#wtrends liveblog 2: catch the wind

When sundown pales the sky
I want to hide a while

Dominic Meyrick shouldn’t drink coffee. A little too much breathless hyperactivity from the stage creates a certain claustrophobia in the pit.

The key question from Dominic is, how do you see what someone means? It’s a great question – but unfortunately one that isn’t answered. As a lighting designer he is clearly excited by light. He’s also very excited too about how much cheaper artificial light is today than it was in the 18th Century, driving selfish consumption given that the days of starting work at dawn and finishing at dusk are by now a historical curiosity in the developed world. But he’s looking for a place where we can all agree that the lighting is good, an objective place of comfort. Again, another super proposition – that unfortunately isn’t resolved.

When presented with a picture of the offices of Boots in Nottingham from twenty years ago, we know that we are in a place that we can all agree is bad. Dim, dark satanic cubicles, loved only by journalists. But LED won’t save us and its ancestors are likely to slowly poison the planet. That’s because he maintains that lighting is a finish and not a service, which is interesting in an age of collaborative consumption where everything is supposedly becoming a service. But what’s most interesting is that I’m writing this but still have no idea what this is really about. We’re left with the conclusion that 99% of daylight design in buildings is rubbish. And that’s from a lighting designer – presumably within the 1%.

I imagine Dominic storming around in the savannah of his dreams, as a hungry man who has lost his doorkeys knowing there is a fresh pizza on the kitchen table. I offer to help, in the hope of calm.

Trevor Keeling helped too. We’ve got our first sporting analogy of the day, the data of football. He’s studied the windowless Morphosis Studio and its windcatchers in Culver City, USA. It’s okay, there is no link between the two, other than a tenuous suggestion of measurement. The project however looks amazing and it would have been good to have learned more. That’s because in buildings we can measure lots of stuff, but most of the focus has been on objective items like physiological comfort, but we can also measure less tangible things like occupant experience. Tim Oldman would be purring, as Leesman gets a huge plug.

We’re looking at pictures of offices, which I’ll wager most people are familiar with as it’s a workplace conference – including a picture of the Hub at Sky (which I worked on), before it was transformed from an agile space (small a) into an Agile Engineering centre. We have a nervous giggle about a whiteboard, because we actually all crave whiteboards. Pictures, graphs, pies, but I’m not sure why, I’m wondering whether this was the first time that Trevor had seen the slide deck.

When I considered an approach to live blogging today, I looked at dramatic structure as a way of organising the output. I’ve used the five-stage approach at a previous #wtrends, yet looked at where four had been used. Most of the references were to the traditional story – a beginning, middle and an end. It should be a golden rule of conference presenting: an idea or hypothesis with a reason for exploring it, some research or thought or analysis to challenge it, and a conclusion with some key takeaways and one or two suggestions for further enquiry to placate our shredded attention span.

Go on, tell me a story. I’m trying to catch the wind.


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