The name sets the scene at the Lumiere Hair Salon in Providence, Rhode Island, where architecture firm Hogan/Macaulay was challenged to create a lighting scheme that would communicate the identity of this new business in Downcity, a district that is rapidly transforming from industrial to hip. Brought onto the job by Providence-based interior design team Studio 360, lighting principal Bob Hogan states, 'The design relationship with Studio 360 was very smooth, because of the fact that light had been considered as an integral element from the beginning.' The seamless marriage of structure and illumination on this project could also be attributed to Hogan/Macaulay's formative years as an architecture firm: founded in 1996, the three-person team started specializing in light in 1998.

Viewed from the street, this 17-foot-high space on a corner lot emits a brilliant, amber glow that boldly sets it apart from the industrial gray of the surrounding buildings. The focal point of the design is a hanging veil of thin copper rods that span the full length of the floor-to-ceiling glass storefront bordering the salon on two sides. The metallic curtain-conceived by the interior designer-provides a sense of privacy for the customers within, while allowing a view to the outside. Light emitted by low-voltage xenon lamps from above is aimed at the rods in such a way that the glow takes on a copper hue, and the visual effect shifts with the viewer's changing perspective. 'The transition from daylight to evening and the illusion of depth is really quite magical,' says Hogan, 'and I love it because it's so simple.'

The rods are reflected in a 70-foot-long mirror wall, which further accentuates their shape with etched vertical, slightly angled lines that allow continuous T5HO strips concealed at the base and at the top of the mirror to emanate light. In a third echo of this linear formation, light peeks out from the creases and folds in a wall of fabric behind the manicure area in the rear of the space.

In addition to creating a striking visual identity, one of the client's primary requirements for Hogan/Macaulay was to provide sufficient ambient light in which to work. The designers responded with what they refer to as a 'light cloud': a group of low-hanging opal-glass cylinder fixtures that house 60W halogen lamps, and which were custom fabricated by a local glass artist Tracy Glover, a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design. Costs were kept to a minimum by employing generic components for other light sources.

In several cases, economic solutions entailed blurring the line between structure and lighting, by substituting architectural elements for light fixtures. For example, concealed access panels along the top and bottom of the mirrored wall house fluorescent striplights. Throughout the project, from the xenon lamps glinting off the copper curtain to the mirror that both echoes and reflects the play of light, each element of luminosity and architecture at Lumiere works hand-in-glove to create a fully integrated whole.



Project Lumiere Salon, Providence, Rhode Island

lighting design Hogan/Macaulay

interior design Studio 360, Providence, Rhode Island

photographer John Horner

project size 1,900 square feet

watts per square foot 4.0

installation costs $6.70 / SF (lighting materials);

$17.00 / SF (electrical subcontract, with lighting materials)

manufacturers Ambiance by Sea Gull, Bartco, Capri, Legion, Stonco

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specification information.