The week that was 15-19th June

Singapore weekend 20-21 June 2015

Monday 15th Singapore – The LED Cowboys are still at it After a full on week in China I was back in the office attending to a back log of project issues and attending meetings scheduled for the three days I am back here. Two of our projects in Malaysia specifically are using up a lot of our attention specifically in regards to light fitting specifications. One client has personal relations with a Chinese lighting manufacturer, though if you look at their product range they are really cowboys pure-sang…in other words as LED Cowboys they don’t come any better! So we have to thread this very carefully as the guy is friend of the owner and the owner is the one paying our fees, hence some diplomacy and tact is required to demonstrate to our client that the quality of their products is really well below par. The alternative fittings of which we received samples (see pics below) where supposed to be equivalent to our specifications. Besides that the “looks” already started the alarm bells ringing once we opened the fittings the “truth” came out. The so called IP65 wall fixture may have looked the part from first impression, but once we opened up the fitting it was virtually empty, just a little LED strip glued at the top and a driver in a corner covered up in black silicone to give it the “IP rating”. You can see why we rejected it… the recessed linear light was even worse! Relief came when we were informed that the company has now filed for bankruptcy…I wonder why? At any rate it now saves us from convincing the client that that company is no good…

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Tuesday 16th Singapore – The Cowboy Contractor There are other types of Cowboys around in our lighting world…this one is the Cowboy Contractor. We received today in copy some pictures from the project manager of one of our projects, reminding the contractor to be more respectful and tidy with his store room. To his and our horror the store room, with still heaps of top of the range floodlights some valued at more than $2000 each (!) still to be installed, looked like a war zone. The pictures below tell the story. It speaks volumes about the lighting contractor, but then if you pay peanuts you get monkeys and that may well be the case here. I don’t know the current situation between the contractor and the client and whether they have been paid or not but clearly for all to see it is affecting their quality control and neatness of work let alone attention. As it is, this attitude is totally reflected in their way of work; they are hard to track down, sloppy if not poor at their installation work, poor in keeping schedules. It is hard to understand as the contract is huge and the project if completed well a big plus on anyone’s track record. Perhaps they have totally underestimated the amount of work, are understaffed and if poor payment from the client is added in has resulted in this attitude. Who knows? The supplier/contractor is well known and one of the leading ones in Malaysia. As always it is probably a chicken and egg situation…poor work, poor payment…poor payment, poor work…meanwhile the rest of the team is stuck with it…how difficult can it be to keep your store room neatly organised?

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Wednesday 17th Singapore – Cove lighting One of the most challenging and frustrating lighting solutions is cove lighting. At the same time it is also one of the most applied lighting features in interior lighting applications. Ever since someone came up with this concept in the eighties, it has been a big challenge to get all disciplines coordinated to bring it to a good end. There is the architect and interior designer who needs to detail this within their overall concept, there is the lighting designer who needs to detail the light fitting specifications and the related cove dimensions to make sure the resulting lighting effect is as desired and there is the contractor who needs to read both architectural as well as lighting design drawings for its installation. Add to that the cost of linear lighting, which if applied generously, generally breaks the bank and you are in for a challenging and frustrating ride…at least that is my experience. Interior designers design them initially too small (conventional technology), then too big (LED technology) often leaving not enough opening space for the light to properly disperse. The contractors cant be bothered to properly finish the inside of the cove thinking that no-one can see and on top of that leave “structural” cross beams that hold up the cove exposed leaving an uneven cove base making it impossible to get nice straight lines. Poor electrical wiring with loose and untidy cabling adds to the fun and resulting poor lighting effects; I blogged about this before. It is great to see that some lighting companies (typically not a Cowboy J), specialised in linear lighting has a full section dedicated to the proper installation and detailing of cove lighting.

Cove lighting

Thursday 18th Jakarta – Looking for the X-factor On the road again with several meetings lined up in Jakarta today and tomorrow. Our first and main stop today was a kick off meeting with one of the main broadcasting companies in Indonesia. While we were already on board for the architectural lighting of their new HQ building, they had asked us if we would be ab le to help them out with the 1000-seat theatre-studio, a planned state of the art integrated Auditorium, Concert Hall and TV Studio capable of holding concerts, talent shows, game shows, pageants, theatre performances, musicals…as we found out basically anything. We added some specialists to our team as this is not our everyday bread and butter and got appointed resulting in today’s kick off meeting. I think we are all excited as the aim is to create a unique venue that not only can sit a sizable audience but is also suitable to house shows to be recorded for national TV viewing; X-Factor being one of them. It is clear that this is also a challenge for the project team as the space planning still leaves a lot to desire. Knowing how to design a TV Studio is obviously not the same as designing the same within an architectural theatre envelope. The first stage of this project therefore will be to decide the “game plan”, the space planning that will be required for each and every type of show that we would like to have in there. Only then can we start designing the (lighting) infra-structure around it. That lighting infra-structure will consist of special stage/performance/effect lighting systems (suitable for TV Recording), architectural lighting systems; set up/maintenance lights; and emergency evacuation lighting. All that too be neatly integrated within the architectural space planning…exciting, but very challenging…

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MNC 4

MNC 7

MNC 5

Friday 19Th June Jakarta – Take-off and landing… My final meeting was perfectly located practically next to the airport’s main runways. From the meeting room we could see the planes take-off and land, just showing us how busy the country’s main airport is. We are negotiating the final contract for the renovation of one of the main terminals. The existing terminals will all be renovated and a new one is being built by an international consortium. The aviation industry is booming. Should we be appointed it would be one of the easiest sites to reach… J. So much so that my time to reach the site from Singapore maybe shorter than those who have to come from Jakarta with their oh-so notorious traffic jams…We had a false start with Bali Airport a few years ago when we had started to design the lighting concept, even presented it, with the to be appointed contactor, only to find ourselves pushed aside when a new project team and contractor was put in place as a result of government changes. It was a bitter disappointment at the time, but not much that we could do about. Having learnt our lessons we are now pushing for a contractual and binding contract directly with the Airport authorities rather than with the contractor as we were directed to do last time…After the first take-off and (hard) landing, we have good faith that this time we will take off if our meetings was anything to go by…

Have a great weekend

Airport 3

Airport 2

20. June 2015 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: light watch, lighting and culture, lighting and the economy, lighting applications, lighting design, lighting design practice, lighting standards | Leave a comment

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