What other trends are you seeing in lighting design?
Circadian rhythm conversations are increasing, and not just in lighting; architectural people are talking about it, too. Anything having to do with biology. You’re hearing more about how behavioral affectations occur. We’re running into the realm now of not just lighting spaces and changing people’s awareness of the space, but how we potentially physiologically affect people. That’s one of the biggest trends I see right now; going from indirect effect to direct effect. Lighting has an incredible potential power insofar as what it can do, but people and their egos can get caught up in that power. Like Uncle Ben told Peter Parker as Spiderman, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Within the design community, that’s something that we need to perhaps remind ourselves of every morning.
How critical are LED controls in terms of what you’re designing?
On a scale of one to ten, the critical nature of controls is high up there, probably seven or eight. I’m not an engineer, so I’m not going to give it a ten [laughs]. It’s an undeniable reality, though. It’s often mandated to comply with the new energy codes, so there’s no choice in the matter. That’s why I said that an engineer might say it’s a ten, because they’re going to say that you plain, outright must have them. For me, the issue lies with the various protocols. There’s a lot of different types; each with various limitations. When I coordinate the control with the fixtures, I need to know that I can get the effect I want. Also, in some cases, the controls are fairly complex. Just the nature of how they work is complex, and my clients don’t like complex, so I have to translate that complexity in a simple manner. It’s like turning Einstein’s theory of relativity into a ‘Dick and Jane’ book.
I love this profession. I’m extremely fortunate that I wake up every morning and use lighting to fulfill a childhood dream of being a sorcerer and have a good life. I’m fortunate to have met and to know good people, and to have plenty of opportunities for a good laugh. I have zero regrets. I’ll close off by paraphrasing Sinatra, “I’m fortunate to have done it my way.”