Envision Lighting Design recently received a St. Louis Section Award and an IES Award of Merit for the lighting design at the Stephen and Peter Sachs Museum at the Missouri Botanical Garden. The project inspired these thoughts from our Founding Principal, Lisa J. Reed:
Oh, if these walls could speak…
These walls, built in 1859…
Would they tell you about the 60,000 plant specimens Henry Shaw housed here, and then would they go quiet, remembering when Shaw’s body lay in state here?
If these walls could speak, would they brag about when they were a film studio, or would they gossip about the conversations overheard when this was a restaurant?
If these walls could speak, would they tell you how lonely it was to stand empty for three decades, or would they just be excited about the architects and lighting designers who finally started coming around, doing mock-up after mock-up to get the color and distribution just right on the ceiling mural?
Would they tell you about the artist painstakingly tracing every line of the ceiling mural onto mylar – then taking a sample light fixture back to her studio to recreate the mural under the same light that would eventually illuminate it?
These walls never spoke.
But one day, they LOOKED at us. The contractor had started demolition work, and there – right above the first hole in the demolished plaster ceiling – was a FACE, looking back at him. You see, this room, which had been destined to be a simple space with gypboard ceilings, recessed cans, and some track lights, had three hidden frescoes painted on forgotten arched ceilings! They were portraits of Henry Shaw’s friends and heroes. This room had to be redesigned quickly; the faces had to be illuminated; and (of course) there was nowhere to mount the luminaires.
Every good project has a story. This project had so many. Similarly, every good project has a whole team of people who worked to make it good. I want to thank the client Missouri Botanical Garden, the designers (and our client) at Christner, I have to mention the incredible support we got from Charlie and David and everyone at St. Louis Lighting Group, and of course kudos go to the entire Envision Lighting Design team for this one.
Now, let me just encourage you…
Next time you are at the Missouri Botanical Garden walking past this quiet historic museum building, take the time to go inside to see its surprising interior and maybe,
Just maybe…these walls…will speak…to you.
For the third summer, we have enjoyed having our intern, Aaron Reed, working with the ELD team. This summer, he applied for the IES St. Louis Section Scholarship, and we are pleased to announce that he is a scholarship winner. Thank you to the St. Louis Section, and congratulations to Aaron!
See below for Aaron's winning essay.
Basically what I'm trying to say is I have been around the world of lighting my entire life."
I attended my first IES meeting when I was 18 days old. It was black and white night at the Los Angeles Lumen West Awards event and I was wearing black and white stripes. All I remember was my grandma holding me up when they asked everyone to stand up who dressed up for the event. (Okay, I don’t actually remember any of it. These are just the stories I’ve heard.) When I was eight, I sat in the corner during the St. Louis IES illumination awards judging, listening pensively, plotting my own award winning design. I have now been an intern at Envision Lighting Design for the past three summers. Basically, what I’m trying to say is I have been around the world of lighting my entire life. During this time I have learned an absurd amount about light and lighting design. Light is one of the most overlooked things in our daily lives. It is all around us in many different forms and is one of the most important ways we interact with the world around us. There are different wavelengths of light which we have called colors, artificial light created by releasing energy in the form of photons, and the natural sun and moon light that make our world turn. Yet no one really takes a moment to stop and appreciate this wonderful thing. Before we had figured out how to harness the power of light, humans were at a standstill of innovation. We were limited by the twelve hours of sunlight, this being the only time someone could see or make anything. Then in 1879, Thomas Edison produced the first electric light, forever changing the course of humanity. The number of productive hours had essentially doubled as people could now work and create throughout the night. It’s tough to imagine what life would have been like had the electric light never been discovered. It would surely not be as great as it is today. Today, innovations in light are continuing to affect all of us. A lot of people don’t know that lighting affects us medically. We all have a thing called circadian rhythm which is our sleep/wake cycle. The light around us can have a major impact on this rhythm and can be instrumental to our health. One of the most common ways our brains are affected by light is from our phone and computer screens. The large amount of blue light emitted from these screens can make it more difficult to fall asleep. We will surely continue to find new ways light affects us as more innovations are made. It’s easy to overlook the importance of light, but it has a profound impact on all of our lives.
