Amsterdam – Dubai – Singapore – Kuala Lumpur – Singapore,
Weekend 29-30th September 2018
Fresh from my little retreat in France I hopped on the plane to Dubai to attend Light Middle East event and deliver my presentation on LDoT. Like we collaborate in Asia with Messe Frankfurt (HK) for lighting events in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Bangkok, the local design community under guidance of the ever-energetic Sakina Dugawalla -Moeller created a great conference program at Light Middle East as well as some other fringe events to stimulate lighting education and awareness.
Think Light – Cross roads
The conference program had started on the Sunday but my flight only arrived late in the evening so I unfortunately missed both the day and evening program. I know from experience how difficult it is to not only put an attractive conference program together but even more on how to attract and keep an audience captive throughout. Targeted marketing and promotion is one and “strong handed” moderation is another. Specifically making sure the speakers arrive in time, stick to the allocated program time and stay focussed on the theme of the conference. This requires pre-consultation with the speakers to make sure that the presentation is not only relevant as a topic but specifically in content. To make sure there is also a bond between the speakers making sure the immediate speakers before and after are present also helps in forging a coordinated feel towards the audience. While I stayed throughout most presentations I felt some disconnect as some of the speakers arrived last minute and left straight after, giving the feeling the event was not important to them…anyhow that is just my personal little rant. I enjoyed doing my presentation and overall compliment Sakina with the outstanding effort in putting the program together!
The Perfect Light
The evening was dedicated to the first ever screening in the Middle East of Light Collectives movie “The Perfect Light” that has been shown around the world. The showing at Novotel’s Blue Bar was to my understanding the 16th time the movie was screened. Hosted by IGuzzini (Richard Holmes/ Sergio Padula!) and introduced by the makers themselves, Sharron Stammers and Martin Lupton, to the Dubai lighting design community, the evening turned out to be very entertaining. I had not seen the movie before but thought it was very well done and captive from beginning till end…it certainly seems to ask for a sequel!
Light Middle East Awards night
Rounding up LME was the awards night, honouring designers and manufacturers for outstanding projects and products. Expertly hosted again by Sharon and Martin it saw the local community come together to celebrate their achievements. The after parties being probably the most enjoyable parts of the night with lots of networking and connecting…
The Middle East is not my prime focus in terms of business, but if and when there are opportunities we will take on projects there. I have been in and out Dubai on numerous occasions over the years, some for projects, some for lighting events as Light Middle East. As my return flight was later in the evening after the event I decided to take some time off and actually do a bit of “sight-seeing”. Visit the later year developments such as the Burj Al Arab and Burj Kalifa, The Frame, Palm Resort island and its Atlantis Hotel and others. I am obviously not the only one as to enter Burj Al Arab for instance you require a reservation or booking which on enquiry was about USD 200 per person for a high tea! Visiting Burj Kalifa also requires some advance planning and booking…
Overall, while Dubai may be great for business, I don’t really like the city…they are building like mad, one developer trying to outdo the other (Emaar, Meraas, Nakheel, etc), assumingly with the 2020 World Expo in mind, with the result that everything feels artificial and unreal. It is hard to feel a soul in this city…Certainly coming from my nature environment of the Dordogne countryside, the contrast was scary. I did enjoy driving around though thanks to my host Veer and great company Vibhor…
Alila Hotel Bangsar
Hardly back in Singapore I flew out again 24 hours later to attend the grand opening of our Alila Bangsar Hotel project in Kuala Lumpur. Another potential award winner… Designing city hotels with an “oasis” feel is not easy but the Neri & Hu interiors, simple and contemporary with great attention to detail together with our lighting really works. As soon as you step in your feel in a different world. The night was an exploration of the hotel with activities and food/ drink stations scattered throughout the key hotel areas. An official opening toast was hosted by Alila founder Mark Edelson in the presidential suite. The enjoyable evening moved slowly from the pool area up to the magnificent roof terrace with unlimited 360 degree view of the city. Proud to be associated with this project.
We left back to Singapore the next day with a tired but very satisfied feeling.
Have a great rest of the weekend!
Some of the lighting artworks
The perfect light
Singapore – Amsterdam, Weekend 8-9th September 2018
With the usual hectic meetings and last-minute demands the first two days of the week, I finally left on Tuesday night for Amsterdam to attend Signify’s Pioneers of Light event with at the centre of it all the Lighting Design of Things round the table conference.
The week started with a strategy meeting to decide on the content of our planned KLD Convention (KLDC) right on the heels of PLDC in Singapore. As I will have most of my team together to attend PLDC it is also a unique occasion to catch up and discuss the way forward with the company into the future. With the help of Mark Stuart, a professional corporate trainer who has helped our team over the last 2 years and specialises in helping companies prepare for the digital age, we discussed the content for our 2-day in-house event. We put a provisional program together and are excited about the directions and potential outcomes, very much centred around our LDoT platform.
