Allston, MA and Waltham, MA
Store Design, 2004
There is probably no more visually chaotic retail experience than shopping for lighting. Our solution for Wolfers was to orchestrate the chaos. Lighting showrooms have huge inventories—from flush mounted fixtures to wall sconces to crystal chandeliers. Lighting lines a driveway, illuminates a garden and spotlights a hallway. Wolfers is designed to help the consumer find what she’s looking for in a modern, spare, user-friendly environment.
Early on in the design process, we discovered that most showrooms were selling fixtures, or hardware, rather than light quality. We employed a low voltage switching system on all the fixtures that only allowed one fixture in a collection to be lit. The customer, standing at a console, controls which fixture is lit. Because all the other nearby fixtures are turned off, the customer can see the quality of light from a given fixture. This system insures that the showroom is not overlit, as most lighting showrooms are. These stores—other than having a significant amount of natural light—have low light levels.
In both stores we exposed the existing structural system and painted it a dark color to serve as background as you look up at the lighting. Wood “clouds”, sized to house a single collection of hanging fixtures, create the ceiling datum. The space is defined by a grid comprising a series of pivoting panels and perforated aluminum screens. The panels allow for flexibility; the screens are used to showcase a collection without closing off the rest of the store. Lighting labs ring the perimeter of the showroom and are interactive. The selling station is decentralized and replaced with a series of workspaces that allow close interaction between sales consultant and customer.