For the renovations to its Morristown, N.J., headquarters building, Schindler Elevator Corp. expressed to Ikon.5 Architects that it wanted to highlight its minimal aesthetic and precision engineering. Ikon.5 grabbed this mandate and took the Switzerland-based company’s existing 1970s office structure and gave it a full stylistic makeover and efficiency update, from new, insulated glazing to interior surface treatments and a 21,000-square-foot solar-power array.

Schindler instructed Ikon.5 that it wanted to convey the importance of its engineering heritage and mission statement of safely moving people throughout the world (via their elevators and escalators), while also rethinking its approach to sustainability by having the architects make improvements to the building’s energy consumption. Ikon.5 responded to this challenge with a new envelope for the building that reduces mechanical loads and new lighting solutions that minimize energy use without any loss of natural workplace illumination. An information kiosk in the lobby—lit with ceiling-mounted, custom LED light panels—displays real-time statistics about the building’s energy use, such as an estimated 6.7 percent reduction in electricity consumption and 39.2 percent reduction in consumption of natural gas, all of this thanks to both the low-E windows and the rooftop photovoltaic grid.

Red and white, the colors of the Swiss flag, are repeated throughout the building as solid, unadorned planes interrupted at regular intervals by recessed 28W T5 fluorescent luminaires that create an accent element when walking through the building. And drawing inspiration from contemporary static art installations that give the illusion of motion, designers from Ikon.5 created “mise-en-scène” settings that focus on abstracted single-point perspectives, with long corridors laid out like horizontal versions of the elevator shafts that house Schindler’s vertical transportation and mobility products.

Glass walls allow daylighting to penetrate deep into the building, while minimal detailing and trimless LED fixtures establish a language that speaks in frames of light. Following the same language and rhythm as the recessed fixtures, Ikon.5 deployed linear 28W T5 pendants in the open office areas to provide additional tasklighting, creating a workplace environment that emphasizes Schindler’s chief export: movement through space.

Jury Comments
Beautiful attention to detail.
These lines of light re-create the appearance of looking down an elevator shaft.

The lighting strategy employs "lines of light" and color planes to create a sense of perspective as people move through the space.
James D'Addio The lighting strategy employs "lines of light" and color planes to create a sense of perspective as people move through the space.
A red glass door marks the entry to the main-level dining area and the "lines of light" motif continues beyond to create a series of light frames.
James D'Addio A red glass door marks the entry to the main-level dining area and the "lines of light" motif continues beyond to create a series of light frames.

The corporate dining room on the main level.
James D'Addio The corporate dining room on the main level.

A red glass wall separates the dining area and a conference room.
James D'Addio A red glass wall separates the dining area and a conference room.

Lines of light—or "light frames"—with minimal detailing, extend from the hallways to interior spaces beyond, such as this small conference room.
James D'Addio Lines of light—or "light frames"—with minimal detailing, extend from the hallways to interior spaces beyond, such as this small conference room.

The Schindler Elevator Corporation Headquarters features a Swiss flag color palette of red and white.
James D'Addio The Schindler Elevator Corporation Headquarters features a Swiss flag color palette of red and white.

A pair of Schindler escalators, in signature red, face a white accent wall and connect the main and upper levels of the company's headquarters.
James D'Addio A pair of Schindler escalators, in signature red, face a white accent wall and connect the main and upper levels of the company's headquarters.

A glass wall along one of the upper-level corridors provides a reflective surface for the lines of light to transform into "light frames."
James D'Addio A glass wall along one of the upper-level corridors provides a reflective surface for the lines of light to transform into "light frames."

Dining and conference areas.
James D'Addio Dining and conference areas.

Upper-level open office area. The "lines of light" motif is carried through the fixture treatments in the ceiling.
James D'Addio Upper-level open office area. The "lines of light" motif is carried through the fixture treatments in the ceiling.

A conference room.
James D'Addio A conference room.

Details

Project  Schindler Elevator Corp.—U.S. Headquarters, Morristown, N.J.
Entrant  Ikon.5 Architects
Owner/Client  Schindler Elevator Corp.
Architect/Lighting Designer  Ikon.5 Architects, Princeton, N.J.
Team Members  Joseph G. Tattoni, Ben Petrick, Michael Zereva, Renuska Papalexiou
Photographer  James D’Addio
Project Size  161,000 square feet
Project Cost  Withheld
Lighting Cost  $1 million
Watts per Square Foot  0.90
Code Compliance  ASHRAE 90.1-2004
Manufacturers  Gammalux, Philips Ledalite, Rosco, Traxon

To see all of the other winners of the 2014 AL Light & Architecture Design Awards, click here.