The week that was… 8-12 February 2016
Singapore – Perth, Weekend 13-14 February 2016
The week did not start until Wednesday for many of us with Chinese New Year, the year of the Monkey, being celebrated on Monday and Tuesday allowing us a nice 4-day long weekend, a much appreciated break to relax, re-energize and enjoy some quality “home” time after a hectic start to the year. It is amazing how much personal stuff is actually left out to do when you are so emerged in your day to day business dealings! It was certainly productive for me. I have embarked on a new and exciting “Light Talk” project of which I will share more details later in the year. Watch this space as they say.
Singapore; luck of the draw.
Wednesday was my only day in the Singapore office as I am off to Perth tomorrow for some projects follow up in Australia. The timing seems just right as the heat (the last few days were >40 degree Celsius in Perth) will have subsided by the time I arrive.
For today there were some project progress meetings, and a coordination meeting with an architect/ interior designer, which triggered an internal question in how far you can criticize a fellow consultant for doing their work properly. We each (architect/ lighting designer) are responsible for our own core discipline and hence, out of professional respect, we need to observe the limits of our responsibility and respect each-other’s expertise . It does not always feel like a clear cut call, but if we take lighting as our guideline it actually is. Anything that relates to the performance of the lighting and its resulting effects is legitimately our call and our responsibility. We comment on a colour scheme if it negatively impacts on the lighting effect, we can advise on material finishes if we feel that it may create unwanted lighting by-effects, but we cannot really have any legitimate say in shapes, forms, compositions or architectural layouts if that has nothing to do with lighting, regardless whether we like it or not. Any opinion on non-lighting related issues is purely subjective and why we may voice our concerns, it is not our call. We generally do not appreciate architects patronizing us about our lighting design…so why criticize their designs?
We should realise though that the knife cuts on both ends as an architect/ interior designer may create a fantastic design in which lighting enhances the inherent beauty “automatically” and makes for a great project for both. On the other hand the architect/ interior designer may get it “wrong” and even though the lighting may be at its best it may not lift the project to great heights. For a lighting designer this is really the luck of the draw. I was “lucky” with projects like the Petronas Twin Towers and Raffles Hotel that help kick start my career, but there also a lot of “misses” in my career, projects where the lead designer (and the client) totally did not get it. Some of these projects don’t even figure on my reference list…So why do these in the first place? There are many reasons, first of all at the start you generally don’t know, it is only as the project unfolds that you start picking up the signs…You will then reach a stage in which you have to make up your mind whether to stay in it or leave. Often these “bad” projects have also some hold on you as the clients turn out to be bad paymasters as well, leaving you to think of an exit strategy while collecting your due fees in the process. Sometimes that just means to sit out the project, but by then the initial joy of the project is long gone…
The project that triggered these thoughts is not that bad and since we are building up a close relationship with this lead designer and the client is actually very nice, we will put in our best (lighting) efforts to make the best out of it whether we like the architects design intent or not. For all we know it may actually turn out to be very nice! The benefit of the doubt prevails for now 🙂
Perth, heat and solar. During my long weekend break I did read up on several articles all related to solar energy, perhaps triggered by the Perth heatwave. From various corners of the earth, from Australia to the USA via Thailand and Singapore, it seems there is a renewed interest and stimulus towards the use of solar energy. Climate changes conferences and events are held in abundance and the message to be more vigilant and caring about our precious planet seems to hit more and more home. Combined with the ever increasing efficiency and performance of the LED technology on one hand and the ever increasing efficiency in solar power generation, solar energy is getting a new push so it seems. Australia is one of those countries well placed to profit from solar energy and the current government is certainly putting it back on the agenda. Over the coming days I have a number of meetings in regards to our projects here, all moving in progressing stages of design and installation. I am also looking forward to get outside my normal project routine with a sports oval lighting installation to be assessed and improved next week in Kalgoorlie, 500km east of Perth. This is probably one of my most loyal customers. We were first commissioned around 2004 to develop a master plan for all the sports facilities in town and ever since we have been working on its gradual implementation. This underlines one of the most elementary marketing strategies that holds for every practice, lighting design or other, treasure your existing clients! It is far more difficult to acquire new project clients then to nurture existing ones and this one is certainly one that has proven it true!
I want to leave you with a fascinating aspect of lighting…time-lapse photography. Lighting is an extremely interesting medium to play with and many artists have explored the time lapse exposure that captures the movement of light creating imaginative objects in the process; a light moment in time…
Have a great weekend!