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DETAILS HIGHLIGHTS


Projects that you would like to change: I would love to have an opportunity to light the Sydney Opera House. It is a tricky piece of architecture to light on a permanent basis, although some of the temporary lighting and art projections during Vivid Sydney this year were quite spectacular.


Projects you admire:


Some of the façades in the Beijing Olympics were quite interesting. The Aquatics Centre was stunning, an ethereal lighting design by Arup. From a daylighting perspective, Corbusier’s Notre-Dame-du-Haut in Ronchamp cannot be beaten.


Projects you dislike:


Coloured and colour-changing façade lighting that is totally unsympathetic to the architecture. Too many to mention! How long have you got?


Photographs: V&A Museum Lighting Hero:


This is a difficult question to answer because there are so many. I go back to the beginning of my career and the American lighting designers who were influencing me at the time: Fisher Marantz Stone and Ross De Alessi were always very inspiring. I also owe a lot to lighting designer Tony Dowthwaite in Queensland, Australia, who helped kick-start my career.


Notable projects:


I tend to light a lot more external façades than interior spaces. It’s really fantastic to see the architecture completely evolve at night around something that you’ve done so directly; that you can make such a big impact on the architecture. As a recent example, I’m very pleased with the façades of the Royal Opera House in Muscat, Oman.


Left The top of the Emirates Tower with ‘the stacking effect’ visable. Top right Close offset in-ground uplights create a gentle glow at the base of the façade and arcade columns with warm white ceramic metal halide lamps at the Royal Opera House in Muscat. Above right Fibre-optic lighting helped Fordham achieve the lighting design of the V&A’s extensive collection of 3,500 pieces of priceless jewellery.


linear fixtures that provide both direct and indirect light.


“The environment has been much improved during the daytime and at night, revealing much more of the historic architecture of the building to the visitor,” Fordham says. Meanwhile, at the main V&A Museum, Fordham has been busy lighting the façade along Cromwell Road, and revisiting the lighting of the Grand Entrance, first lit by DHA Design in 2003. He calls the scheme understated, opting for warm white light to accentuate the stonework of the cladding. The first phase of the work introduced an efficient luminaire hidden in the moat that runs along the front of the museum’s external façade. Precise optics graze the surface and hit the underside of the cornice along the roof line, creating a horizontal band of light around the top of the build- ing. The second and third phases included the outside of the main entrance, and the three-tier crown above it.


“Some of our throw distances were quite long in the Grand Entrance,” Fordham recounts. “We can now achieve a very tight 5-degree beam using LED luminaires, which was not so easy in 2003 when it was last


lit. The results are fantastic! It is totally lit with LED sources now, which helps the museum with their maintenance.” While LEDs have given lighting designers much flexibility, Fordham acknowledges that “not all of it is good and not all of it is correct.” He remembers how a few years ago, at the Light + Building show in Frank- furt, many manufacturers were desperate to launch LED products, often using metal halide or fluorescent housings and inserting LEDs into them. Since then, things have changed. “More is being designed around the lamp and the technology, rather than incorporating the new technology into an old luminaire,” Fordham points out. That said, the lighting market has become very saturated with LED sources. While lighting designers have no difficulty sifting through ranges of products, it can some- times pose a challenge for the client. It’s also redefined the role of the lighting de- signer, who needs to educate clients more and more, and find ways to minimise energy consumption. “There’s a lot of listening involved – very careful listening – to understand what your client wants and expects,” says Fordham.


Most memorable project:


The Emirates Towers in Dubai come back to me time and time again.


Current projects:


I’m working on a rather large resort in the Caribbean at the moment. It’s a 400-hectare site and we are looking after the exterior and landscape lighting design. It won’t be completed until the end of 2014. We’re doing quite a bit of work overseas; currently I’m also working in India on a large residential project in Mumbai, consisting of three towers, each about 70 stories high. We’re designing the façade and landscape lighting and also the lighting for the amenities spaces. You’ll have to wait a few years to see the results!


“Each project, of course, is different. That’s been said many times before. There’s not a set of rules that we abide by, but it’s essential to do that listening at first.” Ultimately, lighting design is one of the many moving parts in any project. “You’re being led, partially, by an architect’s vision or an interior designer’s vision,” Fordham concludes.“Together you have to nurture it to see how it can be best achieved. It’s down to the skill of the lighting designer to get the most out of this vision and to be able to come up with a scheme that can be built on budget and on time, and still meet all of the client’s expectations.” www.dhadesigns.com


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