You’ve used Luminii products for more than a decade. What first drew you to the company and its products?
I work with Luminii on almost every project we do. Luminii is from Chicago, and I believe in supporting local companies. I know the owner of Luminii and a lot of the people who work there. I’ve always known that if I needed assistance, they’d be available to come to job sites for me, and that’s something the company has done many times.
Luminii products are excellent. I’ve honestly never had a single problem. They ship on time, and they offer the variety that we need. A lot of projects require curved coves, and Luminii offers a curved fixture that works there. They have a tight grazer-type fixture that we used on a couple applications with a tighter beam, and there is a great variety of different color temperatures.
Luminii is a family-owned business, and that’s important to me. They understand designers. They know why we need specific color temperatures and understand the reasoning behind our selections.
Your firm has worked with a variety of clients, from restaurants to corporations to educational institutions. Can you tell us about some of your recent projects?
I work with Cameron Mitchell Restaurants nationally, and we recently finished work on Ocean Prime in Chicago. It’s a high-end steak and seafood restaurant on the second floor of LondonHouse Chicago. We used Luminii LED strips throughout the space. Because of their size and adaptability, we were able to integrate lighting into a lot of shelf and bar details to highlight liquor bottles, sculptures and artistic knickknacks.
We opted for very warm and very saturated colors, so we used a lot of Luminii’s different color temperature options, down to 2400K in some of the light strips. That just gave the space a high-end and traditional feeling of warmth.
We also completed a corporate interior design for ShopperTrak in Chicago. We used Luminii products to create a series of lightbox fixtures that represent the flags of the world. As you entered the building, we had these long linear lights that gave the space a rhythm and created a grand entrance. We used mini-strips to backlight acrylics to represent each flag.
How would you describe your style as a lighting designer?
My aesthetic is very clean and responsive to the architecture. I respond extremely well to clients’ needs, and I think I have an innate talent for understanding not only the architecture but also how a space should feel. My background in theater and drama gives me a unique perspective that you won’t necessarily find in people who studied interior design or engineering. With theater, you’re setting a mood with lighting. We’re there to show the audience where to look and how to feel. I approach architecture in the same way. When I’m designing a space, I think of it as a stage, essentially.
When you go into a nice restaurant, it’s not just beautiful lighting that creates the atmosphere. It’s the lines on the table. It’s the way waiters serve you. It’s how people speak to you, how your drink is presented. I look at all of the components coming together to create unity. I don’t just look at individual art and pieces. I’m not here to just provide light at your desk. That’s not the way I think of things. It’s the totality of the experience.