Focus: Project - Backdrop to creativity


Award-winning scheme for RG/A, by Tillotson Design, marries the commonplace with the cutting-edge


All Images: John Muggenborg

The light fittings have become more svelte, the designs more stylish, but ultimately office interiors are dominated by the linear fitting or, in less imaginative climes, the recessed 600 sq mm modular fitting. Nowadays the source is less likely to be fluorescent as LEDs become the default choice, and the luminaires are more streamlined and elegant as a result. There are also those decorative lamps bringing a convivial domesticity to the break-out and coffee areas. But when it comes to the workaday spaces, ceiling-based linearity is generally the order of the day.

There is a facility to override the system to incorporate colour and alternative programmes for special eventsThere is a facility to override the system to incorporate colour and alternative programmes for special events

Not at American ad agency R/GA in New York. Against a simple white interior, the aim was ‘to paint the backdrop for creativity to thrive’ and that has extended to thinking outside of the box for the choice of luminaire, predominantly clusters of customised LED Par 38 fittings. Each coffer in the waffle-slab ceiling is uplit with a retrofit Par 38, with 10,000 lamps bundled into groups of four, an arrangement repeated on multiple floors in the 19,000 sq m space. The RGB LEDs allow both white light tunability and coloured light settings. ‘A simple, yet elegant, solution was conceived,’ says lighting designer Tillotson. ‘The design sought out cutting-edge technology that has countless dynamic effects, but is housed in common modular equipment.’

There is a facility to override the system to incorporate colour and alternative programmes for special eventsThere is a facility to override the system to incorporate colour and alternative programmes for special events

A DMX control system communicates wirelessly to each zone of lamps through an area network. The system mimics natural rhythms throughout the day, shifting from a colour temperature of 2700K in the mornings, through to 4000K at noon and gradually back to a warmer temperature in the evening. There is also a facility to override the system to incorporate colour and alternative programmes for special events. Lighting can also be used as an indicator of occupancy and/or space. ‘The Par 38 lamp employed is humble in form, but powerful in impact,’ says Tillotson.

There is a facility to override the system to incorporate colour and alternative programmes for special eventsThere is a facility to override the system to incorporate colour and alternative programmes for special events

‘This complex lamp married with a clean, simple socket strikes a fine balance. The lighting solution is both forward thinking, yet quotidian in spirit.’

Some linear LED fittings have been allowed in. The open office space is interrupted by conference ‘huddles’, each lit from above using direct linear LED fixtures that backlight the polycarbonate perimeter panels and provide ambient light to each room that matches the overall colour temperature throughout the day.

There is a facility to override the system to incorporate colour and alternative programmes for special eventsThere is a facility to override the system to incorporate colour and alternative programmes for special events

One of the elements that makes the scheme successful is the attention paid to achieve the best colour temperature and colour rendering possible with careful orchestration of the LEDs themselves. ‘The proprietary technology uses a variety of LED diodes to tune and perfect colour combinations,’ says Tillotson. ‘Shades across CIE colour space are produced with astounding colour rendering capability. Colours are both vivid and complex because they are derived from a rich combination of sources.

Multiple shadows are eliminated because the light has been blended to perfection. The result is beautiful light with a single clean shadow.’





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