The Manning Building Project – Light Talk 2021 Episode 02

By Martin Klaasen

(Written content is taken from the Manning Building videos published on YouTube; edited and adapted for Medium & WordPress by Kirstyn Klaasen)

Hello everyone, my name is Martin Klaasen and welcome to another edition of light talk. In this episode, I would like to talk about a small little project that we completed recently in Fremantle, Western Australia, just between Perth and the coast. It’s a little courtyard, a passageway in the back of Manning building which is wedged between Market Street, High Street and William Street, just next to iconic King Square in Fremantle. Projects big or small, the design approach is generally the same. In fact, the smaller the project sometimes the bigger the challenge. Our design brief was simple…design lighting that creates a beautiful and attractive ambience that will make the courtyard safe and enjoyable to be in and deter any vandalism or anti-social behaviour. The location used to be known for homeless people camping out overnight. They wanted to add in some food and beverage outlets around there to make it a vibrant little space. 

As always lighting is just the glue that gels everything together and here as well it was the integration and collaboration with the architect and landscape designer that assured a successful outcome. Our approach like in all our designs is generally to make light disappear in the sense that you don’t see the physical fixtures. We want to validate the space and light, let the light enhance the environment, the landscape etc. That’s how we set about to develop the design for this space. 

There’s a couple of key elements that we had in this space. First of all, was the integration of light into benches, the architect had developed very nice seating facilities in the landscape, and we thought that it would be a perfect opportunity to hide and conceal some lights. Also, it would give validation to the space in terms of proportions and just the overall understanding of the spatial proportions so that was a really nice thing to do. It gave some visual guidance at the same time because of the disposition of the benches throughout the courtyard, it gives you a really good impression and validation of the space.

The second element that we brought in is to light up the trees. There were a certain number of groupings of trees throughout the courtyard, we never knew exactly where the trees were going to be, but we knew that there were a couple of bigger trees and three plant groupings that we wanted to highlight. That was to add a third dimension to the space because otherwise, the lighting is pretty flat it is in the landscape or in the ceiling but by adding the light to the trees, we created that third dimension giving a bit of volume to the space.

We also wanted to add in an element of interest something that people would remember and that’s where we came in with the idea to add in gobo projectors. A double function one to sort of give the moonlighting effect by projecting light onto the actual walkways but at the same time also introducing some gobos in those projectors. This allowed us to have an element of light falling to trees and that idea of making the space a bit dynamic. The gobos were also rotating so it added a bit of movement, we thought that would really bring an added spice to that space rather than typical functional lighting that you would see in a courtyard like that. 

Finally, the fourth element was the down lights. There was a big glass canopy and an overhang from the building itself where we concealed lighting, low glare deep recess type of light fixtures again with the idea not to see the lights but to see its effect when it reaches the walkway itself and the passageway.

Those were basically the four key elements; they are very simple, but the end result is a courtyard determined by its pleasant lighting effects rather than an otherwise glary functionally lit space. The feedback from the client and the community have been very positive, with everyone raving about the transformation our lighting design brought to this previously dark and unsafe place.

We are very pleased with the end result even for a project as small as this little courtyard, we have managed to make a difference with the lighting. I think it adds a new interesting and vibrant place to the city of Fremantle.

I also want to follow up a little bit and talk about the challenges that we faced because designing always looks simple but there’s always a number of hurdles to overcome. Even in a small project like this you’d be surprised how many challenges you have and I just wanted to highlight a couple of them just to give you an idea of what we face even if the project is not that big.

The first challenge we faced was the discrepancy between the drawing plans and the actual installation. Landscape planting layout and benches were installed at different locations then on the plans. This is quite typical for all landscape projects, it very much depends on the size of the trees found or selected from the nurseries with the final location determined by the way they create the overall spatial balance. Our lighting design always anticipates this by providing power points (junction boxes) at strategic locations with flexible cabling allowing for the light fitting location to be decided on site. A skilled lighting designer will know how to plan the electrical power supply with sufficient flexibility to allow adjustment of the lighting locations as per actual landscape implementation. As it was a small area, we managed that quite easily.  

