Hong Kong roundup: Bullock walks on the wild side

Old Hong Kong bars bring to mind Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall's ventures in To Have and Have Not.

For reasons known only to me and the organisers of the VIP reception at Osram the other night, I wasn’t able to get a blog post done. But I feel better now, so let me tell you all about the rest of the day – insofar as I can remember it.

Cranking up for an early start

Friday morning started with an early visit to the fair for a ‘breakfast meeting’, or as we learned to call it . . . a ‘meeting’. As networking sessions go it was very productive and bowled along at a jolly pace. A couple of things really stood out:

I’ve been banging on to anyone who’ll listen that the next step for LED downlights and projectors is the adoption of lenses that can create more interesting (and relevant) light delivery for architectural lighting. So it was good to meet Guido Campadelli of Khatod, who’s doing just that. And he’ll be at LuxLive so this conversation will run and run.

 Guido Campadelli of Khatod is doing some remarkable things with LED downlights.

The smile of the session came from the LED GLD lamp with the touch-free motion sensor. A single sweep to switch on/off, a slow pass to dim/raise output, but an elegant piece of prestidigitation (a hand gesture that takes a bit of practice) changed the colour from warm to cool . . . a bit of human-centric business right there. Anyway, thanks for the sample lamp, guys

Back on the platform – hitting the performance vibe

The afternoon involved a trip across to the other lighting exhibition. Now, this is nothing like shifting between Olympia and Earls Court (of blessed memory); it’s more like transferring from Olympia to Excel. So, basically, it's a crazy, frustrating and  far from efficient journey (organisers please take note).

I had no choice because I’d agreed to talk on Trends in Lighting in the UK. Now, I have the e-mail that asked for a 25 minute presentation, so how did that get translated into a 15 minutue slot? I mean, I have problems saying hello in that short a time, let alone offer a discourse into the state of the UK lighting industry. Still, it went very well, and I did get an award for turning up.

John's well deserved award for turning up in Hong Kong.

And into Blade Runner territory

I thought I was in for a quiet evening until I checked my diary and found a special invitation to an Osram VIP reception in Hong Kong Central lurking amid the well thumbed-pages. My guide to Hong Kong describes Lan Kwai Fong as ‘packed with revelers on a Friday night', which doesn’t exactly fill a person with joy when you happen to be in one of the most densely  populated areas in the world.

Despite temperatures edging 30 degrees and the sort of humidity that can bring on trenchfoot, I decided to take a walk through the district, taking in the iconic architecture of IM Pei and Norman Foster and I only got lost just one time.

Arriving at the venue in a state of advanced saturation I decided the best thing to do was to dry off in a local bar. Felfela offers Middle Eastern and Egyptian cuisine – and sells Mexican beer. The atmosphere was pure To Have and Have Not – which is why my head was full of Hoagy Carmichael’s Hong Kong Blues. The film is set in Martinique, so that’s all right, then. A true internationalist, me.

Floaty materials and German folk tales...always a recipe for an interesting evening.

Thanks are due to the local Osram office for organising a busy and friendly event, but I was left wondering whether I’d been drawn into the enhanced colour saturation marketing puff. This is what happened. The lighting demonstrations were based on German folk tales . . grim. Hah! Sorry, a cheap shot, both unworthy and unkind. One of the displays had lots of coloured materials, all floaty and free. Osram doesn’t do an enhanced colour saturation LED as far as I know and the demonstration was perfectly acceptable . . . except that I wanted more. I felt that illogical yearning for colours that weren’t there. Ingrate that I am.

At a delicate point in proceedings I made my excuses and left, as the old saw has it; it was either that or forget how to get back to my hotel. As predicted Lan Kwai Fong was packed with revellers.

 The Lan Kwai Fong district of Hong Kong packed with people on a Friday night. 

What happened today?

There was a definite thread running through all the conversations that I had with friends and acquaintances in Hong Kong, to the extent that the topic may become a major thread on LinkedIn and feature on Lux Review. It’s called ‘How do we know if any of this stuff is any good?’

And for now, I’ll leave it at that. But watch this space.