The week that was 6-10th March 2017
Sydney, Australia, weekend 11-12 March
This week, as well as next week, we will have one of our recently joined juniors’ blogging about their experiences. It is refreshing as well as educational to hear lighting designer’s thoughts and experiences from different positions within a companies operations. I have always blogged from my position as “the boss”, but getting feedback and stories from other team member’s perspectives has been a real pleasure. While I am currently in Australia, this week it’s Cindy’s story, enjoy…have a great weekend.
Cindy Dong, Junior Lighting Designer
First of all, I’d like to thank Martin for giving this chance to start my first step into blogging as a “lighting designer”. At first, I had no idea how to begin and what to say since I just started learning about lighting design. However, with an encouraging topic given by Martin, ‘shifting from interior designer to lighting designer’, I was able to write about my experience after joining KLD and my first-hand experience with lighting design.
Working as an interior designer
Before I joined KLD, I worked as an interior design consultant in Singapore. Working in an interior design firm, I mainly had to talk to clients and help them on their house renovations. It was quite challenging—not only because it takes time to understand what the clients need and want, but also because there are even more details and considerations to follow up on before the project can be properly handed over. I learned that no project can be beautifully and successfully done in the blink of an eye and that it takes a lot of responsibility, time, technical knowledge, and experience. Although it was tough, I was motivated when I learned new things and see the clients happy with the result; it encouraged me to keep moving forward. Despite that, however, a friend who was working in a lighting consultation firm called me for an interview for an urgent opening of junior designer position. Before this opportunity, I barely knew about lighting design. During the interview, however, this whole ‘lighting’ thing captured my mind. Since then, I couldn’t help but keep searching for more information about lighting design and even purposely went out to the city in the middle of the night to simply observe how the lighting design works and how it impacts the environment. It was so interesting that lighting can create a totally different scene from how it looks during the day.
My perspective is that lighting brings hope to people and enhances the sense of place. I suddenly desired to become a lighting designer who does not only light up the space but also people’s heart. Besides having an admiring heart towards lighting professionals, I started applying to lighting design companies hoping I could learn more about it and gain more experience and skills.
Joining KLD as a junior lighting designer
With hopes and prayer, I was able to find one lighting consultancy’s old post about hiring new staff on a job hunting web site. I remember that it took me nearly a week to find out its address and I unhesitatingly took the opportunity. I prepared my resume and clumsy portfolio and went to visit the company, determined and bracing myself for rejection. J Luckily, the seniors interviewed me on the spot (Martin was travelling abroad at the time). I don’t really remember what I said during the interview; I probably just spat out whatever I had in mind without filtering it because I was too excited and nervous to talk with senior lighting professionals!
Since Joining KLD, I recognized that as a designer, it is essential to have good communicational skills to have a good teamwork and to liaise well with clients and suppliers. I find myself needing a constant training to improve on this so that it won’t hinder me from running projects independently in the future. I am deeply grateful to my colleagues and especially my seniors for their patient mentoring. Now, I am gradually improving in efficiently assisting seniors on document, drawing and rendering works.
Luxury Collection Resort & Spa
I had a chance to be involved and to assist some of the seniors’ projects in various areas like commercial, hotel, and so on. During the first month, Amanda, one of our seniors, gave me a job to assist her on a Luxury Collection Hotel Resort mock up room in Vietnam. It’s a 6-star luxury hotel resort and spa surrounded by the beach and the hills – a good project to start my training (though it was hard working on all the detail drawings). At first I worked without fully digesting the project. But after accompanying Amanda for a meeting with the interior designers recently, I realised this project is a lot more interesting than I had imagined. Because the light will play an important role to beautifully create the harmony between the villa’s (the light spill from interior) and the surroundings at night. It would have been even more exciting if the client had also engaged us for the full landscape lighting design so that we could have integrated lighting design ideas to bring out all the aspects of the nice structures, the oriental elements together with the nature. In this project however we will just review and comment on what the landscape designer proposes
Parkview Square Site Visit
Recently, Cheryline allowed me to join her site meeting at Parkview Square lobby & bar. Wow, that site visit was such an inspiration because I felt like I’m in a different world. Lighting can create a perfect 3D effect, especially on the ceiling, when the right light fitting is installed. When Martin and Cheryline were checking and adjusting all the dimming and angles, I was pretty amazed and that reminded me how lighting brings “life” to space! And that’s why it effectively stimulates the emotions of people and leaves a great impact in their memory. It was another opportunity for me to learn more about the importance of engaging with lighting designers. Cheryline let me be involved in doing its toilet design. I wish I can learn a lot from there as well.
I’ve been working on renderings quite often since I joined, and it’s been really challenging for me as it’s hard to figure out the effect of lightings especially to find out where the light travels. So in order to visualise better, I had to spend some time to go out and see the lights at night. But this Parkview Square visit showed me a lot of lighting effects at once! I believe I can apply my learning here to my rendering works. J
I’d like to end my blog by saying I look forward to many more of these journeys to become a “real” lighting designer.