This year's St. Louis IES Illumination Awards event was again declared the "best" by many attendees! We had a beautiful time, enjoyed a Planetarium Star show, then were entertained by our own stars' interviews on a mock "Ronahue" Show about their lighting design projects. Three Illumination Award projects were introduced via movie previews. See the movie previews here:
Watch the St. Louis IES website for more details about this event and for information about future events.
Some encounters with color temperature. Where do you see color temperature differences in your world?
Lesley Wheel was a pioneer in the architectural lighting design world. She once told me a story I will never forget. One of her lighting projects was nearing the end of construction when the client approached her with serious concerns, "Lesley, you must add more lights to the space. It's too dark!"
She discussed the situation, tried to explain that the adjustable (track) lighting had not yet been properly focused (aimed) and assured the client that she would do what she could to make the lobby brighter. After that, she simply completed her job.
One of the critically important but sometimes overlooked aspects of a lighting designer's work happens long after the drawings have left the studio. While it may be tempting to eliminate the construction administration portion of the contract from a lighting designer's scope of work in order to save money, it would be ill advised. On site, a lighting designer will verify that lamps have been installed per specs - correct color temperature, beam spread, wattage, and CRI, etc. They also ensure that wall washers are actually directed toward walls. Lighting designers set dimming levels to optimize performance and aesthetics. They also aim and direct all adjustable fixtures toward their intended targets!
What happens when this important part of the lighting designer's job is overlooked?
See the picture. I don't think the designer of this project did anything wrong here...she just didn't get to focus (aim) the project. At this hospital grand opening and open house, we all saw dots of lights instead of the inspirational words on the wall.
Fortunately, Lesley Wheel's story had a happier ending. After she had aimed all of the lights the way she intended, the client approached her again. "Thank you for adding lights like I asked you to!"
Let me start by saying that I don't want to be hyper-critical of anyone's lighting design. Hindsight is, they say, 20/20. And I'm sure I have some examples on someone's "bad lighting application" list somewhere! But the fact remains that we can learn from observing the spaces that we encounter on a daily basis.
This is a small civil war memorial in a park-like setting at a condominium complex near my home. It is nicely landscaped and has benches for rest and contemplation. During the daytime it is inviting, and - more importantly - visible. I typically see it when I drive by at 35mph on the adjacent road.
But at night when the lights are supposed to be doing the job of helping us see, the statue virtually disappears. From the drive-by view, all that remains is the glare of the bollards.
As a lighting designer, I would recommend just some in-landscape accent lights on the statue and some additional lighting at the stairs. The lighting on the statue would both illuminate the statue and provide comfortable ambient light for the sidewalk and seating area. Here's where it gets really interesting. The bollards that were actually used to light the area typically cost several hundred dollars each. So the designed solution would have cost less and provided better illumination. Think about that before saying you can't afford a lighting designer on your next project!
Lisa J. Reed, lighting designer and Principal at Envision Lighting Design, LLC