Flexibility was key in the prototype strategy for AT&T's “experience stores.” A core group of fixtures—compact and linear fluorescent, LED, and metal halide—provide a variety of light while still meeting the variables energy code requirements throughout the U.S.

When AT&T bought out cell phone service provider Cingular it was faced with the task of developing “experience stores” to embody the merged brands. The telecommunications giant hired Seattle architecture firm Callison and Beverly Hills, Calif., lighting design studio Sean O'Connor Lighting—which had worked on Cingular's stores—to quickly design a prototype with multiple variations (there were nine in total) that could be easily rolled out in hundreds of locations across the country. “To capture the feeling of the AT&T brand we used the logo to guide the lighting and architecture,” says Sean O'Connor. “We had done something similar for Cingular with their orange logo. For AT&T we referenced the blue globe but kept some orange as a nod to Cingular.”

Architecturally, this translated into a series of curved and circular motifs on the interior: a center ceiling soffit accented with circular recesses, round display pedestals, and blue and orange painted accents. The team integrated the lighting scheme into these architectural features, producing a custom look without having to spend money on costly fixtures. While the prototype variations were each different, designed to meet a variety of needs for the roll out, the designers specified a core group of fixtures, which could be used flexibly with the architecture. These included CFL downlights, LED covelights, MR16 metal halides for perimeter display tables, and T5 fluorescent strips in coves and in valances in the counters.

The prototypes also had to be designed to meet the energy codes of multiple states, presenting the designers with the task of developing a set of standards that could easily be interpreted and used by architects that they would never meet. “We used the International Energy Conservation Code, which is a simplified version of ASHREA 90.1,” O'Connor says. The team was able to get the lighting power density down to 1.7 watts per square foot. “That's on the low side of what you typically find in retail stores, but it's a fair number,” O'Connor continues. “Ultimately our goal was to have the design meet every state's energy code but in such a way that we didn't have to compromise the design aesthetic, and 1.7W met that goal.”


Project: AT&T Experience Retail Prototype, multiple locations

Client: AT&T

Architect/Interior Designer: Callison, Seattle

Lighting Designer: Sean O'Connor Lighting, Beverly Hills, Calif.

Project Size: 4,500 square feet

Watts Per Square Foot: 1.7

Energy Code Compliance: ASHREA 90.1