The week that was June 27 – July 2
Singapore – Seoul – Singapore, Weekend 2-3rd July 2016
On Monday I finished my presentation for Seoul over the weekend saved it on a thumb drive and put it away, done. From the outset the summit seems to be mostly a government, multi-national corporations and academic researcher’s convention and I am not 100% sure what I am doing there. But I was invited and it is an opportunity to re-explore the Korean market where I have not done projects for quite a while…read further on how I went. On Tuesday I finished the draft for our city masterplan project (which I cannot mention as we signed a NDA with the government for confidentiality) and I am getting excited by the looks of it. In my research to similar type city environments I did find some interesting implementations that will serve as reference.
City lighting strategy planning.
The master lighting strategy that we are developing is very much build around the natural and nature heritage of the area. Still very much untouched, the designated area will be turned into a bristling city precinct with many of its natural (landscape) elements retained. Motorised traffic will very much be contained with emphasis on pedestrian and bike circulation. Many plaza’s and promenades with dedicated pockets for social, education, sports and entertainment activities. Buildings will be linked up through sky loops, aerobridges and elevated promenades. In my research to this part of the concept I found several interesting existing implementations notably in New York and Paris
I have been flying with Singapore Airlines for more than 25 years and on my flight to Seoul I was reminded again why I love flying with them. In order to keep my weight in check I generally pre-order a low calorie meal and had done on this flight too. Half way into the flight we were served our meal but as I started with the main course the stewardess came back to me full of apologies saying she had given me the wrong meal. I had not noticed it as I thought the beef and vegetables seemed pretty low calorie to me. However in their menu the low calorie main dish was fish and rice. I told her it was fine and finished the meal served to me. I thought that was the end of it, no issue at all, however later in the flight the chief stewardess came back to me with a $150 (!) voucher together with her most sincere apologies for the mistake. Really I asked her, it was no big deal! But she insisted I took the voucher…I was easily convinced (J) and was once more won over by their super service and personal attention.
My trip to Korea was split in two parts, one a visit to the Alto lighting offices and factories, the other delivering my presentation at the low carbon green growth earth energy summit. Alto has been the leading lighting manufacturer in Korea for decades with turnovers rivalling the leading big boys in Europe for instance. Only since the last 2-3 years they have focussed on developing the international market and that’s how we got know their products and appreciate the quality. Visiting their office, showroom and factory (about 1 hours’ drive outside Seoul) to get to know their team was an essential part of developing the relationship. The team has a great attitude as well as a sense of direction for the future with great plans for new product developments. The product range is still relatively limited and mainly aimed at the corporate, commercial and industrial sector, but their understanding of where LED technology is heading is driving their product development towards exciting new opportunities. Cooperation with lighting designers is seen as imperative for success and our discussions therefore focussed on the different lighting options lighting designers are after. A company to watch…
The green and not so green practices in lighting design
Last but not least I delivered my presentation at this energy summit and while I am still not sure whether the platform was the right one to promote greener practices in lighting it was worth exploring speaking to an audience that for once was not from the lighting or architectural design industry. Mostly academics, government officials and researchers (by the looks of it) attended and (similar to the PLDC format) the summit had various parallel sessions and subjects in different conference rooms to choose from. As far as I could see I was the only speaker about lighting (design) and considering the audience background decided to include a little introduction about what lighting designers actually do. It was actually quite refreshing to speak to non-lighting people and the presentation obviously aroused interest with several questions raised in the Q+A session afterwards. While the session chair initially had urged me to round up my presentation with my allocated time running out, the questions (including from the chairperson herself) kept coming and spilled well over into the next speaker’s time slot…sorry! It will be interesting to see if it will result in some interest in the future. I took several business cards for further follow up. Time will tell.
Otherwise it was great to be back in Seoul. I reconnected with the Gangnam and Iteawon areas (even bought myself a leather jacket!) and though the weather was hot and humid enjoyed it thoroughly. It has been more than 10 years since I was last here and like so many capital cities in the world Seoul has been growing at a break neck speed and has all the buildings and infra structure to show for it. The city seems ever so brimming with energy and as always entrepreneurial. The big boys (Hyundai/ Kia, Lotte, Samsung, Sanyong are present everywhere. I have added some city impressions for those who have never been to Seoul. Interestingly I felt that in visible LED technology in application they have still a way to go with many conventional lighting systems still being used…be back soon.
Have a great weekend.