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Shining a light on design creativity

Studies show that lighting has a direct effect on people’s emotions, both positively and negatively.  Not only that, it can effect productivity and energy levels, so it should come as no surprise that organisations are taking a closer look at their office lighting options.

The amount of natural versus artificial light, energy saving opportunities, large and small spaces – there is a lot to consider when designing a project’s lighting.

According to Wood & Grieve Engineers’ (WGE) Specialist Lighting Project Engineer Jean-Paul Kirkland, there’s also another option to consider: how it looks.

“Lighting is more than just a functional feature, it can be considered artwork,” he said.

“It can be used for more than just lighting up a room – it can bring focus to structures, wall features, or be the attraction itself.”

An example of this was the recent transformation of the entrance space at 485 La Trobe Street in Melbourne’s CBD.

“The space was under-utilised.  While there was a café, very few used its facilities resulting in a very quiet area,” Jean-Paul said.

“We were tasked with transforming the ground floor foyer into an inviting and welcoming area; somewhere the building tenants would visit, hold meetings and attend social gatherings.”

The WGE Specialist Lighting team worked collaboratively with Gray Puksand and Junglefy to develop a specialised LED lighting solution for the building’s green wall – Australia’s largest breathing wall, covering approximately 88m² and featuring 5,000 plants from 15 species.

The fundamental design principle was the idea of linking the natural world with a manufactured built environment, creating a cohesive web of interconnecting spaces.  It was thought that by creating this instinctive bond between people and nature – known as biophilia – it would help promote a healthy use of the space for both work practice and social gatherings.

A series of custom-fabricated, curved linear lighting was also installed in the lift lobby, designed to lead you from the lifts into the entrance space.  A large Jan Flook-designed pendant replaces the existing neon light scheme in the glass atrium, which further enhances the link between nature and architecture.

“As a result, traffic in the entrance and at the café has increased.  People are sitting out in the space, near the green wall, having coffee.  The reputation of the building has improved and is seeing more visitors,” Jean-Paul said.

The WGE Specialist Lighting team are well equipped to advise clients on unique lighting designs which are both functional and attractive.  Jean-Paul admits the team keep a close eye on trends “especially in the art and fashion world” to ensure they’re up to date with the latest advances.

“We keep close tabs on what the lighting world is up to, whether it be in publications or attending expos and other functions,” Jean-Paul said.

“Clients look to us not only for our technical knowledge but for our artistic eye.  As engineers, we understand the process of making things work, but as designers we also understand how to make things look attractive.

“Just like any piece of art, specialty lighting has the ability to trigger emotions.  We love innovation at WGE and embody this with all our work.  Our approach is to offer practical lighting expertise with creative thinking, which can transform everyday spaces into memorable attractions.”

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