The second challenge was the actual implementation and concealment of the light we had great ideas on how to conceal the light “invisibly” underneath the seating for instance. We had a groove planned and we had made all the detailing and the dimensions had been worked out and passed on to the landscape architect. We found that the steel and timber benches were delivered to site without the necessary recess channel and conduits to conceal both the lighting and the cabling. So, we found ourselves improvising on site to install the linear light and the cable conduit on the bench surface, in the least visible locations. The final result is very much acceptable but close scrutiny of the installation reveals it could and should have done as per our integrated detailing…in the end it was the costs of modification that proved prohibitive and resulted in the surface installation of both light and cable. It is something that we need to be prepared for in every project, it’s always a bit more difficult than you think. There’s always surprises somewhere along the way when you come to site. That challenge was certainly one that we had to overcome but, in the end, it came out nice, luckily.

The third challenge that I want to highlight is also a typical challenge for every project is the one about budget and time. In this project particularly because we were faced halfway through design with an upcoming pandemic. COVID 19 was raging and it meant basically that we would have difficulties in sourcing any light fixtures from overseas. We may have been impacted by time, supply lines etc. So right from the beginning, we focused on getting the lights locally, we worked right from the start with a supplier that had already been involved with the project in earlier stages. We set out to find light fixtures that were of the quality that we wanted, the sort of performances that we wanted and made sure that the lighting effects were as we hoped they would be. We did a lot of visual testing, installed samples of potentials alternative multiple times to make sure it worked all well even in a small project like this. We did the sample testing, the visual mock-ups and all that to make sure that it worked out as we wanted. That was quite a heavy involvement with the supplier and the contractor to make sure that we could get the lights in time. Then we could also supply them within the budget that was allocated to us and it was not a high budget.

Now that everything is installed, aimed, focussed and commissioned we look back in satisfaction, but it certainly took some sweat and tears to reach this end result.       


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08. February 2021 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: city beautification, light and art, Light and inspiration, lighting and culture, lighting design | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Naera Hotel and Spa Interview – Light Talk 2021 Episode 01

The Interview on YouTube:

By Martin Klaasen

(Written content is taken from the Naera Hotel & Spa video published on YouTube; edited and adapted for Medium & WordPress by Kirstyn Klaasen)

Hello, my name is Martin Klaasen and I’m the lighting designer for the beautiful project, the Naera Hotel and Spa in Xitang, China. A bit about my background, I’ve been a lighting designer for more than 35 years, I’ve had done many beautiful projects in this world and being invited to do the lighting for this project is really a big honour for me. I was previously working together with the interior designer on the Alila Hotel in Yangshuo, which was also at the base of this project. The owner of this project was made known about Alila hotel and he liked it and liked the team and when Ju Bin (interior designer) came on board, he also invited me to join. I see the same sort of beauty coming into this hotel as well. When I met Mr Zhu (the hotel owner) we did our initial concept, we were really quite excited about the architectural concept, the interior concept and how lighting could gel everything together. So, we started to work on this and as we went along, we got more and more excited about seeing the things coming together. 

Of course, being one of the few foreign consultants we had a few challenges, some of the challenges obviously are the communication. I don’t speak much Chinese, just a few words so that meant that I had to use my Chinese staff to communicate but I think it worked out very well. The challenges, also maybe in some cultural and international background. Obviously, we are trained to do projects all over the world but we have to deal with the Chinese culture, the local culture and trying to bring that together was one of our challenges. I think with a team that works really well together and respects each other; I think we found many solutions that bring out the hotel in a very nice way.

Lighting is always something very visual so when people see it, it touches the heart straight away so managing people’s expectations when they see the lighting in progress and then maybe they think it’s already the final result. We need to explain that you know it’s a process, it’s something that progresses along the way. Today now we’re at the stage of opening the hotel, we can see it coming together and it’s really so exciting. We can feel the emotions from all the designers come together and lighting brings out that emotion, I think. We have beautiful architecture, we have beautiful interiors, but I think the lighting brings that extra touch, that extra feel to this project. We have been blessed to have this vision of a new hotel brand; I think this is also something that has been exciting for everybody involved. It’s not an existing brand even though the parent company is existing as a hotel operator, but we are developing a new brand, a new direction, a new lifestyle. So this hotel is going to become a new destination, a new adventure, a new exploration in hospitality and I think also with all the artwork and the artistry that’s being put into this project people will find a really unique destination.

