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Commercial Applications

Case study: Emporio Armani

Emporio Armani’s innovative design features a “floating staircase” that relies on lighting for its mystique. Cold cathode lights shine up from underneath, making the stairs appear to float. These and other dramatic effects are accomplished using the Lutron GRAFIK Eye® 4000 Series of preset light controls.

The challenge:

To achieve balance and a seamless look for high profile retail application. Lighting designers and owners wanted the space to look like it just happened without a great deal of thought or effort. The idea was that lighting should be subtle and unnoticed, simply doing its job: featuring merchandise.
Emporio Armani Pathway

Project requirements:

  • Lighting changes should be subtle and unnoticed and highlight true hues and tones of merchandise
  • System should be able to handle multiple zones of light from an easy-to-use, organized central control
  • Lighting control system should be able to handle various lighting sources and loads to maintain the clean look of store design


Emily Monato, a principal with Renee Cooley Lighting Design Inc. in New York City, began work on Toronto’s Emporio Armani store with architects S. Russell Groves in New York City and found that they had a vision: a clean, simple space acting as a backdrop to the Armani line of clothing.
Emporio Armani

The two-story 6,000 square foot store is located on the fashionable Bloor Street West. To maintain the balance of lighting in this unique space it was necessary to create three neighborhoods of lighting for each floor – front, center, and back. Easy, flexible control was extremely important since lighting needs change from hour to hour based on the amount of light entering the store through the 22-foot high front window and skylight.

Display areas around the perimeter of the store are recessed into the walls. Fluorescent lighting is hidden within each niche, so the entire wall is self-lighted. In addition, each display niche has track lights tucked into ceiling coves that spotlight the merchandise. On the floor, displays and mannequins are spotlighted separately by recessed multi-head luminaires. The lighting design specifies that circulation areas are darker and not specifically lighted, so the emphasis remains on the displays, a feature easily accomplished with a lighting control system.

Emporio Armani Showcase
When the full lighting plan was completed, there were about 24 zones of light on the main level and another 12 zones on the second floor. For that many zones, with all the variations of lighting essential to the plan, an easy-to-operate light control system was the only option. They chose the Lutron GRAFIK Eye 4000 Series of preset lighting controls.

Because the ambient light is so different from one area of the store to the next, Monato had the added challenge of figuring out how to make sure the article of clothing’s hue remained the same as a customer walked from a display to a mirror or the dressing room. With the chosen system, various light levels could be maintained.

With all the different types of sources necessary to achieve a consistent bank of color for merchandise displays, it was crucial to install a system that could handle all these types and loads to maintain the clean look of the design. According to Gregory Lord, electrical engineering designer for MCW Consultants Ltd. in Toronto, the Lutron system was the only one that could handle so many kinds of lighting and combine them in the same zones.

The system makes it possible to program the lights into different preset scenes for different times of day and special events. All the lighting changes are easy and, more importantly, consistent, no matter who gets there first in the morning.

“The system is great – the lighting is set up so we can change the scenes ourselves with the touch of a button,” said Tanya Newman, store manager.

GRAFIK Eye 4000 Coordinate all of a room’s features with the GRAFIK Eye 4000 for complete control at the touch of a button.
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Products used in this project GRAFIK Eye 4000 XPS

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