The (crazy) week that was… 7-11 November 2016

Singapore, Weekend 12 – 13 November 2016

What a week it has been…

Welcome to Trumpland…

I think very few of us will have predicted what just happened in the US. It is fair to say that first with Brexit in the UK and now with a Trump presidency in the USA, we have a new world order with lots of uncertainties ahead. What it will bring in the months, years ahead is anybody’s guess. Populist movements around the world seem to move away from international cooperation opting to focus on their own countries instead of building a world of cooperation and consensus. It is too early to judge whether this “reset” is good or bad for the world in general or for our lighting profession specifically. We may have to brace ourselves for a sharpened division, creating more confrontation that will require very strong political skills on all levels to navigate the potential pitfalls along the way.

Will it affect our lighting or lighting design world? It may well be…protectionist movements in regards to (lighting) manufacturing may create new challenges and hurdles previously protected under free trade agreements. With new trade barriers possibly in the making and higher import tariffs being applied to protect the local economy, we may not that easily be able to procure the light fittings we want and may have to sharpen our specification skills to use even more locally made products, a trend that was already growing strongly but may in the near future be the only way. It will certainly stimulate the local economies but will it also keep researchers and innovators motivated on a worldwide scale? Multi-national lighting manufacturers invest lots of monies and efforts in developing their products for a world market, will they still get enough return on their investment to keep going? The global speed of technological developments in LED’s has been phenomenal with a general aim to develop internationally accepted quality standards for easy integration. But will that still hold true in the longer term? We are seeing more and more that governments issue decrees to stimulate their own economies, but as their quality and performance levels are not necessarily up to par with international standards we may need to do a few steps back before we can move forward again…

Travelling may also become more tedious, certainly in light of terrorism that has taken the world in a stronghold. Under the populist movements current open border policies may be reviewed with international travel become more difficult. My work gets me to travel to another country (mostly Asia Pacific / Middle East) nearly on a weekly basis, so free and easy travel makes it still reasonably bearable. More importantly the question arises whether protectionist movements will also mean that the lighting designer may in the future also need to be from the same country? With operations in Australia, Singapore, China, Indonesia and India I have already acknowledged the need to have people on the ground, speaking the local language, understanding the local culture and working together with local suppliers, but it would be practically impossible to have an local office (employing local staff) in every country we do projects. The internal communication and administration between the offices I have now is already complicated, let alone if we would have more…

With the populist movements gaining strength in countries around the world, will world-wide environmental agreements such as the reduction on carbon emissions be abided by or renegotiated and if so will that have any impact on sustainability targets in (lighting) design?

Not all doom and gloom

The news of the Trump presidency has been quite depressing, occupying the thoughts of many, but ever the optimist I am, it is not necessarily all doom and gloom. It is certainly a reality that we need to accept or at least be aware of when planning our long term project design commitments. Away from politics we have seen great developments in lighting which will hopefully continue despite more tense political climates.

We have seen many of the traditional lighting manufacturers making a successful transition to LED technology, some taking their time, some coming back with a vengeance and I suspect that in the coming time we will see a further profiling of key lighting manufacturers driven specifically by the development of new innovative products. Innovation is the key here. Those who have remained relevant in lighting market are those who have radically embraced product innovation built around the typical opportunities that LED technology offers. Not all manufacturers have managed to make the switch while the LED revolution has also allowed many new start-ups, new kids on the block, to enter the playing field, some of those previously not at all involved in lighting industry. The political climate should create a definite boom and stimulation towards increased local manufacturing and innovation.

The ever growing Internet of Things have propelled big technology companies like Google, Apple and many others right into the lighting playing field as well. It is fair to say that this is therefore one of the most exciting and challenging things to look forward to in the coming times. The wireless communication is borderless and likely to revolutionise the way we think about lighting, the way we appreciate and use lighting, and as a result the way we as lighting designers need to redefine our horizon in the near future…Trump or no Trump…I found a few cartoons that sorts of depicts the mood many of us are in…

The Lighting Gallery

To end the week on a high(er) note, I attended the opening of Million Electric’s new showroom called the Lighting Gallery in Singapore. When I am in town I will always make an effort to support and attend lighting events like this, certainly if they promote better awareness of lighting and lighting design. The gallery not only houses 2 levels of product displays but also has a 3rd level fully dedicated as an architectural  lighting demonstration center with Erco, Modulex and Artemide products installed in a demo room very much reminiscent of Erco’s room in Ludenscheid, though on a smaller scale. The demo room is open for everyone to use to demonstrate lighting effects to project clients. These events are also a great platform to meet with your peers and fellow industry players in general. I caught with many and enjoyed the evening as it made me forget for little while the crazy week we had behind us…

Enjoy your weekend

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12. November 2016 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: Light and inspiration, light watch, lighting and culture, lighting and the economy, lighting applications, lighting of the future | Leave a comment

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