We have one very special feature in this hotel something that I’ve never done before, which is a light show. We have a light show linking together all the public spaces, the hotel is set up with a central courtyard, with a water feature in the middle which reflects all the buildings. At night obviously, it reflects the lighting and the public areas like the reception, the bar, the tea house, the library they’re all linked together through this courtyard. One of the initial concepts that we have carried through all the way is to make these public areas that are viewable from all around the courtyard, part of this light show. Besides the regular lighting, we also have this coloured lighting that is located in all the window boxes and every night at certain hours, I think it’s every hour for about 15 minutes there’s a light show that has been dedicated for viewing. Wherever you are whether you’re in the bar, in the restaurant, in the library you can view this, even from your room you can see it. It adds something very special that also brings out the uniqueness of this project because you can feel something is going on. It’s something special, it’s not very loud, it’s very soft and subtle that’s happening it’s like oh look something is happening, that sort of feeling. Which is exactly what we want, this whole hotel is based on this surprise and that wow feeling. When you walk around you discover something new so the balance of lighting and how we accentuated the artworks, how we guide people to the various areas has been based on this principle. We want people to discover the hotel and the various unique features. A lot of effort has been put into the artworks and I think that’s also what makes this hotel quite unique but without light, you wouldn’t see it, so it’s very important to match the artwork with the lighting. I think if I look back now, it really feels like we are accomplishing something very nice.

It has been a long road; we’ve been working on this for nearly three years trying to make the concept a reality. We know there have been challenges along the way, it’s not only the idea but you have to make it work. We have to work within the budget, trying to make it work financially as well as creating value for money and I think we have achieved this. Working with other members of the project team is really important, I’ve always said that lighting is just a part, it’s just an element of everything else. Sometimes it’s said that lighting glues everything together, the architecture, the interior, the art, the signage it’s all linked together through light, but lighting doesn’t exist by itself it’s part of a team effort. We need to work with the architect, we need to work with interior designer, we need to work with a landscape specialist, the art artwork specialist so that requires a lot of interaction, a lot of communication. If you work in a team you know communication, it’s quite critical and if you work with a team the relationship, the personal relationships become also very important. We have worked with clients that are remote and then they just tell you what to do but there’s not that direct interaction. With Mr Zhu and his team, we have a very close relationship, it’s nearly a friendship. This friendship and this relationship also extends to the various consultants, the interior designer, the architect and everybody else. That personal relationship helps to forge an end result that is one step further than it would be if you don’t have that communication. 

With Ju Bin I have a special relationship I’ve known him now for I think six years and we have done several projects together Alila, Yangshuo won us several awards and has forced that relationship. That relationship is not only a matter of communication but also understanding and respect for each other’s design expertise. When you work together, you respect each other, and you have the same understanding of what beauty is and what design is. Then you get an end result that is one plus one equals three, you know what I mean. There’s an extra dimension when you understand each other, and you just need a few sketches to discuss with each other. That has been a process that Ju Bin and I have had over the last couple of years, we are working still on several other projects and it’s that understanding of what makes the end result beautiful, what are the little tweaks that we need to do to just go that one step further, how material and interior work with lighting. He understands lighting, I understand interior architecture so with that understanding but most of all the trust and respect that we have in each other, I think we can achieve what we are achieving here in this property. That has been at the base of the success I think, the personal relationship but also the trust and respect for each other. That’s part of the whole process of working together, you respect each other but you learn from each other and you teach each other. You have to be open to that, I’ve worked with designers the say oh it’s my way or the highway. I’ve known quite a lot of very famous designers, architects they don’t take in this relationship and this two-way process of communication. They just say oh this is it; this is how you have to do it and if I say no or question it, they say no, no this is the way it is and then it’s difficult. I’ve been in this business for close to 40 years, so I always value and still today I learn and that’s what also drives and motivates me. Every time I see something new say oh wow how did they do that, that’s really interesting maybe I can use that and re-configure it differently, or I can use it in this application. You have to be open to learn and grow, always. You never reach the end; I think it’s a continuous path that we are on and I’m really happy with the end result.