We now pretty much meet every week with new potential IoT players for collaborations or partnerships. One thing is for sure if you want to make a dent in the lighting-IoT world you can only do that through collaborations and partnerships. The IoT world is too complex and extensive to be wanting to be and do everything. On Monday we met with another new player previously not known to have anything to do with smart lighting, but like us they are moving forcefully ahead and we may well collaborate with them on our Punggol digital district project as they have already been approved by the client as a smart supplier…there you go…
Punggol Digital District
Speaking of which we had another major and crucial meeting (literally hours before I flew off) with the client to make sure they are well aware of what we are doing. While we are coordinating our design development with the lead architect and the rest of the design team on a nearly daily basis, making sure the client is on the same page is critical to avoid abortive work as we move ahead. The client, practical as ever, is not surprisingly principally focussed on cost saving and the ease of operational management…all good so far…
Pioneers of light – Amsterdam
The rest of the week for me was dedicated to the Pioneers of Light event held at the famous Amsterdam Arena stadium, home to probably Hollands most famous soccer team Ajax and not in the least linked to arguably Hollands greatest player, Johan Cruyff.
Philips Lighting, now aptly renamed Signify, also held a world partner event at the same time which saw some 250 partners from all over the world congregate at the Arena to learn more about Signify’s IoT platform called Interact. A market place was created for everyone to see the various Interact platforms in action in dedicated applications. The Pioneers of Light event however was only for a very selected few, literally handpicked by Signify’s management based on their strategic importance to the business. We started on the first night with a welcome get-to know-eachother-network dinner. Nice and relaxed, allowing us to get familiar with each other and each others background.
No, I am not talking about U2’s famous lead guitarist but about arguably the world’s most smart and intelligent building, which was our first stop the next day. Occupied mostly by Deloitte the building is a living example of what todays smart and intelligent IoT technology can achieve. We were given some great presentations and shown around the building to get a feel of the IoT capabilities of the building which came into operation in 2014. You can google the Edge Building, Amsterdam for more information. While the achievements are impressive, it did not come about without lots of challenges and obstacles and not surprisingly with what they have learned the Edge is now preparing for V2.0 as technology has kept on improving at a fast pace…a very impressive visit indeed.
Lighting Design of Things
Back at the Arena and after some further introductions about the Interact platform it was finally time for our LDoT round the table discussion, a studio event that was being pre-recorded for posting as a web/pod cast in the coming days on the Signify Lighting University site expertly managed by Jaap Schuuring, who is in charge of customer learning. Moderator for the discussion was independent lighting designer and writer Alan Tulla and his task was to extract as much as he could from not only myself as the only active lighting designer of things but also Laura Taylor, Head Design Exploration at Signify, Nathanael Meyer, Head of Design at GSM Projects and Peter Raynham, LET Lecturer at the University College of London. The diverse backgrounds of the panellists providing a large variety of expertise for a great discussion. The one and a half hour during discussion, through Alan’s skilful moderation, delivered everything that one would like to know on the current state and impact of the IoT on the future of lighting design…a great value discussion…can’t wait to relive it when the webcast comes online! Thanks to the Signify Team (Anissa, Jaap, Pierre-Yves, Mike) for making this possible and thanks to my fellow panellists for their great insights.
Amsterdam at night
We concluded the event with a sunset canal boat dinner and a walk about the city narrated and guided by an expert city architect and lighting designer to give substance to the beautiful city skyline. We un-boarded at the famous Hermitage building and walked our way to the city centre taking in the beauty of the canals, bridges and “grachten huizen”,Amsterdam is famous for.
I mentioned it before and I do it again in rounding up my blog…it will be crucial for the future and the Pioneers of Light event has certainly contributed in planting the seeds to develop these oh-so necessary partnerships!
PS: I will be away for a short break…back in 2 weeks when I am presenting my LDoT platform at Light Middle East 24-25th September in Dubai… have a great weekend!
The Edge presentations
Pioneers of Light – LDoT
Canal boat dinner and city night tour
Of course the social media…
Shenzhen – Singapore, Weekend 1st- 2nd September 2018
After an exciting weekend in Shenzhen I flew back to Singapore for what I thought would be a relatively quiet week as my original trip to the Maldives was postponed to a later date. But as so often, appointments, meetings and other “things” popped out of the wood work making for a busy week after all!
As I mentioned in my last blog, the weekend was all about celebrating, in this case the celebration of my good friend Alex Xu the principal of the company named after him. An architectural lighting practice based in Shenzhen celebrating its 10 years in the business. Good initiative, I think it is good to celebrate and reflect on your achievements, which is what Alex did with more than 200 attending the event held at the newly completed Hard Rock Hotel in Shenzhen, one of his projects. While I was the only “Angmoh” among the otherwise Chinese guests, the elite from the design industry was present; architects, interior designers, developers, city representatives, lighting manufacturers and of course fellow lighting designers, many from the CLDA.
The event was very well organised and I can only say I got the royal VIP treatment, flight arrangements, pick up, hotel, etc. Thanks Alex! It was my pleasure to deliver the keynote address about my Lighting Design of Things platform which was gracefully translated by Lear Hsieh, who represented the CLDA as its president. Presentations and entertainment were well mixed and kept everyone interested and entertained. The subsequent celebration dinner was a typical Chinese affair with a lot of toasting and drinking! An enjoyable event! Well done.
After our team’s factory visit in Austria earlier this year on the back of our Frankfurt trip, it was our pleasure to meet up with Javier Nieto again in our office. He updated us on the latest developments and product improvements since Light & Build. I always keep saying that the products are as good as the people behind it!
