The lighting design process combines art and science and then applies it to the built environment. It is the application of objective criteria (science and technology) and subjective criteria (art and inspiration) to every phase of constructing a building, attraction, show or outdoor site to effectively and properly illuminate those spaces. Lighting provides visual comfort, safety and beauty and light is harnessed to support the built environment by providing an intuitive means of orientation and by creating night time identity and extended functionality.
Each project is unique. Each project team and set of expectations and goals are keyed to the dynamic of the project. A set of goals and parameters developed for one project will not work for the next, no matter how closely it resembles it. There are too many elements of change within each project to apply a design formula to all. Many times the number of design phases are reduced because of project schedule. By the time Point of Light becomes involved there are usually project parameters that have already been developed and established. Our goal is to integrate into the existing process and provide a solid design approach to the project based on those variations. At Point of Light, we strive to work in a collaborative way with everyone involved in the project to provide the best solutions possible.
Point of Light takes the basic design approach with each project of first reviewing all provided project CAD drawings, Revit/BIM models, design drawings or renderings, narratives, photo references and any other documents to fully understand the scope and intent of the project. This allows us to begin all conversations and meetings with an understanding of the project that minimizes the time required of others in explaining what would be obvious in a review of existing materials. Additionally, we will visit the job site if the location is available. Many times the surrounding buildings or environment will help direct us down a path and guides decisions toward a successful design. The site survey is especially helpful in the retrofit or reuse of existing structures or facilities. This information becomes paramount to understanding the complete project needs.
We then develop a list of questions and basic design intents and will setup meetings with the client and/or design team for in-depth review of the scope and intent of the lighting for the project. Each member of the design team brings a unique perspective to a project and it is our job to fold those ideas into a cohesive design that fulfills desires as well as the project requirements.
Discussions regarding the budget for the project will also take place. It is during this time that Point of Light can assist in ensuring that all possible project costs are accounted for. Budget is always a determining factor in the beginning design process as it allows us to focus on the important elements and guide away from expensive paths or at least provide guidance as to the cost impact of requested design elements to the project budget.
During these initial design meetings, we will also meet with the construction teams to understand the physical construction processes for the project, as well as issues and concerns that the team may have. Understanding this aspect is also critical to keeping communication open between the teams. Point of Light is often the conduit of both the artistic intent and the mechanics of making the installations happen effectively.
While these design processes are taking place, the Point of Light CAD/BIM team will begin to process the electronic data files collected and initiate discussions with the architects and engineers to ensure that we are on the same page regarding technical aspects of the drawings. Our CAD/BIM team will being to develop the sheets and naming conventions that will be used throughout the project. This enables the team to provide our principal designer with drawings ready for the initial design markups.
The Point of Light team will then begin the process of collecting design information and providing preliminary facility input/impact for the project. This information is important to ensure that the proper infrastructure is in place to support the forthcoming design.
The principal designer will then begin to process the ideas and design elements into drawings. Additional site visits and/or meetings with the different disciplines will take place as questions arise or ideas blossom during the design process. This process is dynamic and will vary depending upon project complexity. During this time the lighting system design will also be developed to provide necessary control of all the lighting elements. Upon completion of first pass drawings and initial cost estimates, Point of Light will setup additional meetings to review the intended path and ensure that all interested parties are in agreement with the direction and equipment choices.
Throughout the phases of the project, Point of Light will continue to develop and revise the design package until it includes all necessary drawings and paperwork to complete the project. Many times our drawings are integrated into the drawing package from the A&E’s and other times the construction progresses from use of our drawings directly. The design packages from Point of Light are very thorough and provide all information that the various disciplines require to move their work forward.
Many times during the design process, Point of Light will feel it beneficial to provide demonstrations or mockups of lighting equipment or lighting effects to ensure that the equipment meets the project standards or the design intent. Point of Light prides itself on ensuring that we pre-screen equipment that may not have been previously specified. Many times these demonstrations or mockups have resulted in a change in equipment long before the purchasing has begun. This is a service that Point of Light is dedicated to providing and it allows art directors to more easily visualize the design intent of the lighting design. These are done at no additional cost unless mockups are requested from the client or teams that are elaborate in nature.
Point of Light takes great care to provide sustainable designs. Energy efficiency is important to all emerging projects and great effort is taken to ensure that the best decisions are made based on real efficiency and not on technologies that are the latest fad. Many times, established energy saving technology beats newer technologies in cost, maintainability and energy savings and all options are reviewed and considered.
Maintenance is also taken into account with each design. Long lamp life is important to minimize the labor costs associated with lamp replacement and is a primary concern with all Point of Light projects. At times project requirements or a lighting effect calls for an approach that does not allow for extremely long life lamps but these are isolated and reviewed to determine if alternate approaches are possible. Point of Light spends a great deal of time “future proofing” the design to allow for retrofit to emerging lamp technologies where possible.
Point of Light uses its knowledge and experience from previous projects to ensure that specified equipment will meet project demands and a 10-year expected life span. Again, there are times where a specific effect or requirement do not allow for this requirement to be met, but these are isolated and discussed with the client/owner to approve. If a piece of equipment is new to the market or has not been previously specified by Point of Light, we will order a sample for testing as discussed above. All this is done to help confirm that the best equipment choices are made.
Point of Light also takes into account the aspects of light that can affect our health and well being and strive to maximize those positive physiological and psychological elements in our designs.
Ultimately, our goal is to provide the best, most efficient, beautiful and innovative designs within the project budget parameters. We diligently strive with each project to deliver that goal.