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04. February 2021 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: lighting design practice | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Light Talk Blog 2020 – No. 2 / Vlog Ep20

The Vlog Episode on YouTube:

By Martin Klaasen

(written content taken from the Light Talk Vlog recorded 10th September 2020 & published on YouTube & IGTV; edited and adapted for Medium & WordPress by Ingmar Klaasen)


Welcome to another edition of Light Talk. Light Talk has been a vlog for the last couple of months and now recently we also moved to doing it as a podcasts and blog.  Hence, I sort of need to feel my balance on how to do that. I’m trying to learn how to develop content for all these things, so bear with me as I develop these platforms.  In saying that, I will try to reach out on a more regular basis. 

The last two weeks have been a bit exciting because I just became a grandad.  So obviously my focus has been with my little granddaughter, a little bundle of joy to hold in your hands, and with my son now obviously becoming father.  It’s a new stage in my life I’m really looking forward to.  Obviously I’m a bit distracted at the moment, so that’s why there hasn’t been any vlogs or podcasts in the last two weeks.  We are really looking forward to seeing little Adeline grow up. 

That Unsettling Feeling

On another note, I feel a bit unsettled; not because of becoming a grandfather, but by the whole situation in the world.  The fact that we are living in this Covid-19 pandemic, which I really think is unsettling a lot of people in terms of business, in terms of the way of life, in terms of relationships, in terms of everything.  This may seem a bit dark but it is it is something that worries me for the future.  We still have a lot of work, so from that point of view we can count ourselves lucky.  My whole team is lucky to still have a lot of work.  From this point of view things are looking okay.  However, the whole world seems to be upside down at the moment and I’m not sure whether governments know exactly the way to move forward.  It’s the same for us.  I guess I’m unsettled because I used to be in a plane every week and now I’ve been in Singapore for five-six and in Perth now for the last two months.  It may sound strange but for somebody who’s used to travelling around the world, being on an airplane, visiting sites and doing all that as a big part of my life.  Now I’m sort of recalibrating myself to being at home.  I’ve started to work in the garden and started a veggie patch and looking after my fruit trees and things like that.  It’s a different perspective, it’s something that I love doing, but never really had the time or made the time to do due to work.  

The other thing is having different places: I have my base here in Perth; I also have a base in Singapore; and I also have a base in Europe.  So finding a balance in the future will be something that I will need to find.  I’m not sure how that’s going to work out.  We’re all trying to find our balance in life in our own ways. 

Virtual Lighting Design Community

In the coming months we’ll see a lot of events happen; a lot of virtual events.  It’s clear that all those trade shows are not going to happen, and we are now seeing virtual trade shows and big virtual webinars kicking off.  For example, in the coming months we have Darc Room, we have the IALD Enlighted and several others.  All that is going to come up and people are inviting you to participate and I will certainly also participate to understand how that all works because it’s our new world of virtual events and virtual trade shows.  It’s interesting to understand how that works and which parts will be there for the long run and which parts are only temporary.  Because of the Covid-19 situation we will add our own little contribution in the terms of our Virtual Lighting Design Community (VLDC).  I’ve previously mentioned we’re aiming at kicking off in January 2021 so as to not confuse the market right now whilst there are so many things going on.  The idea is to build up momentum with a number of warm-up events, hopefully in the next two to three months, for a big start in the next year.  So stay tuned!

The “Let There Be Light” Challenge

Last time I had said that I was participating in the “Let there be light” challenge.  However, I have to say I’m sort of defaulting on that challenge right now, specifically because my “let there be light” moment really is my little granddaughter; so I think that covers it for me.  I may still participate here and there, but to be honest I have not been good in following up, so my apologies to those who nominated me.

Remote Project Design Reviews

Now with travel being basically non-existent, we are moving to doing everything remotely and virtually.  For instance, we now have regular project design reviews via video conference calls.  We are lucky enough to have people on the ground in many countries to follow up on site, hold the camera for us and know how to look at lighting.  Having said this, the big thing for us is being able to see things the way we need to see them, which is not necessarily the way the camera picks things up.  So when a camera is aimed at lighting you’re dealing with different lighting contrasts on the camera than what you would see in real life.  To me it’s such a visual thing, something that I need to see in person to really be able to assess whether it’s done properly or not.  Just basing my opinion on photographs or videos is quite challenging and I’m sure a lot of my fellow lighting designers are facing the same challenges.  How do we do that properly?  How do we assess a lighting situation properly if we can’t be there on the spot?   But that’s part of the new world that we are entering. 

