Open floor plans are hot in corporate environments. They also represent a challenge for lighting designers. With few physical features to delineate workspaces, light fixtures must help define each area, highlight task areas, and direct traffic, all while being unobtrusive and easily managed.
In planning for open space, lighting designers must consider the amount of available daylight and how to balance low-energy solutions with the uniformity of artificial light across the space. The best plans apply controls for lighting in zones, allowing for flexibility when office space needs to be reconfigured. Sensors allow electric lighting to respond to stimuli such as natural light levels and occupancy.
That’s how the lighting design team approached the open space challenge at architectural firm Perkins+Will’s 21,000-square-foot space at 2 Bryant Street on the San Francisco Embarcadero, prime real estate just beneath the Bay Bridge.
The design team laid out four primary areas for deploying lighting fixtures: an open office where the designers work; meeting spaces; a high-profile entry lobby; and several back-of-house rooms for copy, mail, supply, and storage.
The office has immense windows overlooking the water with enormous daylight potential, yet it still required a high number of fixtures. Ultimately, the design team chose our Bruno® LED luminaires by Peerless®, with integrated nLight® controls. When the California sun is shining and the shades are up, the lights dim down or turn off completely. When the San Francisco fog rolls in, lighting turns up. Bruno LED fixtures feature eldoLED® drivers that fully dim with no flicker.
Suspended and wall luminaires produce comfortable, glare-free illumination with built-in controls that allow for good output variation. They throw the light wide and far, allowing designers to space the fixtures out without jeopardizing uniformity. At the core of the office, the Bruno fixtures had to stretch through three programming and zoning areas—including across partitions set for breakout meetings—yet still function as a single unit. nLight controls help delineate the spaces and determine lighting across separate zones.
The building lobby features our Bruno Wall LED Softshine from Peerless and Evo® recessed downlights from Gotham®. The third-floor reception area, a focal point of the office, combines SLOT LED from Mark Architectural Lighting™ and a unique POPS pendant from Winona® Lighting. Corridors and storage areas are treated with brushed-aluminum Winona POPS pendants and ceiling-mounted Lithonia Lighting® LED luminaires, as well as Edge-lit exit signs with LED lamp.
For staff members, the new space’s uniform, clean look came with some variability that presented an adjustment period—some lights are on, some are off, and some are dimmed. If an employee stops by on a Saturday night, the lights turn on rapid-fire. If they pull down a shade, the light at the window turns on gradually.
Perkins+Will staff tour clients through the office regularly and the lighting is part of the narrative. Visitors are easily wowed by the gracious, sunlit space, with its open plan, high-performance features, and striking views of the San Francisco Bay.
The beauty is that the lighting doesn’t bring attention to itself. Good design has the ability to disappear.