Published June 7, 2017
There are 5 Reasons your may want to consider a lighting designer on your next project. There's no question that lighting design has become much more complex, requiring more design time and coordination. If you're an architect, electrical engineer, developer, owner, or facility manager, you are seeing this already. How do you incorporate all the moving pieces when it comes to proper illumination--function, aesthetics, mood, codes, environmental concerns, cost, maintenance, controls, etc.--and still maintain the vision? Maybe it's time to consider an independent lighting designer. Below are 5 factors to bear in mind when you are beginning your next project.
#1 Independent means Independent
An independent lighting designer does not sell lighting fixtures and therefore is not obligated to any manufacturer, distributor or agent, nor is he tied to any specific product line. The designer is free to recommend the best solution for your project regardless of who manufactures it. A good lighting designer understands the value of independent, unbiased research and verification, and does not rely solely on manufacturer representations.
#2 Lighting and Lighting Controls are Complicated
LED has changed the landscape. The characteristics of LED lighting are different from traditional light sources. Energy codes and lighting ordinances vary between states and municipalities and lighting controls are now a major consideration on nearly every project. Add to that the rapid changes in products and technologies, and you can see how difficult it is to stay up to speed. Lighting designers spend a large amount of time on education, research and training. With the rapid pace of technological advances and complexities now associated with LED lighting and control systems, expert lighting designers are needed now more than ever before.
#3 Lighting Design is both Art and Science
There is both a creative and technical aspect to lighting design. An experienced lighting designer understands how to create moods, use color, accent objects, enhance textures, and utilize natural light. He also understands the physics of light and how it is produced and controlled. Your lighting designer has the knowledge and expertise to evaluate products, manufacturers, sources and techniques to structure the best solution and creative design for the application.
#4 Not an Added Cost
Contrary to what many believe, an independent lighting designer isn't just another fee added to the project. The professional services your designer provides will in many cases save time and money both in the short- and long-term. The value that an independent lighting designer brings to the project exceeds the fee. Good lighting design affects safety and security, productivity, and in many cases profitability, to name just a few. A lighting designer is able to: a) develop a lighting plan that prevents spending unnecessary lighting dollars, b) facilitate the architect in getting off the job faster by eliminating or easing unforeseen costs and delays, and c) produce an effective, creative lighting design that can set the architect apart from the firm’s competition and satisfy the client.
You have a vision for your project and want to work with those who share that view. A good lighting designer becomes a valuable member of the design team, performing specific tasks for a pre-determined time schedule, meaning that the lighting designer is not on the firm's permanent payroll.
#5 The Lighting Designer Solves Problems
Problem solving may be the biggest reason to hire a lighting designer. Someone that has been in the industry for a while has, without a doubt, seen his or her share of common and not-so-common lighting dilemmas. A lighting designer works through a myriad of lighting problems every day, catching those small oversights throughout a project that can become huge problems in the end. How and when those problems are remedied can impact your bottom line and client relationships.
In short, an independent lighting designer works with your design team to see your vision realized, assists you in navigating lighting complexities, brings up-to-date technologies to your project, and provides unbiased lighting and lighting control systems expertise. Maybe it's time to take your architectural designs to the next level by bringing in an expert in lighting and lighting controls to work on your next project.
Danny Streit is an independent lighting designer, lighting educator and advocate, residing in Nashville, TN. As design principal of DHS Lighting Design, he is Lighting Certified (LC) through NCQLP, is an Associate Member IALD, Member AIA, USGBC, and past President of IES Nashville. You may reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
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