Monday 06 Jun 2011


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The Nokia project is a true example of how the changing workplace and economy has evolved into a new expression of design, and a greater collaboration of ideas which respond to that change.

The new economy demands that projects work with substantially lower design fees as well as lighting fixture packages, requiring a much higher level of lighting design creativity. Here at Nokia, we saved money on a large percentage of space in order to thoughtfully splurge on feature areas. In addition to cost savings, the project saves energy and not only passes strict California title 24 code requirements, but exceeds it by 20% earning the project LEED Gold status.

This colorful and dynamic interior space allows the lighting to create the ambiance and set the tone of its occupants. It stirs emotions and expresses the unique architectural details and finishes. Additionally, this client was open-minded and driven by the desire for a unique identity, and trusted the team to create a space that is responsive to their directive of programming, image, branding and budget. Being from Finland, Nokia was receptive to northern European design and lighting approaches that possibly would be overlooked or deemed too eccentric for their American competitors.

The project scope required a balance of hospitality and high tech, both in the main entry and the lodge. The main entry's innovative 3" high x 48" x 24' suspension LED refractive disc pendants were custom designed Sensitile panels with high intensity LEDs shooting through them to add sparkle into the cross cut acrylic. It was the perfect quality of light and sparkle, and emulated the European philosophy of not trying to make LEDs resemble fluorescent, but use refractive lenses to celebrate the light points. The discs balanced the tech feel with the hospitality feel that we were after. In addition, while edge lighting the panel and having the LEDs set in the metal collar of the fixture, it also helped resolve the issue of heat, creating a heat sync for the LEDs. The Sensitile panel becomes a transparent plane as you look up into the fixture, and the refracted acrylic sparkles while directing light up and down to provide the glow necessary to light the space.

Zips of light are tucked under the reception counter toe kick, leading the eye to the technology hall behind, and mimic the horizon lines of glass that are suspended at varying heights with backlit projection of moving data images and graphics. A singular line of integrated ½" wide luminous LED provided atypical task lighting to the receptionist, as well as highlighted the welcoming face.

More casual seating areas were lit with wall mounted 6' long swinging task lights by David Weeks, further emphasizing the hospitality feel. In the Lodge, a similar pendant towers over the seating area. In addition, visitors entering the Lodge are met with a luminous fiber optic tree imported from Finland. In Finland, these trees have been used as exterior pedestrian level lighting, and provide a sculptural glow unlike anything used in the US.

The concept in the Technology hall was to use Technology as art, Art as technology, so we risked leaving it dark, and letting technology light and activate the space. Only the toe kick lighting provided minimum safe levels of egress lighting.

Directly off of the lobby is an open area housing the café, multipurpose zone and meeting rooms. The focal point of this area is an undulating structure that creates a variety of casual seating zones, including Japanese -style table and bench. The structure "bursts and fragments" into an abstracted tree that rises up, through an opening in the second floor, to another key gathering space. This called for a simple lighting solution through the zigzagged bench seating, a continuous ½" wide luminous LED encased in two natural wood fins. This was a simple solution, leading the eye through the seating areas and ending at the sparkle at the end of the space which was created with long etched acrylic tubes end lit with LEDs. The tubes hang through slices in the ceiling, creating soft glowing cylinders while their polished bottom surfaces amplify and project light down.

Workplace hubs add playful spaces for rest; rejuvenation and release while Organic shaped Ameba provide sufficient lighting levels for a variety of activities, such as Wii, pool, air hockey, or whatever future games become popular.

The workspace facility usability program dictated that work pods and enclosed full height movable panels could be rearranged frequently to encompass the group size required by the project. This required the general lighting to either be extremely flexible or to be set on a grid, which worked well with the reconfiguration. General ambient lighting levels were reduced to 28 FC on average, and task and wall lighting provided necessary supplemental levels to perform tasks and see pin ups.

We used a software based digital system which allowed modifications to be made via programming. The desire was to prevent the need for somebody to go into the ceiling to plug and unplug every time there was a reconfiguration. This also enabled the ability to easily make future modifications that were not anticipated. Virtual wall pods brought up on individual's computer screens can be added for further flexibility. Voila, local switching or virtual wall pod to turn on, and vacancy sensors to turn off the lighting in the new enclosed space!

Interior Design by Gensler Collin Burry, Kim Dale, Kelly Dubisar, Eric Scavetta, Karyn Gabriel

Lighting Design by Inga Birkenstock Lighting Designs (Formerly of Architecture & Light)