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La Centrale: Elevating The Food Hall Experience With Light

La Centrale is no ordinary food hall. The collection of five restaurants, two bars, a market, wine store and gelato shop in Miami’s Brickell City Centre provides an extraordinary culinary experience you can’t find anywhere else. Spanning three levels, the food hall serves gourmet Italian dishes with a touch of Miami flair in a variety of stylish environments.

The unconventional yet brilliant combination of eateries rises above New York and Chicago’s famed food halls by presenting dishes and drinks in distinctly different settings. Each dining area is a finished restaurant boasting the practicality of a food hall. La Centrale offers customers the best of both worlds, along with total control of their dining experiences.

A high-end, totally customizable dining experience requires sophisticated and flexible lighting. More than 3,000 feet of linear Luminii lighting brought the food hall’s spaces and intricate design features to life, while a creative customer service approach helped designers and construction teams meet tight deadlines.

Read on to learn how Luminii and lighting design firm BOLD worked together to revolutionize the concept of food halls and traditional Italian dining at La Centrale.

La Centrale

Luminii Elevates the Customer Experience

In restaurants, Luminii’s high-performance surface-mounted tape light casts warm ambient glows from coves, millwork features, bar dies and back bar surfaces. Bottles for sale in the wine shop are illuminated along the back wall, giving them dramatic silhouettes. In other retail spaces, light is pushed toward the front of shelves to prominently highlight merchandise and collectibles.

“What this project did really well was define each restaurant and space through lighting, including using different color temperatures to change the aesthetic and mood throughout La Centrale,” Luminii’s Northeast Regional Manager Ryan Raica-Scallan said. “We could change the whole environment and envelop the customers and enhance the customers’ experience by simply changing the color temperature.”

Charlie Dumais, principal at lighting design firm BOLD, aimed to enhance the dining experience for customers with light.

“In a restaurant, the two most important things are that whatever you are eating and drinking looks good and that whoever you are sitting across from looks good,” Dumais said.

That’s where Luminii works so well.

“Their products have a great color rendering, great color options and come in a very small, flexible profile,” Dumais said. “We were able to use a range of different color temperatures within the Luminii family based on the various types of spaces we were designing for.”

Throughout La Centrale, BOLD sought to replicate the feel of natural light indoors.

“A lot of the spaces above the ground floor didn’t have much window access,” Dumais said. “We compensated for that by incorporating a lot of indirect and hidden light in order to create a color temperature that is consistent with natural light.”

Not every manufacturer is equipped to recreate the feel of natural light in indoor spaces. Luminii’s diverse product line rose to the challenge with ease.

“The challenge was creating a series of spaces that were unique, but you also want a consistent light level and a versatile product that can deliver both,” said project distributor Robert Tortorella, senior vice president at Chelsea Lighting . “That is really where Luminii shines, pun intended.”

The Details Shine at La Centrale

Every little detail sets La Centrale apart from more conventional food halls. Millwork, tile, foliage and arches are carefully illuminated to create a rich, textured visual experience.

“There were a lot of lighting dimensions: direct lighting, indirect lighting accenting design features and lighting aimed through interior decor like plants and partitions,” Dumais said. “So, for us, the challenge was to put all of these layers together to create a sense of drama and, ultimately, make people feel comfortable in the space.”

“What is great about Luminii’s product line,” Dumais continued, “is they offer so many different profiles and make it easy to specify based on your application. Some other companies offer similar products, but they make it difficult to specify. It’s another thing that sets Luminii apart.”

Illuminating design details takes precision and requires light sources that place an emphasis on high color quality and beautiful light output. Designers need form factors that are attractive, and most importantly, nimble. The Luminii Kendo System was chosen for these qualities in addition to its extremely low profile, with a height of just 0.3 inches with a mounting clip.

“The Kendo S really let the design team’s imagination run wild to come up with some unique mounting and millwork details,” Raica-Scallan said. “They were able to insert the Kendo S profile into very tight spaces and create truly unique effects.”

Luminii designs its complete fixtures with flexibility in mind. Lighting designers and specifiers seek highly modifiable options when illuminating one-of-a-kind spaces, and Luminii delivers.

“We give designers and contractors the ability to change up an end cap or a mounting clip,” Raica-Scallan said. “We can even come up with other mounting solutions that uniquely meet a particular project's needs.”

La Centrale was constructed quickly with evolving field conditions, including swapped-out materials and changing dimensions. Contractors needed adaptable products so they could tweak details on the fly.

“Sometimes,” Dumais said, “as much as we plan out the right color temperature for the space, things change. For instance, a material change might happen that causes us to revisit what that color temperature was specified at. With Luminii’s products, we are able to add theatrical filters in order to color the light a little bit differently, giving it a unique effect.”

Luminii luminaires and LED light strips are offered in multiple color temperatures, ranging from 2200K to 4100K. While the majority of the color temperatures specified for La Centrale were pre-determined in the finished products, Luminii gave BOLD the ability to use color filters to further enhance the output.

“It's a very adaptable product line,” Raica-Scallan said, “which is one of the reasons we have such a strong following of lighting design firms.”

La Centrale’s emphasis on millwork required a lighting product that could be field-cut to completely illuminate every minute detail and dimension.

“The versatility and flexibility of Luminii’s products made it easier for the contractors to identify solutions in the field,” Raica-Scallan said. “They could handle and install the lighting in a manner that met their onsite needs, creating more impact than originally thought.”

La Centrale

Luminii Offers a Contractor-Friendly Process

Project distributor Robert Tortorella said Luminii’s pre-construction customer service resulted in reduced costs and waste.

“For us,” Tortorella said, “the challenge is: How do you get the contractors not to end up with scraps of one-, two- or three-foot pieces that they cut in the field, which leads to more wasted product than necessary.”

He noted that Luminii “makes the entire process contractor-friendly” by generating shop drawings and helping contractors stay on track.

“Luminii is always willing to do what it takes to understand a product, up to and including site visits,” Tortorella said. “For instance, a significant amount of Luminii was used on the bar lighting. They showed specifically how the fixtures could be wired together, which fixtures could be daisy-chained together, which needed to be home run back to the driver. It gave a guide to the contractor upfront.”

Luminii Thrives on Pre-Construction Coordination

Because the La Centrale project required a quick turnaround, Luminii shipped all the channels to the construction site while producing the LEDs. That gave contractors time to prepare.

“Luminii thrives on a high amount of pre-construction coordination with our clients,” Raica-Scallan said. “We coordinate a series of meetings whenever possible to get everyone on the same page and understand how we can ship the product quickly.”

Components for the La Centrale project were intentionally shipped piecemeal instead of as complete fixtures. This approach gave construction teams the opportunity to prepare channels and power supplies while Luminii produced LEDs to specification.

“It’s always good when the manufacturer can provide the product in a short lead time,” Dumais said. “Luminii can.”

In a short timeframe, Luminii helped transform La Centrale into a high-end dining experience by delivering the consistent color, quality, modifiability and customer service the lighting company is known for.

“The linear footage was substantial,” Raica-Scallan said. “There were multiple teams working on the project due to the number and variety of spaces involved. We are extremely proud to be a part of this impressive project.”

Since the project was completed, ownership of La Centrale has changed hands. The collection of restaurants, market and gelato shop were rebranded without renovations as Luna Park.

Images Courtesy of NoTriangle Studio