By Meghan Dwyer • April 7, 2020
Design Team Lead Designer & Space Visionary: Horace Ho Lighting & Interior Design: Cecilia Ramos Interior Architect: Vlado Pejic Architect of Record: Urban Foundry Architecture LLC
It’s no secret that well-designed lighting is what brings an interior to life. Paint color, furniture, and materials can be just right, but when lighting is off, the whole space seems to apart—and it’s noticeable in an instant. Ketra, the LED lighting manufacturer known for creating the highest quality light and most accurate natural light, has made it it’s mission to perfect the art of illumination and make it accessible for all—whether you’re designing for a workplace, restaurant, hotel, or your own home.
Giving the design community and the public the ability to experience Ketra’s unique capabilities in real life, as well as giving their own employees access to the highest quality lighting, was the number one goal when Ketra set out to design its brand new headquarters in Austin, Texas—the city that the brand has called home since it’s inception 10 years ago as well as the location of their factory and engineering facility that they like to refer to as the BEAM (Breakthrough Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing).
A standalone building with abundant natural light by local veteran designer Michael Hsu, Ketra HQ is a far cry from your everyday lighting showroom or office. Rather, the expansive two-story space acts as an example for just what Ketra can do and how different the technology is from other dynamic lighting offerings on the market. And employees definitely aren’t complaining that they get to work under Ketra’s personalized, user-controlled lighting every day.
At the entrance of Ketra HQ, visitors are greeted by a soaring mural by local graffiti artist Aaron Darling.
Upon passing through the main entrance, one will find him or herself in the Collaboration Studio—a space divided into various zones or “virtual rooms”, delineated by lighting rather than walls for a open and inviting yet functional feel. By layering lighting and switching gracefully between color temperatures and scenes with the push of a button, Ketra HQ has the ability to create vastly different environments within the single space. A brightly lit workplace can be easily converted into the warm backdrop of a cocktail reception, or an art gallery with a dim, inviting atmosphere and bright, focused art displays.
Settings like “vibrancy” truly act like a real-life photo filter, changing how colors appear by reflecting light differently. Thanks to this technology, the colors in both artwork hanging from the wall as well as food being prepared upon the counter can be enhanced and highlighted. Ketra actually has the ability to achieve any color on the spectrum, from pastels to hues high in saturation. An interior can be bathed in mood-boosting hues, a tool perfect for branding at a company event or during a presentation.
Showing guests just how big of a difference tunable, customizable lighting can make wasn’t Ketra’s only hope for the space, though. Serving as resource for the local design community in Austin was equally important. The Collaboration Studio entails a quarter of the total square footage of the building, and will serve as a multi-functional space and resource for the city of Austin and it’s creative community. A “work face” by day, where people can learn about Ketra and Lutron’s offerings and plan projects, by night, the studio can easily transition to host cocktail parties or gallery openings with the simple push of a button.
The upper level is home to Ketra’s offices, which one accesses through a show-stopping stairway light installation of nearly 500 bulbs, which employees and guests can change in appearance of though 3 preset color schemes. The open-plan office lets natural light flood the entire space, while even central glass-walled conference rooms in the center are illuminated with daylight. As daylight shifts, Ketra’s Natural Light mimics the shifting color temperature and intensity of sunlight, which dynamically shifts throughout the day and helps users to feel more connected to natures.
Throughout workstations and common spaces, Ketra’s user-friendly tools allow employees to shift lighting to suit their needs by overriding the natural show, whether amplifying to a bright white light for added focus or dimming to a warm light, perfect for a brainstorm or presentation. Ketra lighting also pairs with Lutron’s world-class automated shade solutions, which can adapt to the sun’s position throughout the day to provide employees with the perfect blend of sunlight and Ketra Natural Light.
Originally posted on Contract Design