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MONDO ARC

Paul James - Editorial Comment

Issue 50 Aug / Sep 2009


Welcome to the 50th issue and, as it happens, 10th anniversary of mondo*arc magazine. It seems hardly possible that we began this journey in 1999.

Back then things were very different; mondo*arc was launched as a quarterly supplement to our sister title mondo*dr (still going strong after 19 years covering the entertainment industry) when we started to find out about theatrical lighting companies getting involved in the architectural world. This was very much the colour washing variety from the likes of Martin Professional, Griven and Studio Due.

I don’t mind admitting that we didn’t know our ERCOs from our Zumtobels and we certainly weren’t aware of the level of passion and creativity that existed in the profession of the architectural Lighting Designer. However we persevered and have got to the position today where, despite some other publications falling by the wayside or reducing quality, we believe mondo*arc is well established in the international architectural lighting design fraternity. Indeed, far from cutting costs, we have added to our editorial staff as of this issue with Pete Brewis, formerly editor of mondo*dr, coming on board as Deputy Editor.

A lot has happened in those ten years - both for this magazine and for the industry. LEDs have controversially come to the fore, the incandescent bulb is being banned, we launched The ARC Show as the UK’s only architectural lighting trade show, and the profession of the Lighting Designer has become much more recognised. It is for this reason that we have launched our ‘50 Lighting Designers’ survey where we talked to 50 practices across the world to find out where we are today in terms of turnover, staffing levels and their thoughts on the industry - past, present and future.

It is a testament to the development of the Lighting Design profession that we can cover a project like the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. Here, the client has engaged with the Lighting Designer (Speirs and Major Associates) at an early stage, and presumably at reasonable expense, to ensure that the scheme enhances the architecture in a sympathetic way.

It would have been easy for the client to save time and money employing an engineer or indeed a manufacturer to come up with a crass colour changing scheme. Instead, by employing a Lighting Design practice that harmoniously collaborated with the lighting manufacturers, a magical scheme has been created that has put the Grand Mosque even more firmly on the map of religious iconic architecture.

It’s projects like these that enhance the value of Lighting Designers and puts them in their rightful place alongside architects and engineers in the design process.

 

The editor outside the Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi
Pic: Harmer PR

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