Lighting & Controls

The Merchandise Mart, Chicago

Wow Moment

A 2019 IES winner, the façade of Chicago’s Merchandise Mart, by Gwen Grossman, uses digital projection as a means to create stunning art on the massive 2.5-acre façade. Part of a curated “Art on the Mart” series, Grossman worked with Obscura and ETC’s Mosaic control system is the brain behind the illumination scheme.



The new WGD9 Wall Grazer is designed to be installed 3-in. into the ceiling to provide a wash of light along the wall without shadows or hot spots. Precision optics create a narrow 7-degree beam to enhance surface textures from ceiling to floor. Length can be specified in 1-ft. increments, and three color-temperature packages are available.


Slim Profile

The After 8 pendant features an ultra-streamlined profile fashioned from milled aluminum that’s only 0.1875-in. wide. It’s available in the ring form shown above, with direct/indirect light distribution, along with a linear version. Both feature power delivered over the suspension cable and multiple finish options. 

Griffin Halls of Evolving Planet, Field Museum, Chicago

Exhibit Puts T. Rex in New Light

Sue the T. Rex is the Lady Gaga of the dinosaur community. The magnificent murderbird—a favorite term to describe the T. Rex—has an often-hilarious Twitter feed, legions of adoring fans, and a brand new home in a 5000-sq.-ft. area at the Chicago Field Museum’s Griffin Halls of Evolving Planet. Following a three-month prototyping phase to show the curators how Sue would be lit in its new quarters, the design team at Lightswitch Chicago produced a meticulously cued av presentation worthy of the world’s most expensive—$8.7M—fossil.


Concentration at the Push of a Button

So, for all the talk of color tuning, does it exist? It does, but sometimes you have to go far afield, say Denmark, and the Herstedlund Primary School. There, after the bell rings, fourth-year students take their seats for the first lesson—not so different than schools around the world. However, when teachers in these classrooms flick the switch, a very different experience follows. Light, more like daylight, floods the classroom, creating a more pleasant atmosphere. Thanks to Zumtobel’s Active Lighting system, teachers have a choice of four pre-programmed lighting “moods,” in line with the precepts of human-centric lighting. In this case, dimmable, and color-tunable


Focus on People, Productivity

At Lightfair, Lutron launched its HXL platform to support human centric lighting, which according to the company, should promote comfort, enable enhanced well-being, and foster engagement. HXL combines four elements: quality light, natural light, connection to the outdoors and adaptive and personalized control. The system’s approach for addressing natural light, of course, is a combination that maximizes daylight with dynamic shading solutions, while also incorporating color tuning via its Ketra line. The company’s office of the future demo, which took visitors through the changing light in the course of a typical work day, was impressive. 

Noctambule LED Dimmable Pendant Light Tall Cylinders

They’re So Glassy

German industrial designer Konstantin Grcic created his Noctambule fixtures from basic modules of simple glass cylinders. The handblown modules can be combined to create chandeliers, pendants and table lamps, with LED lighting elements hidden away at the connection points.


A Long Way from Metal Halide

Another outstanding project from this year’s batch of IALD awards was the lighting design for the Scottish Parliament Debating Chamber in Edinburgh. By KSLD | EFLA Lighting Design, the soft light from new bespoke led fixtures lends a healthy glow to parliamentarians. Judges called these fixtures a “technically brilliant solution” as how to light a room that functions effectively as a TV studio and an accessible public space.The first step was eliminating the old metal-halide lights as they were expensive, difficult to maintain and obsolete. New HDTV cameras require upgraded lighting to meet broadcasting standards. With a mere six weeks to develop and install the lighti


Three Techs in One

Juno’s new AI Speaker Light with Alexa Built-In combines JBL speakers and Alexa voice-control technology with LED downlighting for truly connected lighting. The 6-in. standard fixture size is designed for both retrofit and new construction. A companion AI downlight without the speaker can be controlled by either the speaker fixture or other Amazon Echo devices. 

Eastlake Studio, Chicago

Blending Historic with Modern

Studio unites historic architecture and modern design for collaborative office space. Eastlake Studio was faced with adversity when plans to convert the building that had been their long-time residence to a hotel and condos became a reality. The studio had been residing in Chicago’s Tribune Tower, for approximately three decades. The change of vocation of the tower from commercial to mixed-use residential provided the architecture firm an opportunity to address the challenges of the former office while opting to move to another historic building. The limitations of the original office were motivators for designing the new space. According to Kevin Kamien, principal at Eastlake Studio,