One of the leaders in IoT world is without doubt Signify, formerly known as Philips. As part of our LDoT partnership drive, I had been invited to spent a full afternoon at the Philips experience centre to meet with the various IoT specialists to get myself fully updated on what their Interact platform can achieve and what’s cooking in the kitchen. There is no doubt that Signify is one of the current IoT leaders when it comes to linking IoT and lighting. Their lighting innovations and Dynalite control smart systems are being developed at breakneck speed and keeping up to date is therefore of importance for our team.
Pioneers of light – Amsterdam
My ulterior motive was of course also to be fully updated before my Lighting Design of Things round the table conference in Amsterdam next week. As this is a Signify sponsored event it seems logical to be aware of your hosts achievements and future plans! I am excited about the conference and look forward to it!
JLL Liquid Labs at District 6
In anticipation of our upcoming Liquid Labs participation, a cooperation between KLD/LDoT and Gooee, I spent time reviewing the space where we are planning to display our capabilities to the “world”. As it is an existing space we will need to work with the lighting that is already in place, so a thorough review and site assessment of the current lighting installations was one of the jobs I carried out this week. Looking forward to this event as well!
On the heels of PLDC end of October we are planning our own inhouse KLDC. With most of our overseas colleagues coming to Singapore to attend the PLDC event we decided it was an opportunity not to be missed to create our own little mini convention, aptly named KLDC 😊. Over the Sunday and Monday following the PLDC event we will discuss strategies towards making our practice ready for the digital age and will have professional specialists to guide us in the proper direction. Our Lighting Design of Things platform will be central to all of this. Certainly having most of my team (from Australia, Indonesia, Shanghai and Singapore) all together will be a great opportunity for everybody to meet up and bond. Another exciting happening, I am looking forward to!
Time’s worlds greatest places list 2018
What a surprise to see our award-winning Atlas Bar project make it on to the top 100 world’s greatest places list for 2018! It is testimony to the whole design and project team and the clients vision to transform this Singapore icon into this beautiful and unique bar. There is no doubt that the lighting has been key in bringing out the mood and unique features of this architectural marvel. Congrats to everyone, great acknowledgement. No wonder that the Atlas Bar excursion offered as part of the upcoming PLDC event in October is the hottest ticket on offer!
Have a great weekend!
Pioneers of light
Singapore – Bangkok – Shenzhen, Weekend 25-26th August 2018
This weekend I am I Shenzhen attending the 10-year anniversary celebration of a well-known and friendly architectural practice. They invited me to deliver a key note address to their big bash function to which they also invited press and media. The event is held at the newly opened Hard Rock Hotel where I am also staying. I am writing my blog on my way to Shenzhen, arriving this Friday night. I am looking forward to the event on which I will report in next week’s blog.
The week started however with my trip to Bangkok where I delivered a dedicated LDoT presentation to a group of executives of a local hotel operator as part of a two day workshop exploring the future proofing of their business. I had tailored my presentation around the benefits of LDoT in hospitality highlighting how the digital age will help improve Capex and Opex while improving the guest experience at the same time. For most of them the impact of IoT and the use of lighting to deliver the IoT features and data infrastructures was an absolute eye opener and the topic during lunch and coffee breaks! A gratifying experience for me as well as we are looking at possibly implementing this in one of their ongoing new projects.
Singapore smart nation implementation – the local IoT Cowboys
The Singapore government is leading the world in the implementation of smart technology and our Punggol digital district project is no exception. We presented our lighting concept for the campus part of the project which was then followed by a briefing from the client about their desires in regards to smart sensors and data analytics. What I got out of that presentation is that heaps of local suppliers have hopped on the “IoT” bandwagon calling themselves smart to impress the client who is not too knowledgeable and relies pretty much on the sales talk presented to them. The local suppliers themselves also do not seem too knowledgeable other then understanding that IoT smart products represent sales opportunities so they are trying to sell whatever smart features they can get their hands on. I may seem harsh but now that I understand soo much more about what goes in in IoT land and what is possible, I see the limited understanding they display about what should be called IoT or even smart!
We were shown many different sensors all in different sizes and with different functions with the client expecting these to be integrated in the light fitting! It is no surprise to see lighting manufacturers with zero experience in smart features teaming up with whoever has some smart sensors and or data analytics. The sad thing however is that like we saw in the early days of LED, we now see the same happening in IoT smart land, the emergence of IoT cowboys…to me this presentation was one of them!
Lighting Design Forum
Now in its 5th year, the event held at the National Museum on the side lines of the Singapore Night Festival attracted a big crowd. The lighting industry, designers, suppliers, manufacturers and the universities came out in strength courtesy also of a great line up of speakers. The theme of the evening was lighting design for working spaces and was hosted courtesy of Roberto Baggio on behalf of Linealight and Eye Iwasaki and a host of other sponsors.
