979 Third Ave., Suite 138
Designer: Smith Stanley
Lighting manufacturer Lutron aims to change the way consumers see dimmers, wall plates, and shades with the launch of a new “experience center” located on the ground floor of New York’s D&D Building. The showroom—a New York first for the 40-year-old company—is accessible to the trade and individual consumers alike. Right from the entrance, with a sculptural wall made up of 575 switches, the showroom entices visitors to touch, hear, and experience Lutron’s products. Set up to mimic a home, the design center presents lighting and shading solutions for every room in both residential and commercial settings. A line of dimmers connected to voltmeters also gives visitors a look at the products’ potential energy and money savings.
Indeed, education is one of the showroom’s main goals. Manny Feris, the company’s sales supervisor, explained that even industry professionals are likely to find themselves surprised. Some don’t know that fluorescent bulbs can be dimmed, or that Lutron makes custom-color faceplates, while others learn that a halogen bulb dimmed by only 10 percent will extend its life from 3,000 to 6,000 hours, making it last longer than a compact fluorescent (which may last only 2,000 hours in an upside-down, recessed installation). Furthermore, the showroom will be used for continuing education for architects and engineers. “Not just for demonstrations," added Smith Stanley, the project architect, "but to get into the real nuts and bolts of the systems, which are surprisingly simple.”
Single-button programmed and synchronized experiences help simulate specific uses for any room, whether that is cleaning (all bright lights go up) or movie-watching (lights dim and shades lower). With these and other high-tech features, the Lutron’s showroom turns lighting into a surprisingly kinetic experience.