Lighting office buildings is a staple for the Haron Robson lighting design team, yet the projects are rarely featured in our newsletters or on our website as they aren't considered high-profile enough to make a song and dance about.

Perhaps we've been remiss in the past, as the office projects we've recently launched have been a fabulous mixture of cutting-edge design, pure energy efficiency, modern contemporary and elegant heritage - not all rolled into one of course! The broad range of project brief, interior design and use of emerging technologies just goes to show not all office lighting projects are created equal, and neither are the concept designs flying off the drawing boards of the creative bods here at Haron Robson HQ.

The Eclipse Tower at 60 Station Street Parramatta is a case in point. A 19-storey new-build office building, the development team have utilised environmental sustainable design (ESD) to achieve an environmental rating of 5 Stars for Green Star Office Design v2. The energy efficient lighting was a large contributor in achieving this classification.

The lighting had to be subtle to work in harmony with the natural light afforded by the floor to ceiling windows, and with Green Star limiting the watts consumed, the lighting design team set to work ensuring what little lighting was installed was as energy efficient as possible. Calculating the optimum number and placement of each light fitting to ensure the space was not over-lit meant this was primarily a technical design project. A tight brief with a single focus meant this office lighting project was driven by scientific, rather than aesthetic, results.

In direct contrast, the lighting design for a recently completed boardroom project was the result of a broad brief and close collaboration with the interior design team, resulting in a high-tech, visually arresting space with dynamic light affects and multi-function light zones.

The refurbished board room was designed to be used as a multi-purpose area - primarily a meeting space, this centrally-located room must also be suitable for functions and events of all kinds. A combination of luminaires was the answer, all controlled with a programmable lighting system which can change the mood of the room at the touch of a button.

The natural light is diffused by Barisol panels, which are backlit to create a colour wall of any hue. LED skirting lights are used to define the space and create drama when all other lights are dimmed. Fully adjustable narrow-beam halogen downlights ensure the correct colour temperature for attractive and effective task lighting. And the pièce de résistance of the space is the decorative perforated metal panel, backlit with cold cathode tubes to provide even illumination and an efficient light source – the effect is lively and futuristic. 

This integrated lighting system can be programmed to work together in creating a vibrant light show to rival anything seen on the big screen, or can easily be switched off to provide a practical lighting solution for workaday meetings. Lighting control software contained within an iPad application allows the lighting to be modified by the user at the tap of a finger, bringing high-tech solutions to the every day.

From high-tech to high style, the Catholic Education Office in Leichardt was recently refurbished to create a modern, fresh look. The brief was to design a contemporary space whilst respecting the heritage of the building, to create a stimulating and interesting work environment whilst maintaining a sense of orderly calm.

The varied ceiling heights and mix of meeting rooms, desk spaces and a larger "collaboration zone" prompted the lighting solution to be a coherent mix of downlights, pendants and desk lamps. Focusing on the workspaces, the luminaires provide efficient lighting whilst being unobtrusive, ensuring the spaces remain uncluttered.

At the hub is the series of bespoke pendants. Suspended close to the ceiling to provide an uninterrupted visual flow, the lighting system is actually three separate installations; a single custom-designed ring of light, manufactured to Haron Robson specifications, and two further sets of four strip lights, each creating a large square to delineate different zones. All three installations provide subtle uplighting and even workspace illumination for both ambient and task lighting.

The pendant lights are complemented with flush-fitting linear lights in high traffic zones, and downlights to punctuate the space. With the majority of fittings being white or aluminium, an injection of colour is provided by a number of Kartell pendants in a linear cluster directly above the meeting table. Clear rounded perspex shades with a muted, light blue tint inject a softness to the space, which is too often missing in contemporary office design. Finishing the simple, clean look is the series of funky desk lamps providing immediate, direct task lighting, individually controlled by each user. Crisp, modern design and bright, white spaces - one variant of lighting in a heritage office building.

Another example can be seen in the refurbished entry lobby and stairwell of 66 King Street, Sydney. An Art Deco building with black marble walls and floor, entering the cavernous space was akin to stepping inside a black box. With the dark surfaces affectively swallowing the available light, traditional lighting methods proved inadequate to effectively illuminate the area.

The solution was to define the space and delineate the edges to create a sense of scale, so column floor lamps were specified to fit into each corner. Limited by heritage constraints and to ensure no damage was done to the original stone walls, the bespoke luminaires were designed to be fixed to the floors. Manufactured with matt black steel and an opal acrylic diffuser, the lamps are essentially square-shaped tubes elegantly finished with art deco inspired detailing - the design motif being influenced by the original heritage balustrades elsewhere in the building.

Softly glowing with warm white light to provide a welcoming feel, the column lights encourage movement through the space by acting as way-finding markers. To complete the illumination, LED puk lighting was used to provide space-lighting in the double-height entry lobby. Suspended within the existing grooves, the uplighting highlights the details of the original coffer ceiling, while the spotlights provide light washing over the floors and lower areas. The combination creates an elegant lighting solution within heritage constraints.

Four office building projects, four very different results. Kind of makes us hungry for more...

...to discuss your office lighting requirements, and learn how Haron Robson can inject some life into the narrow confines of four walls and some desks, please contact Murray Robson on (02) 9712 5544, or email mrobson@haronrobson.com.au.


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