It is not the first time that we have alluded to the fact that daylight and daylight design is a crucial part of the future of architectural lighting. In the past many designers seemed to regard daylight as being too far removed from their scope of work, or did not feel it was important enough. And if we’re honest, maybe some considered it too complex to handle. This issue of Professional Lighting Design, however, shows that there are practices that are not only one step ahead as far as know-how and approach are concerned, but are quite rightly extremely successful and benefiting hugely from the trend towards intelligent, well designed daylight solutions.
Lighting designers such as Christian Bartenbach or the practice Carpenter Norris have already made names for themselves as daylight specialists, although even these two masters of the art differ substantially with regard to their philosophy of daylight. The lighting design team from Arup, a global firm of independent engineering consultants and designers, have proven that they too are in the top league when it comes to daylight design. It is not without reason that they were commissioned to design the (day)lighting for four significant museum projects in the last 24 months. One of the amazing aspects of their work is that the designs work perfectly in whatever part of the world the projects happen to be – in Greece, in Central Europe or in the USA – and light levels can be adjusted as required. We are running detailed articles on two of these projects in this issue. As a reader you can follow step by step how the solutions evolved from the initial concept phase through to realisation.
The quality of a professional lighting design is measured by how the users feel in the lit space, wether the atmosphere is suitable, and if the lighting promotes good health. Rarely does that mean creating striking, colourful design solutions. But new times demand new solutions: new technologies, user interaction and the chance to relate information via new media, coupled with the client's and the architect's desire to attract attention to their building, is driving the trend towards creating truly spectacular facades.
I may be running the risk of repeating myself when I expound on the fact that the state of many educational establishments in the so-called developed world are not worthy of the children who learn there. It is amazing what we demand and expect of our offspring while simultaneously expecting them to perform well at school. Then again, we have been known to attempt to enhance academic performance by manipu- lating classroom lighting. If not implemented correctly, this can conflict seriously with the youngsters’ bio-rhythms and natural development. No wonder that kids nowa- days opt to take refuge in the illusory world of the Internet, where everything seems to be possible and yet – if truth be known – generally only offers information of a shallow or superficial quality: an illusory world, in other words. And yet this ultra cool cyberspace world appears to appeal more to the young generation than reality, or hanging around in the playground or playing outside in the breaks.
The Professional Lighting Design Convention 2009 in Berlin documented that the realisation and establishment of the lighting design profession still has some way to go – comparable to a 5000-piece jigsaw puzzle of which only 2000 pieces have been laid. These first 2000 pieces took 15 years to accomplish. Initially that does not smack of success, but when you take a closer look at what has been achieved it is doubtless ground-breaking. Today’s generation of lighting design students have little idea of the state of the profession 15 years ago. Nobody really knew how to define lighting design in those days, let alone recognize it as a profession in its own right. There were a wide range of interpretations in circulation. Many associated lighting design with something arty or spiritual or viewed lighting as a purely technical discipline. But the times have changed.
Lighting design is as important for culture as the air we breathe is for life on our planet. Public budgets for cultural buildings may be tight, but that does not mean to say that the lighting for these buildings can be less well designed. That would be the first step to the decline of all cultural activity, and a huge loss for society as we know it. That having been said, there are very few towns that appear to be so well organised when it comes to funding that they can be described as being leaders in the field of lighting design. And even if the city treasurer is doing a good job, there are always reasons – plus a good deal of social pressure – not to dedicate money to cultural projects.
What do you as a reader expect of your magazine? The research we have carried out and the data we have gathered shows that you primarily want to be kept up-to-date with the kind of in- formation you need to perform your daily work. But what you find most interesting are articles about the future of the lighting design profession, information that allows you to react fast and accordingly and to keep one step ahead with regard to imminent changes on the market.
Euroluce 2009 in Milan definitely showed signs of change. To be exact, it was more about discussing how to resist change. There are too many operators on the market who simply cannot get used to the idea that the first incandescent lamps are to dis- appear from the shelves as of this autumn. It goes against the majority of people's understanding that they are expected to give up the simple, but well-loved incan- descent lamp for a modern, high-tech solution they do not even like. What remains are worried, angry and even depressed lighting designers plus a whole series of some- times confused manufacturers, who do not understand why so many politicians and such a large part of the population are being compelled by law to use or not use specific products which are not exclusively good or exclusively bad.