Last Friday I took my class on a visit to a fixture manufacturer’s showroom. The visit was pretty successful, but I had one issue with the information that was presented. This manufacturer’s rep presented their CRI 80 and CRI 90 products by saying that CRI 80 dulls colors and CRI 90 makes colors “pop”. I can’t blame him too much, after all it’s a common misconception that higher CRI is “better.” However, it’s not true so let’s take a look.
Sometimes the New York Times is oblivious and yesterday was one of them. In an article titled Lighting a Room, Simplified the author wrote about the importance of lighting in the home. In preparing the article, she spoke to and quoted four interior designers, one fixture manufacturers and one professional lighting designer. In addition, all eight of the photos in the article are taken during the day, so they're nice illustrations of the use of windows and daylight in residential interiors but terrible illustrations of electric lighting, which is the topic of the article. They seem to be marketing photos for particular lighting fixtures, not examples of good lighting.
Our friend and classmate David Zinn designed the costumes and scenery for "SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical." David's designs have been nominated for Tony Awards, and his costumes were profiled in Friday's New York Times. Congratulations David!
The Stage reported yesterday that "The European Union is considering banning tungsten halogen lamps in entertainment lighting, due to environmental concerns over their energy inefficiency." There are so many reasons this is hopelessly misguided. Let me list a few.
Earlier this year we started working with New York's Target Margin Theater on converting a two story warehouse into a new studio theatre, rehearsal spaces, and office space. Two acoustically isolated rehearsal rooms were built at the beginning of the summer. When bids for the resilient stage floor were twice as high as expected the team decided that TMT could build it themselves.
Measuring and describing the brightness of colored LEDs is an increasingly important part of a lighting designer’s practice. They are used more often, and in more types of projects, than ever before. Yet, we don’t have an accurate method for understanding exactly how much light is being produced and how bright it will appear. It’s a problem that the lighting industry needs to solve, and soon.
In a project meeting yesterday a team member said that LED stage lights would save the owner money. While there are many reasons to include LED lights in a theatre's equipment inventory, cost savings is not one of them. We've written a white paper, LEDs In Stage Lighting, that includes an economic analysis and simple rate of return. Get a copy here.
I often tell my students that design is as much a process as it is a product. Even so, they (and some of my clients) sometimes want to go from first meeting to finished design in one step. I suppose one could do that, but the result wouldn’t be a thoughtfully appropriate design, it would just be fixture selection. The difference lies in the early part of the design process where we gather information about the project and the expectations of the stakeholders, followed by an analysis of that information towards the stated goals of the project. Only after completing those two critical steps can we begin the work of putting the design together and executing it. Here’s one way of looking at the entire process.