The week that was 29th June – 3rd July
Singapore weekend 4-5th July 2015
Monday 29th June Singapore – Visa worries
Enjoying a few days in the office before I jet of to India later this week. The first order of priority today is to get relieve myself of some visa worries. To keep travelling freely and with minimum hassle I have several long term visa’s that allow me to enter countries on any given time at short notice. This is crucial for me as I often don’t have the time to just give my passport away for the processing of visa’s, sometimes simply because I am not that long around. Right now my China visa is due for renewal as well as my Long term Singapore employment pass. Renewing your visa’s is really an exercise in planning… when will I be long enough in town to do that and making sure I have the necessary business invitation letters from my clients to submit with my application. I have a few choices, but in this case due to my tight schedule I decided to ask two of my clients for the invitation letter, not sure who of the two would react fastest as my window of opportunity for the application is next week. It is only last week just before I went to China that I discovered that my visa was about to expire (I made the trip with 2 days to spare!). As I need to travel to China again soon I better get this organised asap. Same with my employment pass…it was only on return from my trip last week that I realised it was expired…the e-gates went all blinking red as if I was an intruder! Anyhow that is all settled now…efficient online application for renewal was successfully completed…phewww
Tuesday 30th June Singapore – Renders
It is incredible how our life has changed with the arrival of computers in our life. In the older days we used to sketch and do mood boards to convey to our clients what sort of lighting concepts we have in mind. Today it is all digital, we create real life renders which at times look so good that they can fool you for being an actual photograph. Herein also lies a danger as people (read: your client) will hold you to task when the real lighting design is completed. Too often I come across renderings that look cool but on closer inspection have many lighting effects that are not realisable. Of course because that is what I am trained to look at. Good renderers are hard to find and while we have some good renderers in our team, we have need to constantly keep this up to date and make sure their renders are up to scratch. Today I reviewed some renderings from a new addition to our team and provided my feedback to his efforts. It is only with the designer’s feedback that the renderer builds up his understanding of lighting and its integration and interaction in space. It was a good first effort…he is learning well! This is our first attempt towards creating a new lighting design concept for some heritage churches for which we are redesigning the lighting. Below one of them the old and the proposed new…dramatic change, right?
Wednesday 1st July Singapore/Goa – Jet What Ways?
It’s a long story…But after endless arguments and wasteful emails I find myself on a Jet Airways flight to Mumbai then transit to Goa. Those who know me, know that I have been a loyal Singapore Airlines customer for more than 25 years and generally do not budge to other airlines unless I have no other options to get there. All my previous flights for this project have been business class on SQ to Mumbai (overnight flights) but this time the client (or should I say the overzealous project manager) decided that since SQ was not specifically mentioned in the contract I should fly the cheapest of cheap business class. I said no and then he said that they would approve a maximum of $3K for my trip which is the comparative price on business class with Jet. I said ok I will pay the difference. By that time however SQ was fully booked, so I conceded to fly with Jet. Main reason being that in this case I could ask the client to book and pay, avoiding a lengthy reimbursement process (last reimbursable trip took more than 5 months to clear!) There is a reason why Jet is so much cheaper! The business class seats are hardly better than SQ economy and the service was way below par, with what seemed to be trainee stewardesses, stumbling over the smallest of tasks. They took my lunch order but delivered something totally different…on questioning I was told my choice was not available…some typo error in the menu and hence they had decided that I would appreciate their pasta! What? Could they not let me know and check with me? I am on a low carb diet so pasta is not my first choice…after some deliberations I managed to extract a salad…coffee was not a nicely prepared expresso, but just a dump from a big pre-fab pot of coffee…On top of that the pilot was rough, with brusque manoeuvres both in the air and on the ground, sudden changes and low and behold, he was the first out of the airplane after we landed! Jet What Ways??? On arrival to site at least we were treated with great project with the project now really visible from far away…
Thursday 2nd July Goa – Site review
With the full international team of consultants in attendance for the first time in several months, we braved sun and occasional monsoon rains to walk the site and review the progress made together with the contractors. This project, a hotel resort being built on the slopes of inland hills north of Panjim has a highest point at about 150m above sea level and offers magnificent views to the surrounding landscape and the Indian Ocean in the distance. It is a very complex site with steep gradients, twists and corners everywhere and while we have imagined the actual site initially with 3D Sketch-up models the reality is always different and the sense of space and proportions becomes far more understandable. This in turns allows us to fine tune our lighting design as specifically in these complex architectural places, the devil is in the details. The more complex the more necessary regular site visit on progress of work is needed. We are blessed with a contractor team that seems responsible and committed to deliver good work, not blindly following consultant’s drawings but ringing the bell when issues arise on site. I was happy to absorb some sunburns in return for a full update on my site knowledge (all that with complimentary free cardio exercises… J). Attached some site impressions…all in a days work…
Friday 3rd July – Goa – Retail therapy
We finished our last site meetings in the morning and left in the afternoon back for Mumbai for a transit stop on our way back to Singapore. The long 6-hour stop was to be used to visit a new potential client in Mumbai who is in the process to expand and re-interpret his fashion retail space for a new feel good shopping experience. Lighting is to be the key element in the space that is to showcase collections from leading Indian fashion designers. To me it was also a welcome break from otherwise spending 6 boring hours waiting in the transit lounge. The trip to the old part of Mumbai offered us a peak into Mumbai’s daily life…in this case rush hour back home J…We reached location well in time and spent some time exploring the site with the owner and manager who gracefully made their time available after hours to accommodate our time schedule…thanks for that! The building has a 240 year history with high ceilings and in the extension magnificent beams which will need to be integrated in the overall retail experience. A cool little project with the potential to turn into a landmark fashion retail space…looking forward to it. Have a great weekend!
The week that was