An Overdose of Conference Calls and Virtual Meetings

There are now inundated conference calls and virtual meetings.  It keeps on going: meetings on Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams and others.  To be honest it’s quite intense.  Sometimes it feels as though people are creating meetings that are not really necessary.  Just because you can attend any meeting from your home doesn’t mean that you have to have a meeting.  So I would like to urge people to be careful with overdoing it with the meetings because it’s so easy.  Still be mindful of people’s time because people still need time to do things and having all these meetings is not always a very efficient use of time.  Although, if meetings can be managed properly and concisely (ie. with an agenda to go through and really stick to times), it can be very helpful.  Some meetings just go on and on. 

Commercially Driven vs Politically Correct

I have to say I’m dealing with different types of meetings: I’ve dealt with professionals, consultants, project management etc. very commercially driven.  I’m also involved in a couple of government projects and that’s totally different.  When you deal with government representatives they talk about different things.  They don’t talk so much about time, rather they talk more about safety, security and complying with codes and standards.  That’s quite an interesting contrast.  Dealing with people’s commercial backgrounds on a project it’s more getting things done on time and on budget.  On the contrary, whilst dealing with government institutions, it’s very interesting to see the different timelines and different focuses, political points of view and the importance of public engagement.  How does it relate to the public and how will it be seen politically?  Everything has to be politically correct and that’s a very different approach.   


There have been some interesting developments in the UVC approach that may be helpful in the combat against Covid-19.  Besides UVC at 254 nanometres, now there’s a growing body of research about Far UVC, which is around the 220 nanometres.  Apparently it is not harmful to humans, which would be quite an interesting proposition if that could work and you could develop UVC on the far side to be integrated in lighting design to sanitise and disinfect spaces without any of the associated risks.  Definitely something to follow and see how that develops; especially in terms opportunities. 

Other than that stay optimistic, stay positive and the future will be there for everybody! These are challenging times, so stay positive and stay motivated!

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16. September 2020 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: lighting of the future | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Light Talk Blog 2020 – Ep1 / Vlog Ep19

By Martin Klaasen
(written content taken from the Light Talk Vlog recorded 16August 2020 & published on YouTube; edited and adapted for Medium by Ingmar Klaasen)


Welcome to the Light Talk Platform.  My name is Martin Klaasen and welcome to another edition of the Light Talk Vlog in written form.  Let me give you a bit of background about myself.  I have been a professional lighting designer for over 40 years and during that time have received multiple awards.  Back in 2009 I blogged about my experiences on a daily basis for a full year.  This compilation of blogs became my first book titled ‘Light Talk, A Year in the Life of Light’.  My second book, ‘Light Talk 2, 16 Years in the Life of Light’, offers an incredible insight on how the lighting industry has evolved; a compilation of 16 years of writing for Lighting Today Magazine. 

In 2020 I made the transition from the written blog to recording this on video, which is now the Light Talk Vlog, where I continue to share my experiences throughout the year in the life of a professional lighting designer; the challenges, opportunities, the business and future of the lighting design industry.  We have now also extended this to the audio form, the Light Talk Podcast, in order to capture a wider listening audience.  In this vein, I am also making a return to the written blog, which now will be an edited transcription of the vlog; for those of you who like to read.  

I hope you all thoroughly enjoy the journey.  This first blog post in Aug 2020 is also podcast episode 1, is actually a continuation of the vlog which started at the beginning of the year.  The vlog is now in episode 19 and runs concurrently.  We will hopefully find you in whichever way, shape or form suits you in following our Light Talk platform.  Here we go. 


