Case study: Retrofitting office space to meet lighting goals

A corporate headquarters lighting retrofit included architectural lighting and lighting controls

By Richard Vedvik November 22, 2021
Courtesy: Christopher Barrett Photography, IMEG

User-centered architectural lighting design was a critical component of an entire building interior fit-out to relocate a Chicago area company’s corporate  headquarters and research and development engineering labs. 

IMEG provided full engineering and lighting design for the complex renovation, which consisted of six stories of office, conference, lab space, network operations center and retail experience center, along with a full cafeteria and commercial kitchen. Renovations and upgrades of base building systems to provide greater efficiency and reliability for the 25-year-old building were completed in tandem with the interior design work with no impact to the project schedule. Payback analysis of upgrade options were provided to the owner to make an informed choice. 

The lighting was designed to marry goals, innovation, productivity and comfort while balancing budget as well as sustainability. LED lamp sources were selected to minimize energy use and maintenance while remaining cost effective.  

Figure 6: Employees can use the control system to select the color of light in the decorative luminaires of the cafeteria and break rooms. Courtesy: Christopher Barrett Photography, IMEG

The control system included a mixed protocol of digital multiplex to support the color changing, digital addressable lighting interface integrated with audiovisual in specialized spaces and a more traditional dimming relay system in other areas. This system not only bridged a variety of protocols but also worked in conjunction with the AV system and shading to create one highly functional yet simple-to-use system that will repay the company in energy savings and an enhanced user experience. 

The lighting within the work environment was crafted to provide a space that is equally creative, productive and enjoyable. Within the open offices, an asymmetric lighting layout creates interest while collaborative work areas in each corner are marked with clusters of decorative ring pendants. Inside the network operations center an innovative indirect recessed lighting solution allows for even illumination while minimizing glare at the users’ workstations.  

Small group huddle rooms, conference rooms, multipurpose rooms, video conferencing spaces and a tiered learning studio have specialized lighting to enhance the user experience. The cafeteria and central employee break rooms on each level have been designed to enhance team building and creativity. In each of these areas, employees can use the control system to select the color of light in the decorative luminaires. 

The creative solutions extend from the employee areas to the retail experience center, which includes a theater, conference room and retail zone. The all-LED lighting and controls showcase the forward-thinking nature of the company’s culture and create an environment where the outside world falls away and clients move from one experience to the next while remaining in high-design comfort. 

Author Bio: Richard Vedvik is a senior electrical engineer and acoustics engineer at IMEG Corp. Vedvik has experience in the health care, education, commercial and government sectors. He is a member of the Consulting-Specifying Engineer editorial advisory board.