Warren Julian, emeritus professor at the University of NSW in Sydney, kicked of proceedings by enlightening the audience to the scientific way of how we perceive light and hence how the balance and distribution of light affects how we appreciate our visual environment. He was followed by an insightful presentation by last year’s education PLDC award winner Georgios Triantafilllydis on how to adjust LED lighting for proper circadian lighting. The specific reminder I took away from his presentation is that circadian lighting design is not just about the visible aspects of lighting but equally important also about the non-visible aspects of lighting (biological/ medical), something many lighting designers seem to be oblivious off by just designing tuneable white lighting schemes and calling that circadian lighting. His reference to the circadian stimulus calculator recently developed by LRC in the US was really helpful. The speaker line up was completed by Ivan Sanchez Garcia, who treated the audience to some spectacular virtual reality visuals that are currently being developed by his team to experience lighting design in virtual reality. The future of visualisation is here, exciting stuff!
As a bonus the guys from the Social Light Movement made a short, very entertaining re-appearance (after last year’s presentation) to update us on the progress of their Singapore project. The great take away from their presentation to me is something that is so true: lighting design should look good 24/7! In other words, whatever you design should look good not only at night but also during the day! The networking dinner afterwards was a great opportunity to catch up with friends and colleagues in the industry. A great night all together. We hope to see the same level of enthusiasm and participation during PLDC later in October this year!
Singapore Night Festival
As the venue was right smack in the middle of the ongoing Singapore Night Festival I took the opportunity to walk around the festival and soak up the mood and ambience, knowing I would be away over the weekend with no further time or opportunity to visit. I have seen many editions over the year and support the initiative, but could not escape the impression that compared to last year the budgets seemed to be less, with less spectacular lighting installations, but that can just be my limited observation as I did not see everything…keep it up though, it brings life and cheerfulness to the city. We need that in an otherwise sombre looking world!
IES Illumination awards
This week we also received an official link to this year’s lighting design award winners and we are proud to see 2 of our projects (His majesty’s Theatre in Perth and the Atlas Bar in Singapore) featured in the relatively small group of international winners. Well done to the team again, these are projects to be proud off.
Have a great weekend
Lighting Design Forum
Singapore- Shanghai- Singapore and Medan, Weekend 18-19th August 2018
After two days of meetings in Singapore it was off travelling again, this time to site in Xitang, a water town project just outside Shanghai we have been working on for a few years now. I have managed to reduce my project travel but once in a while they want to see my face to make sure I am still involved and can sign off on important design decisions. This is a very good client who values our expertise and when it comes to quality agrees that you get what you pay for. While conscious of budget he is also very conscious of quality which makes our communication and client appreciation much easier.
As I write this blog I am in Medan, Indonesia, where I am spending the weekend at the invitation of a new project client, after a short overnight stay in Singapore. The travelling and subsequent site visit are cause for the late posting of my blog this weekend…
In the first part of the week we met for our Punggol project to understand what the government really means with implementing smart lighting. Having been brought back into the project by the architect we were confronted by the fact that the “smart” consultant had already decided on what smart components to be integrated into the lighting poles, basically daylight sensors, presence sensors and WiFi capability with their proposed pole locations showing the good quality reach of each WiFi point! You can hardly call presence and daylight sensors smart nowadays, it is quite common practice, but that the pole location was directed by the coverage was a novelty for us. We took note of the plans and informed them we would redesign according to the lighting needs and not the WiFi needs! All kinds of political issues also play in the background with different departments having different relationships to different smart pole manufacturers…most governmental department are vertically connected with very little horizontal coordination it seems…anyhow we will do our best to resolve that with a design that considers lighting first but all other “smart” components as well…
We recently received acceptance for our LDoT trademark application and had some further meetings with IP specialists to understand our worldwide position. We are a small company and enforcing a trademark in countries like China may be very difficult but we feel that registering it at least will give us some peace of mind. We are excited about the potential of our LDoT platform and have received great feedback soo far 😊
The rest of the week was spent onsite at our Xitang project, a huge intricate development that requires a lot of interaction with all parties involved, both for the commercial as well as the hotel parcel. The client has been full of praise about our Alila Yangshuo project and it was therefore not really a surprise to see that he had engaged a part of the original Yangshuo site installation team to help him in completing this project to the highest standards. For us it is also very good, we worked together in Yanghsuo for many years and having familiar people on site who know your way of work and drive for details is really helpful in achieving the standards we require. Besides successfully reviewing the mock up room, which we needed to sign off on so they can start implementing the wiring for all guestrooms, we spent most of our time reviewing samples from a variety of Chinese suppliers, some good, but most really bad. It is always interesting to see the difference in approach when they show you their samples. The “educated” suppliers know you are looking for quality, but the majority of the Chinese suppliers are focussed on price and show “look-a-like” quality to then impress with the price and unfortunately many developers in China (Asia) fall for it. Fortunately, we have an educated client and were able to show the team what makes or breaks quality and shortlisted the light fittings that made the cut, 5 suppliers and 1 ½ day later 😊! For us it is specifically critical to highlight the quality criteria (Colour binning, glare control, IP rating, etc) and installation issues such as wire connections, driver compatibility, inline mounting, and so on. Making everyone aware of the potential installation issues we may face at the tender award stage will ensure a much smoother installation result. We spent the time and will continue with visual mock ups later on to make sure we get it right before we proceed to final installation.
Despite a typhoon passing over Shanghai which produced heavy rainfall we managed to reach the airport in time for a safe trip back to Singapore with the satisfied feeling that we had accomplished a lot with hopefully some peace of mind later on!
