The “ahh factor” is a desirable occurrence in the lighting business.
Garnering an awe-struck reaction is challenging anytime, but especially
in the epicenter of downtown Chicago, at the vibrant intersection of State
and Madison, home to so many of the city’s iconic landmarks.
There, on the 13th floor of a century century old office building at 17
N. State Street, visitors enter the Lighting Education Center expecting
to see new and innovative lighting products and technologies offered by
the Center’s owner, KSA Lighting.
Sharon Olsen, KSA Lighting’s Specification Sales Specialist and lighting
designer for the space, is eager to get them “aah-ing.” “Everybody who
works here is in sales, and we want to show off the best new fixtures
available in the lighting industry,” said Olsen. “We want to provide an
aesthetic and emotional feel that grabs our clients’ attention.”
Thirty miles away, in suburban Hanover Park, Olsen has a similar goal
for KSA Lighting’s corporate headquarters. There, the company is converting
a portion of its expansive warehouse space into new offices for its 60+
staffers. As with the Lighting Education Center, the corporate offices
must evoke an emotion illustrating that KSA Lighting practices what it
preaches – that the company is a leader in lighting innovation, energy
conservation and value.
Added Olsen: “In lighting, look and feel is important. For both locations,
we had to have lighting with a dramatic look and feel that people are drawn
to immediately, especially when you first enter.”
With literally dozens upon dozens of lighting fixtures to choose from, Olsen
and KSA Lighting chose to light the entrance corridors and reception spaces
at both locations with Revel, one of four OLED product families offered by
Acuity’s Winona brand.
Light, small and versatile, OLED is an ideal candidate for delivering
customized lighting solutions. By removing the need for grid-like layouts,
OLED can place light at the points where it is most needed or desired –
while still achieving extraordinary energy savings.
For KSA Lighting, OLED in general and Revel in particular inspired a
lighting design that evokes a feeling of inner tranquility and strength,
thanks to a unique and spectacular form factor that was sure to make the
“ahh effect” a reality.
At the Lighting Education Center, Revel fixtures (with manual and preset
dimming controls) were installed right past the space’s entry point, along
a corridor. Previous ceiling-based track and down lighting were replaced,
and only the OLEDs were used to light the area – with Revel fixtures
positioned so that they soar along the 8 Â½-foot ceiling and adjoining
“The first thing I noticed is that the Revel OLEDs give off such a warm
feeling. Nothing harsh, no glare or excessive brightness,” recalled Olsen.
Similarly, at the new 30,000-square-foot office space in KSA Lighting
headquarters, Olsen designed the bird-like, five-panel Revel OLEDs to
“weave in and out of spaces” throughout the office corridors “where
everyone can see them. I didn’t want to stick them in a room that
people can’t see. They have such a positive impact on our employees
without windows, giving them the emotional boost from lighting that
resembles natural light.”
While the aesthetic effect is obvious from one glance, Revel OLEDs also
generate more tangible benefits in the form of energy efficiency and
utility savings. According to Acuity Brands calculations, OLEDs yield
higher application efficiency over conventional lighting – by 18 to
93 percent. Based on panel efficacy of 60 lumens per Watt, OLED energy
savings of 16 to 41 percent is possible.
Olsen noted that while the aesthetic value is immediately dramatic, she
encourages her clients to also take into consideration that "these OLEDs
can save energy over standard lighting products. That’s a huge advantage
over other lighting options. Plus, the cost of these luminaires has come
down dramatically over the past six months. These wonderful products are
much more affordable and easy to install than many clients think."
With respect to the installation in Chicago, KSA Lighting replaced 138
total watts of LED track heads with 100 total watts of OLED fixtures.
KSA was able to reduce energy consumption while maintaining 0.89 W/ft2,
which meets the ASHRAE 90.1 2013 space-by-space allowance of 0.90 W/ft2
for a lobby space. This design not only meets requirements for lighting
power density, but also achieves the appropriate amount of highly com-
fortable illumination. Olsen continues: “Of course, lighting is much
more than simply achieving minimum performance standards. It’s really
about the people in the space.”
Once the Revel fixtures were installed, the response was immediate –
and the impact exactly what Olsen had hoped.
In each location, visitors “would literally stop and stare. They say
how different it is, and ask how it works. They’re very curious, and
want to touch it.”
The Revel OLEDs are more than showpieces, Olsen emphasized, as she
has also begun to sell the fixtures as a lighting solution for some
of her more contemporary and stylish customers. In her view, the
ideal candidate for an OLED installation is a higher-end commercial
customer, perhaps in health care or with a modern office space.
“For people who are cutting edge and like a different look, Revel
OLEDs are perfect,” she added. “You know, the guy or gal who stood
in line for hours to buy the first iPhone or Blue-Ray.”