Architectural firm headquarters serves as living lab for sleek SSL design

June 24, 2021
LPA Design Studios sought to use a new headquarters to demonstrate innovations in architectural design with an open concept, natural light, and minimalist LED fixtures.

A-Light, an Acuity Brand, has revealed innovative usage of products in its Apex and Accoled portfolios within a new headquarters for the LPA Design Studios architectural firm. The firm designed and equipped the new headquarters to showcase modern architectural concepts and a balanced mix of natural light and sublime LED-based fixtures essentially hidden in plain sight. The solid-state lighting (SSL) project was challenging in the open-concept space with expanses of high ceilings and unique geographical lines.

There’s and old saying that suggests you should practice what you preach. And something to that effect was in play in the headquarters architectural and lighting design. “We designed the new space as a living laboratory for sustainability and wellness in the workplace,” said Rebecca Ceballos, project designer at LPA. “We can walk our clients through and introduce them to real examples of innovation to utilize in their upcoming projects.”

Wellness of course goes beyond lighting and can be especially challenging in large open offices with a lot of collaborative workspaces. For starters, acoustics can be an issue. We covered a Texas office project a couple of years back where luminaires were installed that featured acoustic dampening properties.

In the LPA project located in Irvine, CA, a relatively-large collaborative space called Colab 3 was a challenge (see nearby image). The design uses a localized lower ceiling structure covered with waffled acoustic material, and also felt-covered walls to enable employees and visitors to communicate without interference from the surrounding open areas of the office. Such acoustic design practices are part of the WELL Building Initiative that sets requirements for healthy spaces.

Quality lighting is also critical for healthy spaces and access to some natural light is always good. The LPA Colab 3 space was set near floor to ceiling windows. The space required artificial lighting for balance, yet the designers wanted no glare and luminaires that melded into the ceiling. The team installed six linear APEX APX3 luminaires that are low-profile linear fixtures that uses a linear set of cells that each host LEDs. But the optical design yields a narrowly-focused rectangle of task light.

The luminaire design limits the beam pattern to 55°. Not only do people walking by have a glare-free experience, but they really don’t even sense that lights are on in the space. “There is absolutely no glare, and it makes the ceiling so quiet,” said Ceballos. “You can’t even tell the light is on until you are directly underneath it. It is exactly what we wanted for this space.”

The entry to the Colab 3 space and other portions of the open office are lit far more boldly with Accoled ACL5 luminaires. But even those fixtures are recessed in drop ceilings or walls. For example, the linear luminaires are used in a rectangular pattern mounted in walls and set against a red background to define the entry into the Colab 3 space.

The Accoled luminaires are also recessed in a drop ceiling to frame the lobby area with a large rectangular installation. The products provide sufficient light levels for typical lobby traffic and business activity. The Accoled fixtures were equipped with a diffused acrylic lens, a technology A-Light calls HE Tech. That optic makes the luminaire surface very uniform and also delivers uniformity throughout the beam.

It’s certainly a trend in office spaces to minimize task lighting and also to make the fixtures disappear in open spaces. That disappearing act would simply not be possible using legacy sources. Back at the beginning of the year, we wrote about another A-Light project in a credit union building where similar effects were achieved.

LEDs Magazine chief editor MAURY WRIGHT is an electronics engineer turned technology journalist, who has focused specifically on the LED & Lighting industry for the past decade.

A-Light has been named a finalist in our 2021 Sapphire Awards program for an indoor luminaire design. See who else made the shortlist and register to attend the virtual Strategies in Light event to cheer on the winners on Aug. 24, 2021.

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