There was however little time to rest as I was back at Changi airport at 10am for the Medan flight. The project is a renovation of an historic art deco building that houses a large ballroom, pre-function and restaurant. The client has never used specialist consultants before but realised he was out of his depth for this project. We came recommended through one of his trusted suppliers. We spent the day working the site and assessing the options for the renovation. He and his team seem very quality conscious, not once did we talk money…the signs are very good…
Have a great (rest of the) weekend!
Xitang site, completed part of the commercial block
the hotel block site
flooded entrance (typhoon)
Meetings (late night and day time…)
Mock Up Room review at night
Supplier sample review
Checking colour qualities…
the walk over test?…
T-shirts you see in China… 🙂
Singapore, Weekend 11-12th August 2018
A short week for most people with Thursday 9th August being Singapore’s National Day and many taking Friday off to make it a nice long weekend. I decided to work from home on Friday to have a relaxed end of the week. The early part of the week however was very hectic and busy with Ingmar coming over from our Perth office for some crucial LDoT meetings with JLL, Liquid Labs and Gooee who visited our offices for some strategic meetings and workshops.
LDoT: JLL – Liquid Labs @ District 6
Our first meetings were with JLL and District 6 to discuss our Liquid Labs marketing implementation at District 6. KLD through our LDoT platform are partnering with Gooee to showcase how LDoT is going to work. It is our first real life project implementation, so we are really excited about it. District 6 is a one of the latest successful co-working spaces in Singapore founded by one of our former Agora speakers Arjan De Boer. The cooperation with JLL as part of Propel Asia is an extra incentive. Other participants are companies like Dell, Vodaphone, Haworth Furniture and others. While most of them have individual smart systems, our Gooee backbone should be able to connect all these through their open platform…we aim to have it operational in the last Q of the year. It is extra challenging as we are integrating the system in an existing environment rather then starting from scratch so we have an added difficulty in making sure all the systems and lights are compatible, connectable and addressable! Will keep you posted…
LDoT and other partners
Besides our cooperation with JLL and Gooee we are also looking at linking up with other partners as well as lighting manufacturers keen to make the switch to the new world of IoT. We had conference calls and meetings this week with those that are “switched on” and ready to collaborate. Lighting manufacturers that are making or planning to making the switch.
Right now, people are either switched on for the new world that awaits us or are totally oblivious to it. I have found no-one in between, either they see it or they don’t. Most lighting designers I know are still thinking the conventional way. I heard the president of the IALD say in Frankfurt earlier this year when he participated in an IoT round the table conference that, yes, IoT was here, but that lighting designers are artists, story tellers, he did not see IoT of much impact to lighting designers…
My personal opinion…the train for the lighting designers of the future is at the train station right now, either you jump on board or risk being left behind…Hence our full-on drive towards developing our Lighting Design of Things platform.
LDoT; the relationship between people, space and “things”
We see now that some people start to wake up…I read in Lux Magazine that Gordon Routledge just discovered the 3-30-300 rule (or 1-10-100 as others use), a relationship that was put forward by JLL some time ago to high light that when it comes to the bottom line, energy saving does not mean that much in the scheme of things. Its space usage and human capital that are the game changers of tomorrow. Today, thanks to LED technology we have already maximised energy saving and with some additional smart controls we can possibly add a bit more, but the real savings are elsewhere and to achieve those we need the IoT, we need data analytics and we need to understand the relationships between people, space and “things” over time and in real time. That fact that lighting turns out to be the key choice for hosting the IoT platform should be seen as a big opportunity. As lighting designers, if we convert ourselves towards LDoT we have potentially a big role to fulfil!
The future of the lighting industry
It was interesting to read that Osram is quitting the light fixture manufacturing business and sort of in line with Philips (Signify) moving to become an innovative smart systems company, at least that is what I understand. I understand the GE’s name is also to disappear and Zumtobel is also struggling to stay a float after serious losses over the first part of the year. Why is the lighting industry under threat? Because the entry point for lighting and lighting design is moving way down stream. For the future proofing of buildings developers and end users are looking at the IoT, its impact on people, space and things and hence the related data infra-structure needed. Lighting is becoming a by-product. Lighting is already a digital hub, however the functions it will soon be able (read: will have) to perform will be way more than just lighting functions and unless we master all these “by-functions”, it will be difficult for lighting manufacturers to survive and lighting designers to maintain the integrity of their lighting design!
Ah, I nearly forgot…the gala dinner venue has now officially been announced on the PLDC website. We have secured the Wine Vault, an of the beaten track venue that little people even in Singapore know…discover it on the website! 😊 Frank Kelly, who heads KLD’s entertainment division has been working relentlessly in between his shows and travels to develop the design for the gala dinner…its going to be a great night!