Before...I thought lighting design was just installing a light bulb in a room. Now I know it is so much more than that."
Lighting has had a personal impact on my own life. I have interned at the world-renowned lighting design firm, Envision Lighting Design, for the past three summers. This experience has helped me in ways I couldn’t have imagined. It has given me a look into the professional world; I’ve discovered how lighting design works, and I’ve learned many useful skills. Being able to have a close look at how a business really runs is one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned. I now realize there are an unthinkable amount of factors in making decisions and an unbelievable amount of decisions to be made. It has shown me how important communication is in the workplace. It seems like most of what is done in the office is talking with architects and distributors, or networking to try to get new projects. While interning at ELD I have been given the opportunity to solve real life problems with light. Before I got my valuable experience at ELD I thought lighting design was just installing a light bulb in a room. Now I know it is so much more than that. I have learned about things like color temperature, CRI, beam spread, and luminosity, and how they can be changed to meet your design goals. I have also learned all about the design process. Seeing the space, figuring out constraints, meeting the budget, making it look good, and then finding out they decreased the budget. I have also been able to learn many useful skills like how to build a website, a computer, and how to use Revit and AGI.
Just having people more aware of light around them will lead to better, more intentional lighting."
While I don’t know exactly what I want to major in I know good lighting will certainly play a significant role in the rest of my life. If nothing else, I will always be an advocate of a high standard of lighting. I and my family have contributed a great deal to the lighting world. My mom has been a lighting designer her entire professional career and has served on many IES committees. Her volunteer work for the community even goes beyond the IES panels; she has given many different speeches and has taught others about light and lighting design. She always tries to provide the highest quality lighting at the lowest cost. My dad works for an electrical distributor, Graybar, which is also an integral part of the lighting world. I have worked with a lighting design business and have gained the experience to know what good lighting is. I hope I can take this experience and apply it to the real world no matter what career path I go into. I am attending the Missouri University of S&T in the fall and plan on studying some kind of engineering. I want people to be able to understand the significance of light and how much it affects our lives. Just having people more aware of light around them will lead to better, more intentional lighting.
It's back to school time, so naturally I'm putting together an educational seminar on the basics of color in lighting. Education = school; color -> crayons - > school supplies! Are you with me? Too much of a stretch?
Regardless, the presentation is called the Invisible Rainbow. There are a lot of people saying a lot of things about light and color. Some of them are lighting professionals. Some aren't. But lighting seems to be all the rage lately - from the American Medical Association's 2016 statement about the color of our LED street lights to the Illuminating Engineering Society's 2017 response. The purpose of this presentation is to help people understand the difference between color temperature and the color spectrum of a white light source. My co-presenter will be there to help people understand the difference between color metrics like CRI and TM-30.
We will not be telling you how to reset your circadian clock or eliminate obesity through lighting. (Bummer, I know!) But we will be defining all the parts and pieces you need to understand when you participate in today's light and health conversations as it pertains to color.
I hope you'll join us at one of the following sessions:
Lightshow West, Los Angeles, October 11
,LED Specifier Summit, Chicago, November 14
I woke up yesterday morning with a painfully dry right eye. I couldn't open my eye without pain for the first few hours of the morning. It felt like the inside of my eyelid was made of sandpaper. I couldn't drive. I couldn't work. I used a warm compress and way too many re-wetting drops on my eye. Finally, by about 8:30 a.m., I could function. Barely. But even several hours after that my eye was puffy and uncomfortable.
Isn't it amazing how little things make such a big difference in our energy and productivity?
How much more productivity and energy is being zapped by bad lighting? People who sit under bad lighting often describe it as "draining" or feel like it is "sucking the life" out of them. Light has a profound impact on people, so it is worth the time, energy, and cost to get it right. If a little thing like one painful eye nearly derailed my whole day, how much more is flicker, glare, poor color quality lighting affecting the entire workforce? Bad lighting can derail us all.
At Envision Lighting Design, we are on a mission to make every day better by bringing quality light to your world!
