In a previous instalment, PointOfView’s Mark Elliott spoke about becoming a lighting design professional, working with Pritzker prize-winning architects and building an international reputation with a small firm.

Following are further insights into progress in lighting technology and achieving the best design in the Australian setting.

With images below are from the Hassell Studio project, undertaken by Elliott with PointOfView. Photography:  Brent Winstone

In your view, what is at the cutting-edge in lighting design in Australia? And are we trailing far behind other leaders in the world?

In Australia we tend to be driven by function and economy rather than aspiration and innovation, there are number of reasons for this that I won’t delve in to, but as a creative practice we have to seek out clients who are looking for innovation and looking to create something that would stand on an international stage and who really value the input we can provide to enhance any project. 

Hassell Studio by PointOfView

When these projects are found in Australia, Australian designers and architects are amongst the world’s best.  To bring us up to par globally we should be doing more! 

In terms of lighting I think we are ahead in many ways here, in sustainable design principles, ahead of many parts of the world. We embrace current technologies and continue to drive their development to enable us to design to the highest level within strict energy code requirements. 

The downside of this is that often the lighting design is driven by and engineered, calculated solution, which any lighting designer will tell you won’t create a great environment, you can’t calculate the way the human brain perceives a space and we see a space through light.

It’s obvious when you see a project where a lighting designer is involved, light, shade, colour rendition and temperature control that illustrates a level of consideration for the quality of light and the human experience of it.  I call it Light v Lights, we work with light, lights are the tools we use to deliver the ideas.  When you think about a painting, you think of the composition and not the paint.

What technologies and innovative design solutions in lighting excite you the most?

The progression in lighting technology is in LED.  This has been the talk of our industry for as long as I can remember, but somewhere along the adoption of this technology we took a step back and lost the quality of light in the search for efficiency. 

Current LED technologies are now looking back at the benefits of traditional light sources such as halogen and looking at how to replicate the benefits, ‘warm dim’ LEDs is the saviour of hospitality and residential light and it's becoming readily available. 

Also what really excites me is the true integration of light within physical objects through OLED technology and through the fabric of buildings using light as a building tool.  These and a few other innovations will be investigated in future articles.

 Image: Oled-Info

To drive progression in any discipline of design we need to challenge the previous generations’ influences, and stay away from following prescriptive solutions, be prepared to task risks, not be reckless but, as Andre Tammes (founder of LDP and an important father to lighting design) told me ‘informed risk’.  Be brave to know that you are skilled in your profession and that you can evolve the way we think and what we  are prepared to accept. 

We are told that we need 320lux on our desks to work properly, 12 years ago it was 600 lux.  Right now, I have 60 lux on my desk……things move on.