A Social Media Lighting Challenge

This week I’m also picking up a challenge.  Some of you may have noticed that there’s a lighting challenge going on on social media where people are being challenged to post something about lighting: one picture about lighting every day for seven days.  I was nominated several times… by Sakina by Pierre-Yves Panis and a few others.  Thank you very much for nominating me.  It puts me under a little bit of pressure, which generally I don’t really like.  Since I like to do my own thing I thought of combining it with my Light Talk Vlog.  Hence, I have projected an image of the moon, as you can see behind me, to illustrate the natural effects that we see in our daily lives.  The moon is an amazing thing, it doesn’t have light by itself, rather it reflects light from the sun.  By itself that is already an amazing type of illumination.  You can walk around at night under moonlight, it gives you enough light.  It’s an amazing source of illumination. 

Simultaneously I’ve used an uplight for added dramatic effect on my face.  I did this to also illustrate that by playing with the direction of light you can create different moods and effects.  So that is my part on picking up this challenge.  I may do more in the coming days but I may not do it every day.  Without being pressured into posting something every day I will definitely pick up the challenge and post other things that relate to lighting; this is the first one (call it ‘day one’).   

New Phenomenon in our Workplace: Virtual Project Reviews

Currently I am in Perth, Western Australia, as many of you will know, and enjoying the freedom.  Here there’s still not that much going on in terms of Coronavirus restrictions.  There have not been any community cases since April I believe, so you can walk around freely without any facemask.  You go into a restaurant and you wouldn’t know that there’s any Coronavirus pandemic going on.  It’s a very interesting change from reading the newspapers or seeing what’s in the news on TV. 

It’s quite challenging out there in the world.  So, for all means and purposes I have to say that this is probably a very nice environment to be in.  Having said that, I’m still confined to my office to work internationally and we are seeing new phenomenon appear in our work such as doing virtual reviews of our projects.  We have started doing this now and are in the process of creating a checklist for contractors to go out there and video record things the way that we want to see them because reporting virtually about something is not the same thing as being there yourself. 

We have found that we need to give the contractors and the one that actually reviews for you on site some specific guidelines on how to film and record on video.  And because light is very much about actually seeing things you can get very different and very mixed views of whether something is right or not.  When on site I know whether the lighting is good or not, however, when I judge a photo or a video recording it’s much more difficult to do that.  Even in this video you may notice some variation in brightness in terms of the lighting and the contrast ratios from the light and the balance may change because the camera lens adapts to different situations.  We are developing that right now.  That’s a new thing that is happening and as long as there’s no international travel for the foreseeable short-term future we’ll be confined to reviewing our projects long distance.   

So that’s what we have to deal with and it’s something that all of us have to face, but it’s something that we’re trying to work out and see how we can do that. 

An Increased Demand for Local Supply-Chain

Besides that, the other thing that we are noticing is that there is an increased demand for local consultants, local workers, local contractors and local supply.  Here in Australia there is a tendency, even within the state, to try and find the consultants and the supplies from within their own state to avoid unnecessary delays or problems with supply chains.  Not only in Australia, but also in other parts of the world, we are finding it an interesting situation where there is demand for more local support.  Since KLD (Klaasen Lighting Design) has offices in Indonesia, China, Europe and of course Singapore, it is currently helping us secure some work.  We definitely have a lot of work on our on our plate right now, which is good.  You never know how long it’s going to continue of course, but it’s something that we feel is definitely something that may be helping us because we have a bit of a spread and a presence in various countries.   

Developing our Virtual Office Collaboration & Social Media Presence

We have no idea, I mean in term of a Coronavirus vaccine it’s probably still months and months away, probably sometime early next year; and even then we may not be the first ones that will have access to it.  We may well be in this situation into the next year and will continue to have a lot of travel restrictions.  This means we’ll have to work virtually from our offices for some time to come.   

I’m not sure if I mentioned it last time, nevertheless, we are working on developing a platform within our office so we can collaborate virtually between our team members.  It’s something that we feel is really important that we can still communicate, share

files and work together as part of this new world.  We still need to see how that is going to develop. 

Meanwhile we are also focusing on our social media presence as an important means of communication.  So it’s important to develop those portals and those communication lines through social media to be able to enhance your presence and your communication with your contacts in the business community.  That’s one of the things that we are very much focusing on at this moment and reaching out to people and this vlog/blog/podcast obviously is one of those media forms we are developing.  

