Case Study: BIÂN

March 17, 2024 Charlotte Dekker

“We can always count on eldoLED DALI drivers to maximize the experience in our designs with flawless, flicker-safe dimming down to low levels. The digital protocol provides us with the interoperability, reliability and flexibility we need with ongoing construction—all without compromising the light quality or adding cost.”  - Avraham Mor and Sean Murphy, Morlights

BIÂN | Chicago, Illinois (United States)

BIÂN’s lavish and design forward sanctuary is where social and wellness fuses into one. Its facility takes a holistic approach to health by seamlessly intertwining the best of eastern and western medicine. The center is comprised of a members-only social club, primary care physician, fitness centers, organic food and beverage program, holistic apothecary, acupuncturist and more. 

Residing on the north branch of the Chicago River, the landmarked Montgomery Ward Catalog Building hosted well-known former tenants such as Dyson and the Montgomery Ward catalog. It was time for BIÂN to expand its building, capitalize on its waterfront views and shine with a complementary and nurturing lighting scheme. The building owners hired Avraham Mor and Sean Murphy of Morlights to bring their lighting vision to life.   

Create ambient Lighting without Fixture Visibility  

Morlights took an indirect lighting approach to create a serene atmosphere. To do this, they integrated and concealed most luminaires within the ceiling throughout the general, medical and spa locations. This included deep recessed accent lights and spotlights from USAI and Focal Point using eldoLED SOLOdrive and Crestron DALI control. The basement had a wood slat ceiling that incorporated USAI Millwork downlights that disappeared as you looked across the ceiling.  

Using a digital controls protocol and eldoLED SOLOdrive provided reliability with color consistency across luminaires and promoted subtle lighting that accentuated the space and architecture. 

Emulate Nature amidst Budget Constraints  

BIÂN wanted to emphasize its holistic, connected and natural experience through its lighting. Morlights carefully crafted their lighting design around the windows, daylight and the waterfront views. Areas with natural light—such as the fitness center—used a variety of downlights, indirect recessed and wall grazers from USAI, Pinnacle Lighting and LF Illumination with eldoLED SOLOdrive. To emphasize continuity within the spas, stairs and yoga areas, they used a variety Luminii LED extrusions and wet LED fixtures with eldoLED LINEARdrive LED drivers and Crestron DALI controls. 

During construction, the building owners alerted Morlights of budget cuts. They had to scale back their tunable white efforts but continue to emphasize the flow within the space. With our DALI LED drivers, Morlights was able to adjust the light levels in locations with and without daylight and provide consistent colors throughout the space—requiring only one tunable white wall behind the bar with unit Luminii extrusions.  

The light quality, consistency and ambiance didn’t waiver due to the re-programmability of our drivers—even with a budget reduction. The tunable white wall using our signature LightShape Technology set the tone of natural and radiant luxury for the entire business. 

Accrue Cost Savings with digital Flexibility  

High voltage is very common in old warehouse buildings. The intention for the original lighting scheme was 120V distribution. When budgetary restraints ensued, Morlights needed to make some quick pivots.  

They took advantage of the flexibility of eldoLED drivers and the DALI digital protocol that supports a voltage range of 120V to 277V. This reduced more than half of the amount of circuitry needed. Additionally, there was minimal changes to the overall lighting scheme with specific attention to the decorative fixtures’ control.  

Leveraging eldoLED DALI LED drivers yielded huge cost-savings in the installation due to the reduction in the number of step-down transformers—ultimately lowering the infrastructure.  

Not only did Morlights help BIÂN help achieve their lighting goals of subtle ambiance, cost-effective lighting and flexible controls, they were also the only North American lighting design firm acknowledged in the 2021 DALI Lighting Awards. Their work on BIÂN was ‘highly commended’ in the (DiiA) DALI Lighting Awards 2021 Retail and Hospitality category.  

Photography: George Lambros

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