The Herman Miller showroom is the first LEED Platinum project in Los Angeles, and the 47th LEED Platinum project in the world
When the environmentally conscious and ergonomically focused office furniture manufacturer Herman Miller was searching for a new showroom in Los Angeles, a certain 18,000-sq.-ft. warehouse located in a revitalized area was perceived to be a diamond in the rough.
The company called on the award-winning firm Lighting Design Alliance in nearby Long Beach to adaptively reuse the building and create the first LEED Platinum project for commercial interiors in Los Angeles. Led by Chip Israel and his lighting design team of Varma Namburi, Jeremy Windle, and Anne McMills, the resulting design was lauded with the Sustainable Design Award, Honorable Mention in the Professional Commercial category of the 34th annual SOURCE awards bestowed by Cooper Lighting.
The building’s energy performance was a key factor in achieving this caliber of LEED certification, with the lighting system incorporating high-efficacy fixtures, occupancy sensors, and daylight harvesting. After a lengthy commissioning process, the facility now operates at $0.69 per square foot, which stands at 41 percent better than ASHRAE (90.1) and exceeding California Title 24.
The key design directives from Herman Miller were to embody the terms “curious,” “ingenious,” and “design excellence.” The showroom was to be clean and modern with a warm incandescent “residential and commercial” feel that is implemented as a low-cost, energy-efficient system.
The most distinctive feature of the design is the custom, oversized Shaper pendants, inspired by sculptor Richard Serra’s work. These giant open-top pendants not only add to the design character of the space, but they also uplight the wooden bow truss ceiling with dimmed 3000K compact fluorescent lamps for diffused indirect lighting. Three separate circuits of adjustable RSA halogen IR MR16 accents provide task and display lighting on the furniture below. Combining task lighting with ambient lighting in one single pendant reduces the typical retail environment ceiling clutter, emphasizing the architecturally pleasing wooden ceiling.
There are even more subtle lighting surprises installed. LED coves change color and intensity based on the presentation needs of the office or the room’s function. Flush-mounted RSA COMBOLIGHTS with both dimming 28-watt T5 fluorescents and 37-watt halogen IR MR16s provide ambient and task illumination. Mounted in a concealed soffit above the ceiling, recessed RSA Microgem fixtures accent the rich wood wall panels.
Small profile 3000K, 150-watt Invue ceramic metal halide floodlights mounted behind the horizontal elements under the entry canopy wash the bow truss ceiling (visible from the exterior courtyard) through vertical wooden slats.
In addition, 39-watt metal halide ingrade uplights smoothly illuminate the feature wall, silhouetting the furniture. Accent lighting from the pendants above makes the furniture appear to glow and hover in space.
The inclusion of individual LED desk lamps gives users the ability to adjust their own task lighting to suit their needs. Occupancy sensors also control them so that these fixtures automatically switch off if they are left on for long periods of time.
Of course, there was some lighting help from Mother Nature. Skylights and vertical fenestration provide ample diffuse daylight, and the daylight harvesting controls adjust to maintain ideal lighting levels where needed. Occupancy and daylight sensors located throughout the space monitor lighting levels, reducing power demand and allowing Herman Miller to adapt to the ever-changing needs of visitors and staff within the showroom.
The resulting design of this former warehouse-turned-showroom perfectly reflects Herman Miller’s philosophy of “Design and Build a Better World” and its environmental advocacy.