It’s certainly not a time where you can sit back and relax. It’s hands-on at the moment, it’s full speed ahead.  You really need to keep focussed to make sure that you make the best of this situation, which I think everybody is trying to figure out: what to do, which way to work and how to keep their business afloat.  It’s the same for us, we will have to see whether this is the right direction and probably in a couple of months we’ll know if things are working.  But for now, we can just focus and do our best to make sure that our business remains relevant in these times of the Coronavirus pandemic. 

I wish everybody strength.  Please stay motivated, stay positive and we’ll speak soon.  Thank you.

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19. August 2020 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: lighting of the future | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

EP01 Welcome to the Light Talk Podcast

In this episode, recorded 6th Jan, Martin welcomes you to the new year which is 2020 & the new way of sharing his insights, as well as what can be expected in the lighting design industry this coming year.

An award winning lighting designer, Martin runs the widely acclaimed lighting design practice Klaasen Lighting Design (KLD), with presences throughout Asia, Australia and Europe.  Many of his projects are featured in articles and magazines.  The book ‘Light Talk: A Year in the Life of Light’ was a compilation of his blogs which he started writing in 2009.  Similarly, ‘Light Talk 2: 16 Years in the Life of Light’ is a compilation of 16 years worth of Martin writing in Lighting Today Magazine about world actualities in the lighting industry.  

Practically from the beginning Martin has been sharing his insights and views about the lighting design industry with his readers and on how the industry has evolved right from the early days of LED technology making its way into our daily life up to the new smart world we live in today.  Continuing where he left off, here Martin has evolved to recording video (vlog) and podcast versions in 2020.   

28. February 2020 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: lighting of the future | Leave a comment

Light Talk Vlog Episode 05

Recorded 1st February 2020

06. February 2020 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: going green, Light & Learn, lighting and sustainability, lighting and the economy, lighting design, lighting design practice, lighting of the future, lighting standards | Tags: | Leave a comment

Light Talk Vlog 2020 – E04 from the Hong Kong Jockey Club

Recorded 17th January 2020

Take a tour through the prestigious Hong Kong Jockey Club and grandiose lighting design. Getting ever closer to commissioning after 2-3 years of design work. Featuring Alex Giudice of ASDA Interior Designers.

23. January 2020 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: Light & Learn, Light and inspiration, lighting applications, lighting design, lighting design practice | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Light Talk Vlog 2020 – E3

The week of 6-12th January 2020

14. January 2020 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: lighting of the future | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Light Talk Video 2020-E1

6th January 2020

06. January 2020 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: lighting of the future | Leave a comment

Light Talk Season 10 Blog Title: E17 – The life of light…October 2019

Singapore – Dubai – Portugal – Netherlands – France, Weekend 27-28th October 2019

How time flies…PLDC 2019 has already come and gone and as I write this blog…I am on my way to France for a little break. My intention is that this is my last blog of year, and possibly my last active blog all together…for 10 years I have written my blog with great pleasure, but I have come to a stage where I need some new inspiration and new impulses to keep the excitement and passion flowing!

The end of an era
Some may recall that I started my original blog at PLDC 2009 in Berlin, so it seems fitting to end my regular blogging following PLDC in Rotterdam, my home country, in 2019. It also coincides with the launch of my new book Light Talk 2, 16 years in the life of light, which in hindsight is a prequel as well as a sequel to Light Talk 1, which also is a round up of what I have been writing over the past years. It feels strange as writing a blog is so engrained in my mind, becoming a habit in the process that I nearly feel guilty when not writing one. But to all good things comes an end…time for new challenges. Bur rest assured,, there will still be blogs now and then, possibly written by others.

Video interviews
Recently I have moved to recording video interviews with experts in their field and it is something I really like doing. There are some new ones being edited which will find their way to our YouTube channel soon and I have a great list of potential people to interview over the coming year, so stay tuned! Not some one to sit on his laurels, I have already started plans for Light Talk 3, so plenty things to look out for.

Light Middle East – Dubai
Following my talks in Xian/ China, Ho Chi Min City/ Vietnam and The Perfect Light/ Singapore the next stop on my “world tour” was in Dubai where I was scheduled to make two presentations besides also being a member of this year’s judging panel for the LME Lighting Awards. A busy few days in Dubai!