Have a great weekend!
a little taste of what is to come…
Perth – Singapore, Weekend 4-5th August 2018
Australia provides a contrast to Singapore in many ways. It is nearly a complete opposite way of living and working. Singapore has basically no seasons, it’s always 30 degrees and humid, in the “winter” it rains a bit more than in the “summer”. As I was in Perth the night time temperatures got close to freezing point, with daytime temperatures just itching towards 15 degrees. Rains, storms and sunshine followed each other in totally unpredictable sequences. Where Singapore has a rush and hectic city work-life, with literally millions of people falling over each other, Perth has that laid back life style feeling combined with space and nature with family time playing as an important part as work life. It always recharges my batteries to spent time in my Perth office…
SILF – Lighting Design Agora
First some sad news…after months of hard work and efforts to organise the Lighting Design Agora (an integral component of the Shanghai International Lighting Fair organised by Messe Frankfurt HK) that had been halted earlier this year when the City of Shanghai wanted to actively participate in the event, we found ourselves running out of time to adequately prepare and organise a quality event, certainly after last years highly successful edition. We had to concede that we could not be able to attract enough sponsors this year to make the event with international speakers, commercially viable. We needed our international sponsors to be part of the event. So, with a heavy heart, we decided this week, in consultation with Messe Frankfurt and the Chinese Lighting Designers Association, that is was better to cancel the event and focus our energy and efforts in creating an even bigger and better event next year.
The pulling power of PLDC
When PLDC announced its unexpected intention to hold the convention in Singapore it caught many manufacturers by surprise as no-one had budgeted for it. Over the months that followed several of the sponsors that had initially committed and budgeted for our LDA in Shanghai, decided to redirect their budgets towards participation in Singapore. This happened to other events in the region as well. Our Bangkok event was also seriously affected by it even though we just managed to make it work. It is a credit to the organisers of PLDC and the attraction it has to sponsors and participants, it is a shame however that it was done seemingly on the spur of the moment with little thought on the impact it would have on the region. There is no doubt that the event and its educational format contributes a lot to the awareness and acceptance of the lighting design profession in general and the idea of bringing it outside Europe, closer to those who may not be able to make the bi-annual trip to Europe has many merits. However, this year’s short notice of PLDC in Singapore has had a big impact on many lighting design grass root initiatives around the Asian region. With funds redirected to Singapore, many have found their events wanting for sponsors or like we have experienced, left empty handed after initial promises of support.
I have personally always supported PLDC over the years and when asked to become a steering committee member for the Singapore event had no hesitation to accept. Looking back over the last few months however, I can only see that the sudden decision to go to Singapore this year may have been too hasty, as in the process it has affected much of the hard work done by so many volunteers who organise events around the region…I am confident that the PLDC event in Singapore will be a great success and hopefully will be a springboard to rejuvenate all the efforts put in over the past few years. PLDC owes this to the region…
We are certainly on our way to make it a great an unforgettable event!
Our LDoT platform is gathering more and more steam with further partnership discussions taking place this past week. We had a long conference call with one of our US based partners (specialists in lighting controls) about what is cooking in their kitchen and discussing how their products and features could be integrated in our Menu of Things. In order to become knowledgeable about being a lighting designer of things we need to understand what is available in the market and how that integrates in and affects our lighting design. Our “menu” will be our reference of what is currently available in the market and how it integrates with lighting…still a lot of work to do! In the coming week we have further discussions with IoT partners in Singapore.
Light Talk – Live, lighting conversations with experts in their field.
One of my long-time desires has been to do Light Talk – Live, in which I sit down with experts in the industry, people we work with to achieve our lighting designs and chat about their experience of lighting and how it contributes to improving their expert field. Using my daughter Kyra’s media and video recording skills, we finally sat down this week to record the first episode of Light Talk Live with my first expert guest, Richard Offen. Richard is the former Chief Executive of Heritage Perth, an author with his own weekly radio program on ABC talking about the history and heritage of Perth and Western Australia. Richard was instrumental on getting KLD on board for the lighting of His Majesty’s Theatre and having the opportunity to have this unique one on one chat was a real joy. We recorded our Light Talk against the background of the beautiful, century old interiors of the theatre. The official YouTube edit will be ready in the next few weeks and will be available for viewing through our KLD YouTube channel and the LightTalk blog site soon! Watch out for it…😊
Have a great weekend
My early morning walks always provide me with a rich breath of light and nature…
The award winning His Majesty’s Theatre today
Light Talk in conversation with Richard Offen…some low res screen shots
Perth, Weekend 28-29th July 2018
Back in Perth to catch up with my team. Ingmar and myself are working tirelessly in further developing our LDoT platform and with all the feedback and positive inputs we have received we have set some time aside to work on detailing the various components that will make our approach even more valuable to our clients, specifically with some very interesting pilot projects in the pipeline…
PLDC Singapore update
Not much to update this week, work goes on in the back ground in regards to the organisation, the excursions, the pre-convention program and the gala dinner. We are now getting into the nitty gritty of the event in terms of the layout and design of the space. I think it is going to be very nice…
After the major change of direction for the theme of the fair in which the lighting fair is now endorsed by the City of Shanghai who wants the event to reflect how the lighting of the future will be beneficial to the Governor’s vision for Shanghai to become a smart lighting city, we had to drastically revamp the program and overall approach to our Lighting Design Agora booth. This now practically completed and we are aiming to confirm our speaker and sponsors very soon. I will be presenting a paper over how through our Lighting Design of Things platform we can majorly contribute and facilitate the integration of IoT features in smart city lighting. A networking dinner will be held on the evening of the 3rd September at a yet to be confirmed location. More news soon! PLDC will be represented by both Joachim and Alison who have indicated they will come to Shanghai to attend the event.
