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Harish TM, Visuals and Words Advertising LLC


Courtesy of WATG


Courtesy of DHA Design


Top left For the Emirates Towers linear fixtures were integrated into the horizontal fins that characterise the corners of the structures, creating a unique “stacking” effect. Right For the Muscat Royal Opera House in Oman, Fordham used lower wattages and lumen packages because of the cladding’s limestone, which reacts very well to light. Above The Strand Light Console that decorates the London office of DHA Design. Fordham’s father operated the same console in the 1950s for a theatre production of The King and I.


It was one of the works that convinced Fordham to pursue lighting design. To extend his stay in the U.S., Fordham followed his studies at Penn State with an IALD internship that took him to the offices of HLW in New York, and had him meet- ing designers from the offices of Howard M. Brandston and Fisher Marantz Stone. “Many of the big-name lighting designers in New York were very much involved in the internship,” he remembers. “It was a great opportunity to see the practices and their work.”


After wrapping up the internship in 1989, and graduating from Leeds University the following year, Fordham travelled around Australia and Asia before returning to the UK in 1992, where he was hired by the lighting design department of Imagination, the communications company in London. He describes the firm as a creative place that was rooted in theatre, making it all the


more compelling for him to apply engineer- ing principles to projects. One standout scheme was the lighting of the Art Deco Hoover Building in North London. “The design was already complete by the time I worked on it,” he says. “I was working on site mainly, really getting my hands dirty with the fixtures.”


In 1994, Fordham went back to Australia for a brief stint at NDYLight, first in Queens- land, then starting the NDYLight office in Sydney. The company worked on a lot of retail spaces and large shopping malls. Fordham recalls the Strand Arcade, a Victo- rian building in the heart of Sydney, as one of the gems.


Almost a year later, the move eventually led him to Hong Kong, where he accepted a po- sition as Design Director at Linbeck Rausch. Here, a seminal project would shape his career and his perspective on design. Fordham was assigned to the Lantau Fixed


Crossing, a 3.5 km-long suspension bridge linking different parts of Hong Kong to its international airport, which was being built at the time. Under the wing of American lighting designer Robert A. Shakespeare, with his theatrical background and inspi- rational use of Radiance and early lighting visualisation software, the Linbeck Rausch team tried to create an evocative, coloured lighting scheme that would emphasise the awesome structure, rather than over-light it. “With the ever-changing skyline in Hong Kong, there were attitudes that developers wanted their buildings bigger and brighter than anything else,” Fordham says. “What we were trying to do with many of our exterior projects was to develop different ways of lighting a tall façade, avoiding the ‘bucket of light’ approach, where you throw so much light at a building and hope some of it sticks. We were encouraging architects


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