The week that was…16th – 20th October 2017
Singapore – Shanghai – Zhengzhou – Singapore
Weekend 21-22nd October 2017
The Zhengzhou trip
“U moh dlings?” I looked up at the flight stewardess, not understanding what she was trying to tell me? My quizzing look made her repeat the question: “U moh dlings? I was flying from Shanghai to Zhenzhou on a domestic flight and the Chinese attendant was doing her best to communicate with me! She then pointed to my empty glass…Ah…I got it! “You more drinks”…Whether I wanted another drink! Yes, please…
This week I am back in China to see a client, a big Chinese developer with whom we have already done some projects with our local team, but who had asked me to come in to kick start a quality drive and help convince the project team of the importance of good quality design and good quality (lighting) products. While my Shanghai team had been working with this client in Zhengzhou for a while I had not been back there since 2010 when working on the 300m high Zhengzhou Tower. It was great to see that the tower still shines in all its beauty without any noticeable LED light failure! The gold and cool white shades of dynamic light are still looking great…I am still happy we decided not to go for colour, except for the crown feature…great and powerful design, and still the major landmark in Zhengzhou!
It is hard to comprehend the culture and mindset in China if you have not experienced it first hand. Of course there is the lost in translation like described above, which at times can lead to comical situations, but that in itself is just a nice challenge and as you get used to it, you understand it better. If you throw in some Chinese like xie-xie; hen hao, mei quan xi, mei want ti, piau liang etc you quickly find yourself connecting with them.
But what surprises time and again is their lack of safety measures on work sites and their creativity to resolve problems with little means. Rather then your typical (glaring) work floodlights they had bought the cheapest of cheap linear flex light that hung as garlands from space to space. Who cares about colour or brightness consistency, or even failing light sections…! The perfect application for these $10/100m china made strip lights! Localised work lights was done with simple miners head lights…light where you need it at minimal costs! Work safety protection however, is practically non-existing.
China is still a happening place, mega projects where you look, certainly in Zhengzhou. When driving around from site to site I saw cranes and worksites wherever I looked! I added
some quick snaps of the sales office site model to give you an impression of just one of these projects…
My Zhengzhou client is into residential and hospitality projects and one part of our project work is developing a strategy to light up his high end residential carparks…in these case more than 5000 car park spaces in 4 locations. Worth developing a sensible (and smart) lighting strategy. Hence their request for me to come down to Zhengzhou to meet their team as the disconnect between the designers and contractor team is glaring. Where the architect shows beautiful renderings we only saw the cheapest of cheap suspended fluorescent look-a-like LED tubes hanging disorderly from the ceiling. Supposedly presence sensor driven the lights were all over the place, on when they were not supposed to be and vice versa…What happened to the design concept? I was re-assured and told to disregard what was installed and just “do my thing”. Though the light costs (complete fitting, LED tube and sensor) only 30 RMB (about USD 5! Who signed off on this??) it seemed still a lot of lights to scrap as I certainly am not going to use them!
Enjoy the weekend!
Video of the Zhengzhou tower