iilluminati: Chad Rothe, Lightform Lighting


Architectural challenges encourage Chad Rothe to set new standards for lighting design in high-end residential, retail, hospitality, and restaurant spaces. As the owner and founder of Lightform Lighting, a leading lighting design firm in Scottsdale, Arizona, Rothe and his team work with designers, architects, and contractors to manifest client visions for various spaces.

Rothe’s career began in 1994 when he interned with a lighting showroom in Phoenix. He embraced business opportunities as they arose and launched his own firm, Lightform Lighting, in 2002. After completing several award-winning projects, the company grew out of its original 450-square-foot design studio and became one of the most renowned and innovative lighting design firms in the Southwest United States. 

Lightform Lighting and Luminii have collaborated closely for years now, so we were excited to sit with Rothe and learn more about his groundbreaking work. Read our interview with the entrepreneurial lighting designer to learn how he and his team are pushing the lighting design industry in a new and exciting direction. 

Illuminating High-End Residential Spaces 

Can you tell us about a residential lighting project and how you achieved your client’s goals?

We worked on a small residential project in Phoenix, Arizona. The client came to Lightform concerned that her electrician was planning to install the builder’s special thin six-inch recessed discs down her hallway (because the HVAC duct sat right above her drywall ceiling). This gave us roughly one inch to work with. I told her we had a better solution.

I specified and installed Luminii’s KRM Channel in tandem with Luminii’s LineLED LL Series Linear LED Strip (LL36-30K-SL). We not only recessed the LED into her ceiling, but across and down the vertical walls on both ends of the hallway. What makes this particular project my favorite, being that it is so small, is my client’s reaction to the finished product after installation. She couldn’t thank me enough for the creative solution that we offered and executed. 

How would you describe your lighting or artistic style?

Form follows function and less is more. Attempting to conceal the light source and to only see the effects that the strategically-placed fixtures provide is critical.

Tell us about one of your favorite lighting techniques and why?

My favorite lighting technique is grazing, especially on a highly-textured vertical surface. If executed properly, to where the fixtures are concealed within a recessed shade pocket, an ethereal and spa-like atmosphere is produced within the space.

What is your favorite Luminii product and why?

The Kendo Micro Grazer from my aforementioned favorite lighting technique. This product provides a really great ethereal affect with great ambience.

Chad Rothe designed this LED lighting system for a client’s master bathroom with the Luminii KMC channel with dimmable 3000 Kelvin Temperature. 

Your Lighting Design Expertise

What types of spaces or projects do you enjoy illuminating?

I enjoy illuminating retail, boutique, and high-end residential spaces. My favorite spaces to illuminate within residential projects are master bathrooms where there is an opportunity to provide layers of lighting.

Can you tell us about one of your favorite lighting projects?

My favorite project to date would have to be a dynamic spin and yoga studio called the Madison Improvement Club located in Phoenix and Tempe, Arizona. We specified cove lighting throughout the space with an ethernet-based DMX protocol. We also created a video wall and ceiling, creating mind-bending shows and visual effects.

What’s one of your most profound memories as a lighting designer?

One of my most profound memories as a lighting designer was the turn-on of the video wall and ceiling of the Madison Improvement Club. Watching such a dynamic and technical installation come to life with visual effects was extremely fun and rewarding.

Who or what do you look to for inspiration?

My inspiration derives from reading several design publications like Hospitality Design and Interior Design. I am also inspired by my travels, as well as trade shows.

What do you enjoy most about working at Lightform?

Our clients. They are “out-of-the-box” thinkers and designers with a forward-thinking aesthetic. Another favorite aspect of working at Lightform is our employees. They are not only my employees, but my family; that is just how we operate. To top it off, I love working in our award-winning, modern, and sleek environment.

What separates Lightform Lighting from its competitors?

Our unique product offering, our unrivaled customer service, and our design sense. We also merchandize our products in a clean and organized aesthetic. Lightform is one of the only lighting showrooms that focuses on modern and contemporary fixtures and designs.

Your Career

What inspired you to pursue a career in lighting?

While attending college, I did an internship with a boutique lighting showroom in Phoenix, Arizona. I enjoyed lighting and the technical aspects of the profession so much that I became self-taught and found my true passion. This eventually led me to opening up Lightform Lighting, my own showroom.

Can you walk us through your career path?

My career path started with an opportunity from an urban developer that believed in me and my talents. He offered me a commercial space in one of his buildings, which I designed into a small lighting studio. The developer would send clients over to Lightform and we would provide them with a full lighting plan for his multi-family loft projects.

One thing then led to another, and I grew from a tiny 450-square-foot design studio into a larger design studio, then into a small showroom, and finally into the award-winning showroom we are today. That puts my career in a nutshell.

What do you enjoy most about working with Luminii?

The Luminii team and their unmatched customer service. Any technical questions are thoroughly answered in a timely manner. I’m especially fond of Lau, Dawn, Mayra, Taylor, Maria, and Wendy. I am also extremely proud to be Luminii’s very first purchase order!

Advice for Lighting Designers

What advice would you give to lighting designers starting out in the field?

Patience in learning the trade. There is a tremendous amount of technical information to absorb, but when one understands the industry, it is so rewarding seeing your projects big and small come to life. Stay on top of the fast-paced technology, especially with LED technology. Read, study, and get involved with a reputable lighting design firm.

What’s the most valuable lighting tip you can share?

Employ the appropriate use of LED Kelvin temperature. It can literally make or break an environment.

Where do you think the lighting design industry is headed?

Lighting design is becoming much more technical. I feel that lighting design is heading more towards a “form follows function” and “less is more” approach where you are not visually seeing the light fixtures, but experiencing and witnessing their lighting effects. LEDs are getting smaller and more powerful, which makes it that much more exciting to illuminate small spaces that we could never think of lighting before.

Connect with Chad Rothe and Lightform Lighting

Website: www.lightformlighting.com 

Instagram: @lightform_lighting

Work Address:
7018 E. Indian School Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85251