Lighting design for the University of Pennsylvania’s Pennovation Center/US
Photos: JP Lira
Focus Lighting was commissioned to design the lighting at the University of Pennsylvania’s new Pennovation Center, a 58,000 sq. ft. innovation and research facility dedicated to entrepreneurs, researchers, and inventors. Strategically arranged fluorescent lighting compliments the building’s geometric architecture and industrial aesthetic, while referencing elements from the landscape design to create a fully cohesive visual experience.
A nod to the 20th-century paint factory which previously occupied the building, fluorescent fixtures reinforce Hollwich Kushner’s industrial-inspired design. Each lighting detail is a direct response to the architecture’s celebratory and functional intentions. “The building has a communicative nature that inspires creativity in isolated work as much as it encourages collaboration. We wanted the lighting design to build on that personality and influence,” says lead lighting designer, JP Lira.
A rhythmic arrangement of (66) chevron fluorescents above the first floor’s central corridor gently ushers visitors to exits on either end of the building. Those exiting at the south end will notice a similar chevron pattern in the courtyard’s black and white pavers, a small detail that creates cohesiveness between the interior and exterior designs. Communal desk spaces along the second floor’s central corridor are illuminated with spinally arranged fluorescent fixtures – referencing the Pennovation Center’s connection to mechanics and robotics. Fluorescents above the central bleachers, “The Heart”, are artfully configured to help inspire creative thinking and conversation. Surface-mounted adjustable LED accents were integrated above the bleachers to accommodate different presentation settings.
Considering the long, often late-night working hours of many Pennovation Center occupants, an outdoor courtyard offers a place to unwind. The courtyard lighting creates a warm, pleasant atmosphere in contrast with the interior’s working environment. Forty-nine pattern projectors create a dappled moonlight effect across the plaza and courtyard, while a catenary of string lights mounted to eight 15 and 30-foot poles creates an added layer of warmth.
The Pennovation Center’s lighting design combines with its architecture to create the perfect balance of informal social areas and practical workspaces – an ideal collaborative environment for the innovators, entrepreneurs, and inventors who will occupy the building.
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