The week that was… 2-6th October 2017
Singapore, weekend 7-8th October 2017
As always, my stays in Perth provide me with that balance between lifestyle (Australia) and a driven business environment (Singapore/ Asia Pacific). The dryer, crisper and presumably healthier air of the Australian West Coast combined with the generally blue skies and sunny days give me that energy booster so badly needed to keep going for our projects around the world. But as the years are starting to count taking it easy and pacing yourself is crucial for the long run. Avoiding overnight flights whenever possible, use reasonable departure times to avoid having to get up at 4am, taking your time to go to the airport in time to avoid any form of potential stress…it’s all part of keeping sane and healthy.
The same strategy also applies towards our projects. Our main commodities are time and knowledge. Knowing how to distribute your knowledge in time is key to survival. For that you need to make sure you have enough time to research, prepare and document your work. As we are not working on just one project the net time needed is not the time you can advise your clients. There are too many variables that can influence your available time to deliver so making sure you have a comfortable time buffer to do your work is elementary in the success of your project and the appreciation you get from your client and the rest of the team in the process. When you are stressed for time, you are bound to take short cuts and the quality of your work suffers.
This in turn leads to the importance of prompt and good communication! Clarity about what a client or the rest of the team can expect from you is crucial. While in the early days we were eager to please and got easily “bullied” into delivering our design work within unreasonable time periods, we have learned how to master that by communicating and educating our clients early about the time we will need to deliver our work during the various stages of the design process.
The positive side effect of all this is that I have a happy team that does rarely slog it out till late hours to meet unreasonable deadlines. A happy family means a happy designer, a happy designer means a more motivated designer and a more motivated designer means a better quality of work delivery. It’s a win-win for all.
Just because we tell our clients that we need 3 weeks to deliver a stage of work does not mean we cannot deliver earlier, on the contrary, we love to do that as that provides our clients with a pleasant feeling that we look after them and treat their project as a priority! And if by any chance we have problems meeting the agreed timeline we will let our client know as early as possible with the reasons why, rather than keep silent. By definition people always think bad about you if they don’t know what is going on. You may as well be upfront and open about it and if there are time issues discuss together how best to resolve that with minimum impact to the project or other team members.
So after some energy boosting time in Perth where I did take some time for some hiking and outdoor activities after work, it was back to Singapore by mid-week to attend to some meetings and meet with suppliers for our project fitting selections. From natural light (life) to artificial light (life). It’s not that you cant do outdoor activities in Singapore, it’s just that the climate and life style does not really encourage you like it does in Australia…😊
While I do generally not attend all manufacturers and suppliers that come into our office, sometimes I do and this time I listened in on the latest product update from Luce & Light a company whose products we have been using regularly in our projects. It is really interesting to see how some companies find their way up in the industry from humble and modest beginnings with just a few good quality products to a leading position with innovative product features. There is no doubt that survival in this industry depends on the innovative power of your products, the novelty factors, being a step ahead of the competitions as the moment you become a me-too manufacturer it is much harder to keep your potential clients interested! Luce & Light is one of those companies that seems to have found the right balance between quality, innovation and service…
As lighting designers, we need to be in the forefront of design, show our clients that we know what is going on, and for that we need trendsetting lighting fixtures, be aware of the latest technologies. Hence the importance of keeping in touch with our manufacturers. You don’t want your clients to tell you about some new lighting innovation you are not aware off!
Below the contrast between beautiful (Perth) nature and natural light, colours and reflections versus office and artificial light
Enjoy the weekend!