An interior design’s success is dependent on how it is lit. Identical finishes lit in two ways will appear totally different. r.o.i. Design has been asked to create initial lighting plans more frequently in the last two years than ever before. There is a growing understanding that the selection of finishes works hand in hand with the lighting.
Our design criteria for lighting is emerging as we increase our understanding of LED (Light Emitting Diodes) and the opportunities to customize decorative fixtures and interior architecture using LED.
Our success in lighting design has been based on some
Different types of spaces need different lighting effects and light levels
For people to feel comfortable in an office space, lighting should reflect nature in that 1/3 of the light is direct, 1/3 of the light is indirect and 1/3 of the light is reflective. Taking natural light (or the lack of) into account is critical.
In a retail space, it is important to direct the eye by creating a greater variety of light levels from walkways to displays and to checkouts. Retail lighting is more theatrical and uses hot-spots to direct customer attention to merchandise and wayfinding.
In a restaurant and hospitality setting, customer transaction areas need to be well lit but customers are comfortable with a more dim environment. It is common for wall art, displays, and perimeters to have brighter accents.
For a professional medical space, waiting and nonmedical spaces need to have different levels of light and different options of light levels for patients to choose what makes them comfortable, while the surgical and medical spaces tend to be more consistently “bright”.
Using decorative and custom light fixtures to enhance brand
or design scheme is well accepted
Decorative fixtures add to the décor, but also add interest and in many cases “ease” the user.
Lights need to be experienced at a variety of levels and locations within a space. Occupants aren’t comfortable with a light source that is close to their reach if it’s just a square box of emitting light. We like the light closest to us to be friendlier and have character.
LED lighting is very flexible, and almost anything can become a light fixture; an object that holds a light, expands the light or just carries the light. This could be a reception desk, a cove, a pane of glass, the reveal of a wall, a planter, or a decorative object.
Exploring the opportunities in color temperature and light levels
Behavior is impacted by light, and in the case of LED lighting the color temperature and intensity of light has specific effects on people.
Giving users options to use all or none of the lighting in an office space has been proving to create employee satisfaction.
At r.o.i. Design, we like to stay on top of new products and current trends in the design world. One important way that we do this is by attending design shows to see these new products and trends firsthand. This spring, we attended two major design shows, International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) in New York City and NeoCon in Chicago. Read on to learn more about we saw and discovered.
ICFF, New York City
Thirty years ago this show started as an international furniture show, introducing new ideas and new materials for furniture. But today it is not limited to furniture. They describe themselves as North American’s platform for global design, showcasing the newest frontier of what’s best and what’s next. ICFF NYC hosts more than 800 exhibitors from more than 40 countries in 11 categories from furniture to materials to kitchen and bath to fabricators.
r.o.i. Design spent a day at the show and came away with a couple of observations. LED lighting promotes creativity in all product design, but the decorative lighting designs were breathtaking. A couple of memorable showcases were Featherbeams decorative faux trusses and metalwork, Puff Buff Design, LED lights in vinyl bubbles that are shipped unassembled from Poland, and Knuckles and Other Good Joints, beautiful metal joinery that promotes custom table designs.
ICFF is part of Design Week in NYC and the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum was part of the Design Week agenda. They were featuring two major exhibits, “Access+Ability” and “Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color”.
“Access+Ability” is an exposition of product designs that enable humans to freely engage with their environment. There has been a surge of design with and by people with a wide range of physical, cognitive, and sensory abilities. Fueled by advances in research, technology, and fabrication, this proliferation of functional, life-enhancing products is creating unprecedented access in homes, schools, workplaces, and the world at large. “Access+Ability” features over 70 innovative designs developed in the last decade.
The second exhibit, “Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color” explores the elusive, complex phenomenon of color perception and how it has captivated artists, designers, scientists, and sages. Featuring over 190 objects spanning antiquity to the present from the extraordinary collections of Smithsonian Libraries and Cooper Hewitt, the exhibition reveals how designers apply the theories of the world’s greatest color thinkers to bring order and excitement to the visual world.
NeoCon 2018, Chicago
We took a day trip to Chicago again this year to attend NeoCon. This year marked the 50th annual Neocon! While the six-plus hours on the road (round-trip) made for a long, hurried day, we still enjoyed the opportunity to see what is new in the world of commercial furnishings.
As usual, NeoCon was crowded with industry professionals on six floors of the Merchandise Mart. Some floors are occupied by the permanent showrooms of larger established manufacturers of furniture, textiles, carpet, and wallcovering. Other floors are full of booths represented by smaller groups and some newcomers. Large or small, many of these exhibitors have something unique, exciting, or just plain beautiful to introduce each year. This year was no exception, as we saw many items to whet our designer appetite.
Here are some of the trends and cool stuff we saw at NeoCon this year.
The styles and colors of the late-midcentury modern style are coming back in retro full-force. This style is super-chic right now in the commercial office industry. Of course, these styles are updated to today’s standards of technology, sustainability, and environmental quality.
Intricate and complex geometric patterns are trending. We saw a lot of these tessellations in fabrics, wall panels, and even light fixtures at this year’s NeoCon.
Adjustable Desks – This trend actually took off a few years ago, but it was interesting to see how almost everyone has adjustable height workstations now. There are some great designs out there. Heck, even r.o.i. Design created custom adjustable desks recently for one of our clients!
We noticed a lot of furniture now features natural wood paired up with powder-coated metals. When past trends in furniture were all wood or no wood at all, these new designs seem to strike a balance between the two.
The LED lamp is fairly new to the market and consumers. Saving energy was part of their creation and one of the reasons we specify them. Initially we looked at lumen output as compared to an incandescent or fluorescent lamp. For example, a 100W incandescent, a 23W fluorescent and an 18W LED all are about 1600 lumens.
Lumens are still important to calculate, but now, as specifiers, we are looking at color not in temperature, like Kelvin, but CRI: Color Rendering Index. LED blands out colors. We want a high quality of 82 CRI at minimum. The majority of CRI is R1—R8 pastel colors. LED’s with a high R9 (red content) show better color quality. This is especially important in retail, healthcare (visibility of blood veins), grocery and art displays.
We are told LED’s will last 25 years! But during this time the lumens diminish and so does the color rendering. Your closet full of nice, white dress shirts were once bright white but as time goes on they will look dinged. An LED should have a minimum of 50,000 hours of life. Better thermal management results in a longer life. Look for LED’s with L70 or better light output and 82 CRI minimum.
Look at lighting as a true value to your environment. r.o.i. = more than saving energy.
Information from the Crites, Tidey and Associates Lighting Forum XVI on September 15th and 16th.