The week that was 31 October – 4th November 2016
Perth, Weekend 5 – 6 November 2016
I arrived in Perth over the weekend in hot anticipation of my meeting with the Dutch King and Queen who started their state visit to Australia in Perth. Having received an invitation as a member of the Dutch business community in Perth I had summited my application together with Alex who like Queen Maxima is also from Argentinian descent. They apparently received thousands of applications but only 350 were lucky enough to be invited. During the week we progressed further on our churches project including a site visit for the assessment of some additional work. At the end of the week I visited Curtin University to have look at student’s work on the invitation of one of the head teachers to provide them with a professional assessment of the lighting products that they had created in their first year.
King Willem Alexander and Queen Maxima
I am not really a royalist but I have grown to appreciate our King and Queens efforts in promoting our country and their relentless support to the Dutch business community around the world. For that reason I was keen to meet them in person and when I also got further invited to participate in a one on one discussion with the royal couple I was even more excited. The discussions were held after the official “passade” (where people one by one are introduced to the royals, shake hands and have an official photo taken as selfies or taking pictures with your phone up close were obviously not allowed. My discussion group, “the Creative Industry”, consisted of a total of 5 professionals, an industrial designer, a visual artist, a photographer, an industrial designer and myself a lighting designer. Other discussion groups covered other topics of relevance. Only 8 discussion groups of 5 people had been created with the royal couple spending about 10-15 mins per group. Each of us were given one on one time to share our experience of living in Australia and the challenges facing us in exercising our profession. I was also given the opportunity to present my book to the couple which I did with great pleasure. Queen Maxima said she appreciated the gift and would read, but whether they actually will is another question all togetherJ. But the idea that I have been able to give them my book and the possibility that they may eventually read it so they can get a feel of what my life abroad is like is nice…
We are getting towards the critical part of these projects where detailing installation methods and specifications of the lighting needs to be locked in. for that it is also important to understand the electrical implications of cable routings and power supply in consideration of the heritage of the buildings. For that we had brought in our electrical specialist and over the next few weeks he will work out the electrical design and assess the implications on the building structure and eventually on the lighting design if any. Lighting design is not a stand-alone discipline and even if it is just a lighting upgrade it is critical to involve the electrical (the invisible part of lighting) in the design to make sure it can actually be realised. The electrical design is being undertaken under our umbrella to make sure it is sub servient to our lighting design. Too often the electrical consultant (generally already devout of any creative thinking) is a party pooper when it comes to resolving creative lighting design so having them as a sub-consultancy to our lighting design team is a great an exciting prospect. We have also been asked to look at some of the exterior lighting that had previously been installed as specifically the in-ground up-lights seem to have the wrong optics (glary and light polluting) and are located too close to the building to have any proper effect, some areas also having drainage issues!
Besides enjoying the great Western Australian weather (it’s beach time again…), pottering around in my small little garden, I did take time out to visit Curtin University on Friday to look at a lighting exhibition by 1st year students of the Interior Architecture curriculum. Lighting design is a part of the studies and in their first year they are asked to actually physically design and produce lighting fixtures. Understanding lighting theory and the transformational qualities of light in space are elementary and hence this exercise gave them a first had taste of what lighting is and what it does in space. With emphasis on sustainable design and encouraged to source their building materials from industry off cuts or recycling materials from discarded waste, the theme for this year was movement. Movement in the widest sense of the word from mechanical, digital to optical movement. I am always stimulated by interaction with students as they have still some inhibited approach to design and as a result some of them (as was the case here as well) came out with some really out of the box concepts. Limited in time they were also confronted with the reality of production and the use of techniques such as rapid prototyping using CNC machines, laser cutting and 3D printing. My favourite was a design was a fusion of gravity, levitation and lighting; a ball being blown in the air, floating above the fixture illuminated from below. Others explored flexible concepts of form, others interacted lighting with nature such as plants or water. Well done to all the students. I much believe in supporting the new generation of designers and if possible will make myself available to share my experience with them and provide them with guidance from my professional experience as a lighting designer.
Enjoy your weekend…