The week that was: 17-21 October 2016
Singapore – Hong Kong – Guilin – Yangshuo – Singapore, Weekend 22-23 October 2016
Not much rest in the office as after a catch up day in the office on Monday it was straight off to China again, this time to Yangshuo in the famous Guilin Mountains. We managed to navigate in between two typhoons, one just leaving the area, and another one (Haima) on its way. The strength of the oncoming one was rated such that is forced the closure of Hong Kong Airport on Friday, cancelling most in and outbound flights. We were lucky and had a smooth ride back to Singapore on Thursday. As I write this blog a picture is trending from a man peacefully reading his newspaper at Starbucks, while the torrential typhoon rains are flooding the space around him… 🙂
Monday and Friday saw a slurry of meetings with team and lighting suppliers. I find it particularly fascinating to follow the challenging route of the manufacturers and their suppliers to keep focused and stay the course or even ahead in this ever so competitive LED lighting market. Time and again something new pops up that sets a new bar for others, hence I maintain my open door policy as much as possible despite our busy work schedule. There is no doubt that the economies in the region are feeling the pinch which is clearly felt by the reduced project numbers but there is still good quality and a substantial amount of work out there and with that confidence we are still growing our team.
Visiting us on Monday, Reggiani is one of those lighting manufacturers that have been around since the early days and probably one of those market leaders that took the very first plunge in setting up their manufacturing plant in Ningbo, China, more than 20 years ago. But they struggled the last few years with the arrival and tsunami breakthrough of the LED lighting flooding the market and virtually pushing conventional lighting manufacturers back to the wall. But Reggiani is back in force with a great range of products (Mood and Yori) with features quite unique and hardly found with any other brand. I don’t really blog about specific brands but I find in this case the commitment and the way they are fighting back to remain relevant in this cut throat business exemplary for a brand that for long was one of the leading lights. It could have been a “Kodak” moment for them but they regrouped, redirected and reformed the company strategies and for sure they are here to stay. Well done.
What I failed to mention in last week’s blog is to commend one of my senior designers for stepping up and holding up our flag high at the Architectural Light + Design Symposium held at Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre recently. Grace stepped up to fill in the spot when I was unable to present. It was a great and courageous step for her, moving out of her comfort zone having never presented a paper on such respected public platforms. Presenting a lighting concept to a familiar client and project team is quite different from putting yourself out there to the scrutiny of your peers and public, so hats off. But this is also a character building trait. Pushing yourself to new challenges and completing them through commitment and positive attitude creates not only great personal satisfaction but also increases one’s confidence that you can do more and do better if you set your mind to it. Grace’s stepping up has been energizing the whole team and I am gratefully accepting their challenge. 🙂
Yangshuo; more is less
I returned to Yangshuo as part of the finishing touches of this project. To the credit of our client he maintains his strive to get a top quality product and, while still tight on his budget, listens to his consultants and accepts that regular site visits to make sure the installation follows the design as close as possible are a necessity. Every time we return to site (last visit was in August) we take the opportunity to test lights on site in areas that are in sufficient state of progress that testing allows to properly assess the best installation method. There is great team spirit in the project team which is most of all fuelled by the positive attitude of the owner. Their respect for the consultants makes us grateful and wanting to go the extra mile with a smile. As designers we have certain standards and views but being on site allows us to submerge ourselves into the real site situation and appreciate that you could still do with less without affecting the quality of the end result. The owner to his credit, is consistently challenging us to do more with less which we accept graciously as a great challenge to our own design skills as well. But it does mean regularly being on site and doing our due diligence whenever we can. Lighting designers tend to take safe options (insisting on dimming for instance) when we are not sure of the final product or site installation. This was another trip with the aim to achieve more with less…
Enjoy your weekend…