Renovation of Dale Chihuly’s Boathouse Features Leading Edge Lighting Design by Studio Lux

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Three-year projects uses LED, almost exclusively.

“About as challenging as it gets. This is an environment that is a second home to one of the world’s great artists, a person who is as attuned as anyone to lighting, its quality, color and focus. It had to be exactly right,” Thompson says.

Studio Lux, an internationally recognized lighting design firm, just completed the lighting design for Dale Chihuly’s newly renovated Boathouse, the iconic studio on the banks of Lake Union.

The lakeside structure serves as the artist’s studio, hotshop, archive and reception hall for performances and philanthropic events. It is where Chihuly and his team of artisans blow the majority of glass used in his installations throughout the world.

The three-year renovation of the Boathouse, led by Seattle-based Sandler Architects, was completed in May. “Projects like this are particularly demanding,” says Studio Lux Principal Christopher Thompson. Unlike in office environments or even in museums where lighting is designed to accomplish one dominant task, lighting in the Boathouse supported a range of uses, from intimate dinners to large gatherings and from performances to quiet time. The lighting reflected and affected each specific use.

The design involved multiple sources and layers of lights called into action by a computerized control system. An almost exclusive LED package accomplished the goal of meeting stringent energy codes while illuminating Chihuly’s glass with equally demanding requirements.

“LED is my industry’s transition into the 21st century,” says Thompson. “We must be designers using light, and we must also take the necessary time to understand this emerging technology and standardize the performance criteria.”

Thompson called the Boathouse project “about as challenging as it gets. This is an environment that is a second home to one of the world’s great artists, a person who is as attuned as anyone to lighting, its quality, color and focus. It had to be exactly right,” Thompson says.

Studio Lux has worked on several projects for Chihuly including the artist’s largest permanent installation to date, “Fireworks of Glass.” The 43-foot blown glass tower was unveiled in 2006 and stands in the central atrium of the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis, Ind.

Studio Lux is recognized worldwide for creating dramatic and dynamic environments. In its portfolio of residences, museums, hotels and commercial venues, Studio Lux balances art and the science of lighting to enhance the aesthetic impact of interiors and architecture. For more information, visit http://www.studiolux.com.

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Stephanie Breslin
Studio Lux
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