LAMP workshop
My first day was as a keynote speaker at the LAMP workshop about dynamic lighting, the event being held in a funky out of town design hub. It attracted around 70-80 architects, interior designers, specifiers and other, great turn out for such event which is testimony to the popularity of LAMP and their reputation in the market! Well organised by Ignaci, Raquel, Albert, Fernando and the rest of the LAMP team. It was a pleasure to contribute and share my experiences in realising two of our recent star projects, bot having a great element of dynamic lighting, our Naera Hotel in Xitang, China which features a light show and our recently opened VUE@OUE Rooftop restaurant which also features a spectacular light show.

In the afternoon I participated in the live judging of the award submissions which concluded with a video interview explaining our choices for the winners. Well done to all the participants!

LME – IoT Intelligent Lighting Forum
The next day I was up as one of the invited speakers at the IoT segment of the program presenting a shortened version of our LDoT concept, before doing the full Monty later on at PLDC in Rotterdam with Ingmar…in a way it was sort of a road test to see if the story flowed well. The turnout was good, near full capacity in the auditorium. It was clear from the feedback afterwards that our LDoT approach is finding more and more reception and comparing to last year when people sort of acknowledged and like the idea, this time people are excited and want to find out how to participate…there is no doubt LDoT is gaining a lot of traction which is really great!

The event ended with a great gala dinner award night, where I was also asked to present one of the awards as one of the jury members…

Before heading to PLDC in Rotterdam, I made a stop in Lisbon, Portugal together with Ingmar to visit Jordan who has been operating for us from this lovely country for over a year now. The feedback of the local architects and other project developers has been such that we have decided to move ahead an officially set up KLD there. With already two projects in the bag there seems to be real potential…

PLDC 2019, Rotterdam
Having PLDC in my home country was of course great, having been selected to present a paper with Ingmar about LDoT was even sweeter! To my knowledge it was the very first ever father-son presentation in this event and in light of the fact that I am looking to step back a bit, a great moment for Ingmar to take some of the lime light. The presentation was further symbolic as it very much reflected what the advance of IoT means for many, for the older generation it seems something the new generation will have to pick up and run with perfectly reflected by senior and junior doing the presentation together. It was a novelty for us presenting together, very much as the IoT (let alone the integration into lighting) is new to everyone…We had made some que-cards to make sure we knew who would say what but more to make sure I would hold back talking all the time as I am so used presenting by myself the past 30 years…

We had an amazing turnout, every single seat in the dome was taken (about 300++) with everyone else standing room only. Some later complained they couldn’t get in! The reactions on our LDoT presentation was heart warming and has now more then ever confirmed we are on the right way. We have made many new contacts of like minded people which we will follow up on in the weeks to come.

PLDC was also the location of the official Light Talk 2 book launch which was done through a live streamed interview of me by Joachim Ritter, the chair of PLDC, introducing my new book and sharing the story that led me to write this new book.

Overall the event was very well organised, well attended (about 1500+ registered attendees) with a great set up in the famous Ahoy Hallen, a venue known for its concerts and other fair events. Overall the presentations were of average quality, with some highlights and some lesser ones. But considering the organisers try to cater for all walks of lighting design life, I assume everyone found their own little piece of enrichment. Most of the keynote speakers were of excellent calibre.

As usual the evening events were memorable, from the Thursday night party at “Anabel”, the “Fire within” organised by the Fagurhult group in the famous Maas Silo’s to the gala and awards dinner party in the now defunct “Onderzeeboot Loods” (former Submarine Wharf) that was expertly turned into a spectacular light show by Kurt Vermeulen and his team at ACT. Well done everyone…we left in the wee hours looking back on a very satisfactory time at PLDC…

Time for me to say goodbye and take a break. But not to worry, I will be back in some form or way! Till then, take care and make sure you are always enjoying what you are doing!


Light Middle East, when in Dubai, impressions Dubai


LME LDoT presentation at IoT intelligent light forum


LME fair impressions/LAMP Work shop seminar


LME award nights pics


Impressions Rotterdam


PLDC Rotterdam, event impressions


PLDC LDoT presentation


PLDC Light Talk book launch


PLDC evening Fire within and Gala dinner pics

01. November 2019 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: lighting of the future | Leave a comment

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