This week also saw some typical office team activities. Aishah had her birthday celebration and we had a little farewell party for Jordan who is moving to Europe where he will be heading our new Europe studio. With some new projects in the pipeline there we will need his support. He will remain a full active member of our team in Singapore…with todays modern internet communication, it does not really matter where you are anymore! We wish Jordan all the best in Lisbon!
It’s the economy!
I am back in Australia also to move some new initiatives as the economy here is not easy. The Australian market is a very close nit industry where it is not so much about what you know, but who you know! The engineering companies in Australia still call the shots and there is little room for boutique specialist designers like ourselves.
However this seems to change and with the world of IoT slowly moving in real time, the environment for lighting design is changing as well. We noticed over the past weeks in several projects that engineering companies have little understanding of the role IoT is playing and how it integrates into lighting so there are clear opportunities for us to take up that role. There is an amazing interest in this new world and the fact that we can offer an integrated approach to those IoT features for integration in our lighting design seems to interest many potential clients. There is however lots of ground to cover certainly when it is unchartered territory but being creator of the LDoT platform allows us to develop and choose our path!
Insite Magazine – India
Another magazine picked up our project successes, this time well respected Indian Interior design magazine Insite. In a 6 page spread, including the magazine cover the article covers some of our recent project realisations.
Have a great weekend
Singapore, Weekend 21-22nd July 2018
You never know what to expect in our profession, every week is different, which I guess makes our job interesting and never dull…I am typically not a 9 to 5 person and the variety, the unexpected locations of a new project, the new challenges and the people that you meet in the process, provide an incredible rich canvass of experiences to draw on. Combined with my passion for lighting I am privileged to be doing what I am doing…
Life after the world cup
The week started of course after the month-long world cup soccer tournament that saw its final played Sunday night with my beloved France beating Croatia in thrilling match. The Sunday was made extra heavy on sport with also the men’s Wimbledon final played and, if like me you are also a cycling fan, the Tour de France going on as well. After weeks of late nights and morning after soccer analytics this week was strangely quiet…😊
Ministry of Manpower
This week saw the unexpected visit of government officials checking out our company. They select companies randomly and based on the audited and filed tax reports actually interview some of the staff and check whether indeed the company conforms to the Singapore work statutes and regulations. Basically, they check whether we can back up what we declare. They had announced their visit a few days earlier to make sure we would be there. Based on salary declarations, they checked on our payslips, the staff appointment contracts and actually interviewed selected staff (Aishah was the lucky one 😊) to get her feedback on how we were implementing working conditions. I had a word with them afterwards to make sure everything was OK. While it initially felt intrusive having the government coming in to check your company, on reflection I felt it was a good thing. After hearing stories how companies abuse the system and their staff…it is good feeling knowing the government gives your company the thick of approval…good for me, good for our team.
BIM / Revit
This week saw also a follow up on our attempts to move our team capabilities into the new world of BIM/Revit modelling skills. We had a special team meeting with Revit specialists to tell us the finer features of the software to determine how best to implement that in our lighting design services. There is no real need to have full scale BIM drafters as in our normal course of work we would get the models from architect or other lead consultants in the same way we get the Sketch Up models to execute the implementation of our lighting design. The potential for lighting with the Revit software is really good with in my opinion making our production work far more efficient. There is a Revit LT version which we are going to try out next to the full-scale Revit software to compare and determine what we need…It definitely seems to be the way to go.
Singapore Garden Festival
In a previous blog I mentioned the invitation by NParks Singapore to be the head judge for the best lighting award at the biennial Garden Festival held at the famous Gardens by The Bay. Invited landscape designers and horticulturists from around the world are challenged to design landscape and fantasy gardens and given a no less than $100,000 budget to develop their concept garden. The festival opens this weekend (600,000 people are expected over the coming weeks) and earlier on Thursday and Friday, saw the judging, award ceremony and related press conferences to hype up the public interest. I was supported in my judging team by Bob Sweet, Horticultural Director, BBC Gardeners World Live from UK and Mr Sam Lemheney, Vice-President, Chief of Shows & Events from Philadelphia Flower Show (USA), all bringing in their own much appreciated personal views and experience.
I had developed the judging criteria with NParks focusing on
– first impressions (Wow factor),
– relevance to the concept (how well did the lighting enhance their design)
– innovation and originality
– how well lighting was integrated in the design (aesthetics and visual appearance)
– sustainability (energy efficiency, light pollution)
– safety and functionality (public safety compliance, practicality)
It is always a challenge to judge. Lighting specifically can be very subjective but after my explanation of what I was looking for with my criteria we were pretty unanimous in our scoring and final decisions. The key to me is how well lighting integrates with its environment. The winning fantasy garden display, “Precious Land” from Tom Massey, was simple and very strong, lighting was so complementary that it was not about the lighting but fully on the experience of the scenery…exactly how lighting should be, not an add on but a totally integrated part of the experience…It also had a strong environmental message, perfect! The outdoor gardens were a close match with all three of us on the fence about the eventual winner; nature versus the urban integration of lighting. Inch Lim’s subtle integration of lighting in his “The wild and restless” display had the exact right balance of brightness. Kate Gould‘s urban community concept “Urban Lifestyle” likewise had the exact right balance of brightness. With Singapore’s high urban context and the many communal outdoor spaces that can be find in housing and condominium estates we felt ultimately that the relevance and educational value of good lighting in urban spaces was best expressed by her and therefore awarded her the winners award for the best lighting. Congratulations to all for all their efforts, it was a pleasure and great experience to judge the lighting together with my eminent fellow judges.
