In the Spotlight this month is Kaoru Mende, FIALD, Mari Kobota, Associate IALD, and Mikine Yamamoto, Associate IALD, of Lighting Planners Associates, IALD member winners of an IALD Award of Merit + Sustainability in Lighting Design at the 33rd Annual IALD International Lighting Design Awards.

The main feature of this two story multi-use facility is an open-floor, open-shelf reading room with large, suspended, umbrella-shaped “globes” that gently divide the space, incorporate daylight, and circulate air. The lighting design concept from Lighting Planners Associates aimed to create the illusion of being in a forest, connecting the visitor to nature through the lighting environment, while reducing primary consumption of energy by 50%.

Each hanging globe features a unique design, glowing beneath the gently rolling timber ceiling. Additional lighting includes daylighting, sphere and ring pendants in the globes, and disk-shaped pendants. The placement of task lighting near the globes gives the space vibrancy and coherence.

During the day, daylight is diffused from top lights creating a comfortable space with minimal energy use. When cloudy, the system can still secure 300-700 lux; but if needed, daylight sensors are activated and ring-shaped pendant uplights and manual task lighting supplement the area for 400 lux on the table tops. Throughout the design, varying combinations of temperature, humidity, and brightness create heterogenous spaces. This variance actually reduces the amount of energy needed to control and regulate the structure.

“This innovative approach to bringing daylight into the interior space allows for a tight integration of lighting with the architecture and interior design, and creates a great symbiosis of light and form,” one judge praised.

Disk-shaped, glareless downlights are wired together in several small groups, allowing the electric light to dim and reduce as daylight moves through the space. Task lighting is integrated into custom-designed furniture throughout the space. Where necessary, localized spotlights and pendants supplement ambient light at the first floor, adding sharpness to the area and reducing energy use.

“This project evokes a playfulness, a response to light and form, and a beautiful use of translucency and diffuse light,” another judge wrote. “A truly impeccable design.”

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