The week that was April 27- May 1

Singapore, long weekend 1-3 May 2015

Monday 27; Singapore – Client pain
There is nothing more frustrating than working with a client who has no respect nor understanding about what good design and project management is. We have been working on a hotel project with a client who also happens to be the operator of the property and that perhaps explains the disaster that we face time and again. I have done several projects with them over the years and time and again I am thinking, ok, let’s give them another round of the benefit of the doubt; after all they are a reputable 5 star operator with high profile hotel property. While it may look good on your portfolio list I am seriously starting to doubt the wisdom of pouring in all our energy in such projects which in 90% of the cases will give you a lot of headache and pain and worst of all at the end no-one comes out a winner! Poor management, short-sightedness and undue pressure on budgets create stress and painful results. The strange thing is that they do have the money if they want to, but in good Asian spirit you try to screw their consultants and suppliers who in turn over-charge and submit unreasonable claims. I guess you get what you pay for., pay peanuts and you get monkeys. Today again I attended a client “rescue” mission where the sole aim was to weed out abortive costs and over charges, all this the result of poor management and short cut behaviour (not totally unfair in retrospect) by the contractor to save costs pressured by the client. If the client would have respected the consultants in the first place and followed due diligence with good quality all these abortive works would not have been necessary and my personal view is that we would probably have ended up cheaper with better quality and happier faces! Some google images to illustrate our various states…


Tuesday 28, Kuala Lumpur – The writing is on the wall
A short day trip to KL today for a consultants meeting on one of our hotel projects. As we are doing two hotel projects with this client we will also take the opportunity to have a look at the MUR of the other project as well as a new ID came on board who ripped out the old interior concept to replace it with a new one. Somehow the owner did not “click” with the previous ID and even though I thought their design was nice, the client did not really relate to it. Can happen. While they followed our general direction the MUR was redone without much input from the other consultants as they wished to move on quickly. I must say it was pretty ok for a first shot and I think with some minor adjustments and slight improvement of the light fitting quality (performance and light distribution) we will have it sorted in no time. As they already have a preferred lighting supplier on board working with them will narrow things down and make selection and communication easier. While it may be limiting to be tied in with a lighting supplier in this case we are fine. We have worked with them before and we know they have a wide range to choose from. Budget-wise we should be able to achieve our goal. As we inspected the now dismantled MUR we found back the many notes scribbled on the wall, typical from discussions between consultants and contractor when building the MUR.

the way down

dismantled MUR

The new MUR

writing on the wall 1

writing on the wall

Wednesday, 29 Singapore – Fatal “lighting” attraction
On my way back yesterday I read an interesting article on the BBC news site describing the phenomenon called: “fatal light attraction”. This was in relation to the state of New York’s plans to turn off all non-essential lights in state run buildings to help birds navigate their migratory routes come spring and autumn. Birds are believed to use stars to navigate at night and not surprisingly bright city lights can be disorienting, causing the birds apparently to crash into buildings with fatal results. The article reports that it is estimated that around 1 billion (!) birds are killed this way every year in the US alone, an unbelievable high amount of casualties. Millions of birds migrate through the state of New York on what is called the Atlantic Fly Route. The idea is to switch of the lights between 23pm and dawn during the peak migration seasons. Several well-known NY landmarks such as the Rockefeller Centre, the Chrysler Building and Time Warner Centre will join this “Lights-Out” program. It is an interesting side to our profession as lighting designer. We generally don’t design with “birds” in our mind and taking these nature phenomenons into consideration makes total sense if not only in respect to our mother Earth. I often say we don’t design for lux meters we design for people…I should probably add:…and in conservation of our planet Earth!


Thursday, 30 Singapore – LED; Lighting Experience Design
There was one place that I did not manage to visit when I was in Milan recently, which was the LED, Lighting Experience Design centre. I read up on it just recently. One of the attractions of this “LED” approach is that it seems to optimise the LED qualities and  focus on using the unique features of the LED technology which really is its compactness, its ability to manipulate light colour and distribution in combination with smart controls. Too little in my opinion, is done by the manufacturers today to really explore and exploit the uniqueness of LED technology and too much emphasis is put on de developing systems to replace the traditional and conventional lighting systems as we know and knew them. Many have just been replaced by a LED equivalent with little to no thought of creativity or innovation. There are some encouraging signs from some of the leading lighting manufacturers as well as some “new players” coming up with cool new lighting systems typically made possible by the LED technology. Please keep it going! We need some fresh air and inspiration, manufacturers and lighting designers should work more closely together on this! Please do sent and share new fresh LED system ideas if you see them around!



Friday 1 Singapore – Labour Day
Caught by surprise…did not realise it was a public holiday today, until my staff yesterday told me” See you on Monday…”
…good time to catch up on some back log…
Have a great weekend

The week that was…

01. May 2015 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: Light and inspiration, light watch, lighting and culture, lighting and sustainability, lighting and the economy, lighting design, lighting design practice, lighting of the future | Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *

Get Adobe Flash player