lighting for high-ceiling windowless office?

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Old 09-19-12, 11:29 PM
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lighting for high-ceiling windowless office?

Hello and thanks for looking.

I have an opportunity to join a new professional group. One thing I'm not thrilled about is that the offices are in the middle of the building and don't have windows. They also have 18' ceilings. There are offices above so no practical way to punch in skylights. Right now there are just a couple of standard industrial fluorescents with low kelvin bulbs.

I can get any kind of lights I want but am not up on the latest technology. I'd need to address:

  • how to get a good, natural light spectrum for visibility
  • how to keep the room visually appealing for myself and clients and
  • how to get light focused on the work area from two stories up.

My current thinking is that I'd probably get a hanging fixture to drop down for illuminating the whole room and a desk lamp along with a couple torchieres -- but I'm not married to it. Wall sconces are probably further out of the picture because of the wiring and switches but I could be talked into that too.

I'm out of the office a lot and am not chained to the desk when there so I can still get some vitamin D. The lobby is a storefront with full windows so I can even read on the couch with a laptop.

Any ideas on how to make the office more ergo-friendly would be appreciated. I'd have to pay for it all but as long as it didn't involve knocking down walls, the improvements would be my call. The lease runs a few years but there are options on other space in the complex. For now, it is what it is and not a deal-killer if the operational issues can be be resolved. I've seen some very attractive DIY LED strip fixtures on the web. FWIW, in a former (very former) life I was a builder and electrical contractor and have a full woodshop to make almost anything I can get in my mind's eye. Unfortunately, there are many times more hits on plants for no-window offices than there are ideas for light fixtures -- especially for that high up.

Thanks for your help, sh
 
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Old 09-20-12, 04:53 AM
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I might suggest looking at something like a low bay fluorescent or LED type fixture. It would halp to know the intended usage of the space.

Ligting for work areas that need additional light would be better provided by task lighting closer to the work.
 
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Old 09-20-12, 06:30 AM
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Hi, this is an executive office for research, meeting clients and paperwork. I spend a lot of time looking at this computer with two big screens and I have a 40" TV that I use as an auxiliary monitor for presentations. The smaller of the two spaces available is 12X18' -- so the ceiling is as high as the room is long. The other is the same with a nook that's maybe 3X6'.

This is not urgent. I'd like to get it done pretty quickly if we come to terms on the business deal but the office is useable but for some cables in the wall. It is a new building. The paint is a seasick green that will probably be redone with something less, well, green. My usual office decor is fairly Spartan and designed around an 8' ceiling. That may need to be rethought. There may be some advantages but I'd hate to make it feel like the bottom of an elevator shaft.

Thanks again for looking and please add your ideas, sh
 
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Old 09-20-12, 10:52 AM
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how to get a good, natural light spectrum for visibility... My current thinking is that I'd probably get a hanging fixture to drop down for illuminating the whole room
Some attractive hanging fluorescent strips with high-Kelvin lamps sound like a good way to lower the appearance of the room and provide natural spectrum general lighting. I'd get 6500[SUP]o[/SUP] K lamps (often labeled "daylight").
 
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Old 09-20-12, 12:23 PM
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Have you considered a drop ceiling? You could even go with stamped design metal panels. Not as boring as acoustical tiles and with built in fluorescents and maybe a few cans should solve your lighting needs. You wouldn't need to go as low as 8 feet just low enough to help with the lighting problem. Here is one exanple of the ceiling panels I mean. Tin Ceilings and Accessories
 
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Old 09-20-12, 01:46 PM
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A drop ceiling just makes it a short windowless room. Although, the two 4-bulb 4' fluorescents in there now don't quite seem to reach to the floor -- like they were designed to be most effective 5 feet below the fixture. In deference to my advancing years, I'd like to not get extra headaches, put up with 60hz blinking or have my clients feel uncomfortable.

Attached is a picture I pinched off the web that looks interesting. It uses flexible strip LEDs. The ballast is in the ceiling attachment fixture up top. A matching dimmer switch replaces the on/off. Something like that would break up the vertical space and I'd enjoy slapping it together. Need to check how stout the joists are but probably not an issue. That and a SAD-type desk lamp should be a good start. I thought about torchieres or sconces but it might make things look too Nurembergy if the light climbs the walls.

Thanks again for looking. sh
 
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Old 09-20-12, 02:15 PM
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The reflections on the ceiling and wall are hideous in that photo, so think about that before you purchase.

I'd recommend you go to google images and search for:

architectural suspended fluorescent light fixtures

You will get some ideas of what looks sheikh and what doesn't.

I don't know what the style of your office space is like (Spartan doesn't conjure up any mental images) , but if you are interested in anything that's modern-retroish, look up the H.E. Williams ST Series, Model ST-WB. I worked in a downtown office where they had something that looked similar to this and it gave you the feel of being in the 1920's or something. Double bulb and about 8 ft long. Super cool.

A more modern example: Cooper lighting NeoRay Suspended Architectural Nuage 301-IP

A fusion of modern and retro: Lithonia AVSM - Avante Architectural Linear Fluorescent Fixture

Personally I think the ones with multiple diffusers are cool. For some reason it reminds me of being in the dime store as a kid. Some of these lights actually look good with exposed conduit and junction boxes, so don't rule that out... it's all part of the look.

I'm just a carpenter, but I'm sure a professional designer could point you in the right direction with your workspace.
 
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Old 09-20-12, 07:00 PM
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Thanks, those are just the kinds of ideas I'm looking for. Lot of variables in a tall office. The upside is that it has more cubic feet than any office I've had before
 
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Old 09-21-12, 02:25 PM
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Since this is an office setting, I would recommend a suspended ceiling as well, 18' is just too high for anything. Then, if you want a more "office" feel, install 2'x4' lay in fixtures. A parabolic or some indirect lay in fixtures would give you the most light for the least money. I would not recommend 6500K lamps unless you want a blue room. I suggest going 4100K max.

If you want more of a "home office" feel, install can lights. You could then install a dimmer to set the light to the level you want and go LED too.

I have also seen where they install a black suspended ceiling grid, but no tile. This brings the light down where you want it but still leaves the "open" feel of the room. However, the costs of having an open ceiling increases greatly.
 
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Old 09-22-12, 04:14 PM
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That is one of the reasons I starting working around the idea of a large, suspended fixture. It would break-up the vertical space in addition to providing the illumination. Although XSleeper is right about the Tim Burton shadows.

So there are at least three dynamics:

1) Gotta be able to see. That's why I think a mix of gas activated and filaments make it better than either by itself. 5k-ish maybe.
2) I'd like to do something overhead to not make it seem like puppies in a box.
3) Lighting will do more than anything to make it feel right. Not just for me. I have 5-8 client meetings a week and they have to feel at home. Maybe this is the domain of psychology rather than electrons but the mood has to be relaxed and comfortable.

I could be making more of this than I should but I've scoured the web for hours and can't find anything but short puff-pieces on how to make a high, windowless space into a professional business office.

Keep those ideas coming and thanks for your thoughts. sh
 
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