The week that was 11-15th January 2016
Singapore – Weekend 16-17 January 2016
A new year, season 7!
It is hard to believe that I am embarking on my 7th season of blogging! We are already well into January but I only returned to work in my Singapore office this week after a very relaxing time with my friends and family in Australia. While we had a very solid year behind us but I am particularly excited about the year to come. It feels like the stars a aligning for a great, successful and most of all gratifying year ahead. We got appointed into a few new projects right from the start of this year and some of my other projects and plans for this year are shaping up excitingly. I also have some plans to revitalise the blog with some exciting new elements, but more about that over the coming months…I started working on it and need some time to detail it out…watch this space.
To speak or not to speak…
So what happened this first week back in office. First of all I picked up my communication with an event organiser in Korea who had invited me to come and speak, but as many of these events, they seem very commercial more focussed on profit making rather than professional content. This translates into a situation that the event, even though government backed, requests all participants, speakers as well, to finance their own way to the event, including the event fees. I had made my participation conditional to having my costs sponsored as to not be out of pocket as an invited speaker to the event and after securing the sponsorship have confirmed my participation. We will develop separate activities while in Korea with my sponsor to maximise the outcome of my visit but I had a bout of conscience during the week whether to “speak or not to speak” as in principle I have my doubts towards the quality of the event if people have to pay their way in. This generally translates in one big sales and advertisement campaign by the speakers using the platform to promote their company or products rather the seriously sharing innovative and meaningful information. In the end I decided to use the event as a springboard for other activities in Korea, a country I have not been active for quite a while…time will tell if it was a right decision. The event centres on low carbon emission technologies, a subject close to my hart, and hence the decision to participate…
Communication and managing our clients and project team’s expectations remains a hot topic as always and this first week in office was no different. With the risk of being regarded as condescending or patronising, when leading our fellow consultants and diplomatically communicating with our clients in regards to prompt communication and consultation with the lighting designer was again high on the menu this week. Three (!) of our projects failed miserably in communication on different levels. In one of the projects the interior designer had issued full DD package without informing or copying us with the client then asking us where our lighting design was…In a second projects due to time constraints the interior designer had decided to go ahead and present the concept including their interpretation of our lighting concept to the client without us having provided our actual proper input. As a result the overall concept leaves much to desire and some catch up and patch up will be needed…and finally as part of an ID lead consultants team we discovered a total disconnect with the local architects who for some reason are doing their own thing while we together with the ID here in Singapore are developing our own…In all three cases I decided to personally intervene, with personal direct phone calls and face to face meetings with the bosses or lead designers involved. The reaction was immediate and supportive which leads me to believe that it was not intentional but just unthoughtful.
Technology innovation to continue unabated in 2016…
This year 2016 looks like continuing on the path of constant new innovations in the lighting industry that may have big impacts on our work as lighting designers. Two technology reports struck me this week, one being the renewed focus on developing electrical energy from plants(!) and the other in regards to efforts to bring back the incandescent lamp.
Producing electricity from living plants seems a real clever idea and the only company in the world that has managed to do that, Plant-E from Holland, was recently conferred the World’s Economic Forum Technology Pioneer award in recognition of their unique and innovative way of generating power. The report also highlights its first commercial projects in Holland (see press release link: http://plant-e.com/onewebmedia/Press%20release%20launch%20Plant-e.pdf). Plant generating energy modules are now commercially available in modules of 50x50cm and sold per 100m2. It is said it rivals solar power in output…That would be a much nicer sight then large fields of solar panels! In an interview the developers were saying that grassland could be used where cows maybe grazing while electricity is generated below the surface! Interesting development to watch.
Meanwhile researchers at MIT have managed to redevelop the good old incandescent lamp by surrounding the filament with a special crystal structure in the glass allowing to bounce back the energy that is usually lost in heat while still allowing light through, basically recycling light. Traditionally incandescent light bulbs are only 5-10% efficient with the rest of the energy lost, while compact fluorescent and LED light bulbs manage around 15-20% efficiency. It is believed that this new technology could reach about 40% efficiency effectively making the incandescent lamp far more efficient then LED lighting! Interesting to watch as well, certainly in consideration that many countries have moved to ban the incandescent light bulb!
Have a great weekend!