Encounter - St. Louis
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!"
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Lisa J. Reed, lighting designer and Principal at Envision Lighting Design, LLC