Below some mood images of the festival, have a great weekend
The judges and our deliberations:
The Fantasy Gardens:
Singapore, Weekend 14-15th July 2018
All in all, it was a really mixed bag of activities this week…while the team was full on with several projects that are in the midst of deadlines and tenders, I found time to focus on quite a number of different things. There were the regular progress communications in regards to the PLDC Singapore and SILF Shanghai events, but though progress is being made not much specific to report. The usual fee proposals, preparations for presentations and a lot of further promotional work for our LDoT platform…it’s exciting and it’s happening!
Project fees under threat!
Interestingly RFP’s keep coming in, which is a good thing is I guess, but the competition seems to be getting crazy. In one of these RFP’s for a project in Vietnam this week, the PM and operator, which we know well, reported back that we lost the project to a Malaysian company that had quoted 1/4th of our price! Now if that does not raise a lot of red flags I don’t know…!
If compared apple for apple difference can occur but if there is 4x times the difference in fees something has to give in delivery. I know the operator and the demands for this hotel project and I know that my quote was competitive! So, this begs the question… (I know the answer of course…😊). The client is new in the developer’s world and purely awarded on price. Though the PM and operator pushed, it was to no avail.
I share this with you because it is not the first time we lost project on such huge margins recently…what’s going on? These kind of guerrilla quotes undoubtedly will affect the quality of delivery and with that the appreciation and good will that lighting design has painstakingly been building up over the years to be recognised as a professional expert service. Not only are our fees under threat also the appreciation of good quality lighting design!
The hypermarket consultants
We also see a growing trend of full service consultants emerging fast at the detriment of boutique design practices like our lighting design services. Whether architect, interior designer or big engineering practices, more and more these lead consultants go in to projects with a full-service package, the latest one we were confronted with is an interior design practice now also offering architecture, lighting, art, signage F&B and even landscape consultancy. We see the same with architectural practices and even some engineering practices. I call them the hypermarket consultants. A lot of choice, little quality…While I do appreciate that the one stop-shop concept can offer a lot of benefits, from experience I have found that the quality, sharpness and out of the box thinking of the design team is poor because there is a sense of team complacency and a lack of frontline design work experience and accountability.
Generally one-stop shops have one lead manager who will dictate the design direction across all disciplines, in other words the sub disciplines are merely executing the design direction, rather than thinking out of the box and confronting the team when in their opinion the design is not following what the design should be doing in their view. Follow team orders! In my opinion the lead manager is in this way not sufficiently held to account, leading to potentially missed opportunities and often a design that could have been much better, sharper and client friendly. It is my opinion that sub disciplines (like lighting design) that operate under the hypermarket umbrella are stifled in their creativity and can much less to contribute to the value for money then specialist designers…
Pay to play
On the subject of money…This week I received (yet another) notice that I have been shortlisted for some Lighting Design Award. Once you read a bit further it turns out that you can buy the award. You ego is being stroked by touting huge readership (in this case more than 250,000, with multiple page spreads in their magazine. The more you pay (packages run up to USD 3,000!!), the more exposure and the bigger the award I suppose. It has nothing to do with one of your projects actually having been judged by a panel of your peers and win an award. They actually call it Pay to Play…they seem to just randomly sent these emails to lighting design companies hoping that some ego’s are captured…nice to get a big trophy in your cabinet together with a certificate on the wall and a cover article in some dodgy magazine…If you get an award you should really deserve it…these kinds of “awards” are misleading your clients…
The continuous challenge facing lighting designers remain proper dimming of LED installations. Another week went by with testing and checking compatibility between drivers and dimming systems. We have made it imperative in all our specifications that lighting manufacturers fixtures are to be tested for compatibility with the proposed dimming system. It is amazing to see how much “invisible” flickering is actually happening. By using your camera you can actually see the frequency lines that occur with poor dimming…interestingly it is also very educational for the suppliers who generally sugar coat their products but once they actually see the “stroboscopic” effects of their product or driver on film realise what their product actually does…
LDoT – Liquid Labs
This week was also a big and exciting week for our LDoT platform. We have now officially signed with JLL to participate in their Liquid Labs marketing event, which will allow us to showcase our LDoT capabilities in a real life test environment to investors, developers and other big players in the industry. We had our first kick off meeting and are looking forward to get this off the ground!
Seletar Airport Singapore
Finally I had the opportunity to have a sneak preview of the new Seletar Airport Terminal that will open later this year and will serve as a base for private jets and small regional flights. While we initially were intended to work on the lighting design with the interior designer our fees were deemed too high and the architect decided to work with a designer who had offered their services for free…the terminal looks generally good but on a lighting level I think that within the same budget a much better job could have been done…
Have a great weekend…
PLDC KEYNOTE SPEAKER BIO
DIMMING TEST REVIEW