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Paul James - Editorial Comment

Issue 51 Oct / Nov 2009

Our 50th issue and the accompanying survey of 50 Lighting Design practices certainly generated hundreds of responses from all over the world and, much to my relief and gratitude, only two were objections (and those were by designers who misunderstood the format of the survey and assumed it was a Top 50, wondering why they weren’t included).

As a snapshot of the industry it was a fascinating excercise to ascertain the health of the Lighting Design profession. Although some way behind the profession of Architect, Lighting Designers are becoming more and more involved at the earliest stages of the building design process. 
The IALD and PLDA are doing fantastic jobs setting the global standard for lighting design excellence by promoting the advancement and recognition of professional lighting designers. But there needs to be more work done by the industry as a whole.

To quote a variety of sources: There is no substitute for a Lighting Designer’s level of expertise and professionalism. Lighting Designers dedicate their careers exclusively to the art and science of lighting. With a Lighting Designer on the team, Architects, Interior Designers, Builders and Owners will see their vision realised.

But we need to shout about these benefits and part of that process is to demistify the profession, to give it a clear structure and network so that other members of the design team can clearly place a Lighting Designer in the supply chain.

In order to legitimise the work of a Lighting Designer I believe it is important to publish such information as held in the survey so that the practice of Lighting Design is not seen as a dark art but more as a valuable use of budget to make a building look and work better.

Judging by your response it seems like we are doing something right so we will continue with the research. Keep an eye out for a special issue later next year when we will produce a further international survey on a much bigger scale.


Paul James at MoMA
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