Watt Plaza, USA

November 19, 2021

Canadian-based lighting studio Archilume were brought in by Studios Architecture to create a stunning lighting installation for the Watt Plaza. With sustainability and efficiency in mind, Archilume’s piece uses low consumption LED pendants to create the dramatic effect. 

First designed in the 1980s by architect Gin Wong, the lobby of the Watt Plaza building located in Century City, California called for a major renovation and the new design was completed in 2020. At 17,000sqft, Studios Architecture has revealed a stunning, flexible light-filled space nearly six times the original size. Watt Plaza was the first LEED Platinum-certified office high-rise building in Century City.

Central to this space is the lobby’s lighting feature. The original design by Studios Architecture called for a large decorative light display made up of a multitude of small pendants. Lighting design specialists Banks Landl Lighting Design (previously Hiram Banks Lighting Design) were brought on board the project. A variety of fixture types, sizes, and shapes were explored, with the design team finally landing on the desired solution. The result is a striking constellation of 350 luminaires in a single fixture from the Canadian lighting studio, Archilume. 

“Given this element is the focal point of the project, the feature needed to maintain a certain mass for it to carry the stature it would need in the space. If the design only used say 50 fixtures due to budget or another factor, the impact would have been far less. The density and scale of the installation make this feature a success,” says Matthew Landl, Banks Landl Lighting Design.

A project of this magnitude certainly had its challenges. Once the number of luminaires had been decided and a design solution had been created, labour and installation became the primary focus so the design was constructible. BLLD designed a template system for the overall 15x19ft ceiling cove area with which the contractor could simply layout the mounting points and required wiring. This was a critical component to the overall design success of the installation as the pattern needed to be exact and simple enough for the installation to be efficient, but random enough for the overall mass to look unified. 

“We’re thrilled to have worked with BLLD and Studios Architecture. Not only did this design project truly tap into our core design philosophy, it showcases the breadth of our product capabilities,” says Saleem Khattak, Archilume. 

The design includes new energy-efficient glass, sustainably sourced materials, low-flow fixtures, new energy saving cool roofing over the rotunda, and LED lighting. By using Archilume’s P1 LED, low wattage, low output fixture, but doing so in a large, focalised quantity, it allowed for the surrounding connective spaces to have reduced power consumption, effectively allowing for the space to remain energy efficient and preserve resources.