TYPE: Office, Retail and Commercial
Client: RAB Lighting
535 W 24th Street
Founded in 1946, RAB Lighting has been a manufacturer of exterior lighting fixtures for over 70 years. Today it is the epitome of an evolving company, transforming and repositioning itself from a traditional exterior lighting manufacturer into an environmentally-focused, high-tech manufacturer of interior & exterior LED lighting. In 2012, RAB expanded their product range from exterior lights to include interior lights, a completely different market and customer base than 65 years prior.
To help introduce these new interior lighting products to a new customer base, RAB wanted to build their first showroom in New York City to appeal to the high-end design and specification community. RAB hired Soluri Architecture (who had designed the renovation of their NJ headquarters) to help select a space and then develop the concept for a “soft sell” showroom.
DESIGN PROCESS & INTENT
Soluri Architecture designed the showroom to appeal to architects, lighting designers, lighting specifiers, and others in the high-end design community through a “soft-sell” environment. The concept was for a large, flexible space that could host industry events, exhibitions, training sessions, and continuing education classes. There would be no traditional product displays, but RAB fixtures would be used throughout the space in unconventional and interesting ways. Separate from the public showroom, RAB also needed office space for its NYC-based staff.
The project utilizes the architectural language we developed in RAB’s Northvale, NJ offices, while accentuating the extraordinary existing conditions of the showroom. This involved exposing the large wood trusses that hold up the roof, and using them as a feature that contrasts against the minimalist white walls. We then inserted a few new contemporary elements, including a sculptural red reception area, a minimalist pantry with an illuminated wood ceiling, a wrapping red wall/ceiling element, and glowing bathrooms. Each of these elements features RAB lights that are used in new and interesting ways, exhibiting the creative possibilities of lighting design.
Adjacent to the public facilities are offices and meeting rooms for the team developing RAB’s new lighting control system called Light Cloud. This arrangement allows the showroom to be fully utilized—staff work during the day in their offices, while training sessions can simultaneously occur in the main showroom area. In the evening, industry events can be held without disrupting the staff.
The RAB Showroom was designed to comply with LEED’s Silver/Gold-level requirements.