepts, talk our technical talk and communicate with the rest of the team under the assumption they understand us and if not they will ask for clarification. Most of the times that is how it works and those who really don’t understand probably pretend they do. But sometimes they are caught out as we found out when we reviewed a landscape installation on site. We had described the lighting effect as “moonlighting” an often used description for a light mounted high up in the tree shining down to the ground to simulate moonlighting, hence “moonlighting”. To our bewilderment one of the contractors however interpreted the moonlighting as a light that had to shine to the moon! While the drawings clearly shows a mounting height of about 6-8m, he decided that they should be mounted at the base of the tree and shine up…quite hilarious actually. Too bad for him he has to redo the whole installation!
Tuesday 3; Singapore: The power of transformation
It is always gratifying to see when our lighting design really transforms a place, the before and after pictures. These renovation or upgrading projects basically start out with a poorly designed lighting installation in the first place. In our case we were called in to try and improve the lighting in a restaurant, pretty ok in its interior design, to more exciting and dramatic visual effects, in short to create some mood and ambience in an otherwise pretty dull looking lighting environment. When you know what to do it looks simple, but for an owner who knows it could be better but he does not know how to achieve it, it’s pretty magical stuff. We went from glary 45 degree beams to 10 degree focussed beams with elliptical spread lenses and antiglare honey-comb louvres and some clever re-aiming to transform the place into a visually totally new experience. Here is the B4 and After.
Wednesday 4, Singapore: Recommendations
After our trip to Kalgoorlie last week it was now time to put all our findings into a report that would give the client recommendations on what to do. What the client thought started of as a simple trip to certify the installed lighting installation, turned out to be a bit more…not only did the installation not comply, the whole set up was wrong in every possible way. The client who had walked with us on the night we did our measurements, knows what is coming, but to us now it comes down to formulate this in a way that is “politically correct” and professionally underscored. The contractor, who was initially present the earlier part of the assessment night on site, but left soon afterwards, assumingly to avoid nasty questions, probably knows what is coming and will be on sharp to deflect any possible directives to change. We have to be prepared for the “counter- attack” ) blaming each and everyone (including the lighting designer and except themselves) to avoid having to spent extra time and money rectifying the installation. So while we know what the reporting has to say, getting the wording and the professional / technical assessment and recommendations right is often a diplomatic and political master piece! I spent the day working on it .J This picture clearly shows how the two lower floodlights obscure the ones behind!
Thursday 5; Bandung; Getting it right
Today I flew to Bandung to meet with my client who intends to open his hotel project over the next few months (the target is June 2015), so we are reaching a stage where site presence of the key design consultants is becoming critical with the lighting now being finalised. In itself it is an interesting project. Originally designed without key consultants (lighting!) and to be run by a different operator, the client decided to change operator and in the process was convinced that hiring a lighting designer was a necessary “evil”. He engaged us last year for a few months to just “mark-up” the existing drawings and agreed to pay a monthly retainer. Over the last year however he has started to appreciate our input and while or initial contract was for a few months only we have silently continued to deliver our services since we are on a monthly retainer and he has kept paying us without complaints. It is nice to see this level of trust and respect between client and consultant. He knows he can call me any time (which he does when he needs something!) and that I am happy to come to site to give his local team direction in the design and installation. Getting it right is his priority and it is good to see the work now coming to fruition.
Friday 6; Bandung: Communicating with the site team
After yesterday’s intensive site inspection, area by area, drawing by drawing, installation by installation, reviewed again at night to assess the impact of the lighting when dark, we spent the morning “smudging” through the landscape taking advantage of a bit of sun and a dry spell. It rains a lot around this time and the site was rather soggy… J After that we sat down one on one with the principal site team members, electrical, architectural contractor, to go through with my findings and communicate to them how to move forward, all this with a client listening in (and putting in his far bit of comment) to make sure his team is on the “ball”. This process is critical to assure good progress will be made over the weeks to come before I get back to site. As I left to catch my plane back to Singapore a torrential downpour unleashed over the city. The road downhill was like a river! I was worried getting stuck and being flooded away but we manage to made it to the airport with some time to spare by which time the downpour had reduced to “normal” rain. The flight left with only little delay. I leave you with a picture of the pool deck and views to Bandung I managed to take without any site mess to be seen! Have a great weekend.
The week that was…