Your project has a budget. Maybe it's a tight budget. (Let's face it, it is always a tight budget.) You can't afford a lighting designer, right? Not so fast...
There seems to be a perception that a lighting designer is a project luxury. Why?
Every project has a budget. Even though you may have to bite a bullet to pay a design fee up front, you should think of that fee as part of the overall lighting budget. Whatever total dollar amount you have in the bucket to pay for lighting - tell your lighting designer. They can design to that budget, including their fee! With this model, you have the added transparency of knowing exactly what part of your money went to design costs and what part went to product costs. Design costs aren't hidden in the cost of light fixtures sold to you.
Remember, no one is designing lighting for free. They may offer "free" design, but the cost of their service is wrapped up in the cost of the products they are selling.
A lighting designer will be there from start to finish of project, solving any problems that arise along the way, keeping costs in control by knowing product prices and preventing unnecessary overages, keeping change orders in check by being your advocate during construction. Lighting designers are worth their fees in gold. They know which products perform best and at what cost. They design more efficient solutions that save you money - initially or over the life cycle of the product. They inform you of rebates and tax deductions you can use to help pay for your project. Remember, no one is designing lighting for free. They may offer "free" design, but the cost of their service is wrapped up in the cost of the products they are selling. The only product an independent lighting designer is selling is the best solution for your project. Don't you want someone with your best interest in mind?
You'll be hearing a lot about the super moon today, because the moon is closer to Earth than it has been in almost 69 years. At 14%, it won't look a whole lot bigger, though. "Super-sized" is not what comes to mind...more like "oh yeah, I can see how that kind of looks bigger." The most noticeable thing when we checked it out last night was that it seemed WAY brighter. The shadows caused by the moon last night were super crisp and sharp. My kids initially thought the shadows were being caused by some electric light and they were awestruck to learn they were created by the moon. (Then again, this could just be because we don't spend enough time outside at night.)
Illuminance at a point can be simply calculated as a function of luminous intensity divided by distance squared. So the illuminance on the surface of the earth will vary inversely with the square of the distance from the moon. The equation is E=I/d^2. What exactly does this mean? The amount of light that reaches us is not a straight relationship with our distance from the moon. The light is doubly-impacted by the distance. Do you think you can tell the difference? Check it out tonight and let us know!
Lighting has always been a load of fun for me. This week we had fun attending a nighttime product demo. It was a great time getting together with others in the industry to eat, drink, talk, and learn. The evening was capped off with a short walk to a church where some powerful color-changing LED fixtures were on display - illuminating the church's tower and steeple.
That's when the evening went from just fun to totally amazing.
A woman who lived in the neighborhood came outside to talk to us. She began to share - through tears - that seeing the light on the church had given her hope when she had none. (This has been a really rough week for many people.)
Light. Brought. Hope.
Let that sink in for a minute...
As lighting designers, we are working in a medium that is so powerful. When we are designing, we have an awesome responsibility and opportunity at our fingertips. Light is a tool that can build bridges and bring people together. It can make us smile. It can give us hope.
We are not just here to make sure there are plenty of footcandles on the desk. That part of our job is just dandy, and we can do it really, really well.
But what drives the Envision Lighting Design team is our knowledge and understanding of how important light really is!
Sunrise - we love sunrise because it signals a fresh start; a clean slate; newness; a brand new chance to begin again.
Like a new year
and new life
and a fresh new notebook
and the first day of summer vacation.
We love beginnings.
Envision Lighting Design welcomes Philip Atkinson to the team!
Watch for an "official" announcement soon!
I just came across this New York Times article about the 24/7 work culture in service industries. Lighting design most definitely falls into this category of professions beholden to the whims of the client.
At Envision Lighting Design, we strive to build a culture that will work both for our team and our clients.
Enlighten: Learn. Forget your preconceived notions. Ban assumptions.
Enhance: Improve. Make it better. Be solutions-oriented.
Enjoy: Have fun. Love the process. Love the final product.
Lisa J. Reed, lighting designer and Principal at Envision Lighting Design, LLC