Commercial Applications

Case study: Diners Club International headquarters

When Filippo Cannata was asked to design the lighting for the high profile headquarters of The Diners Club International (DCI) in Rome, his main objective was to achieve harmony by creating a lighting scheme that had impact but could also be used in a working environment.

Cannata & Partners, an independent lighting design firm based in Benevento and Milan, is known for its style and ability to apply innovative lighting designs to large-scale buildings — an essential background in tackling the Diners Club project. Underlining his credentials, Cannata received the 1998 GE Edison Award of Merit, and has concentrated mainly on outdoor architectural lighting, specifically historical monuments, often working with noted architects and famous artists.

Diners Club Headquarters Conference Room
Studio Cannata & Partners has used Lutron products for a number of projects, and Lutron is now the preferred supplier of light control systems for the company’s lighting design work, whether the project is focused on public or private commercial buildings, or on garden and park lighting.

The DCI building is located on the banks of the river Tiber in Rome and was originally designed by famed Italian architect Mario De Renzi in 1935. The 9-story building, totaling 5,600 sq. meters, includes offices, a reception hall, meeting rooms, executive offices, dining halls and a hall which is used to showcase works of art. When the building underwent extensive restoration in 1999, lighting was deemed to be one of the most crucial elements of the project. With its riverside location, ensuring the building was as impressive on the outside as it is on the inside was an important aspect to be taken into consideration for the design team, as was the fact that three of the buildings nine floors are below ground level.

As Cannata says, “The location and history of this prestigious building, as well as the importance of events to be held at the Diners Club, made it paramount to have a flexible lighting system which would primarily enhance the architectural importance of the building, but also function reliably, whatever the demands of the lighting design. The Diners Club is one of Rome’s many famous modern landmarks, and the lighting design project was to provide a challenge in the sense that retaining the building's unique identity was a prerequisite.”

Studio Cannata & Partners designed the lighting project for the whole building, including the impressive interior of the ground floor reception hall.

Cannata says: “The most arduous task was meeting the lighting requirements for each individual room whilst creating an overall design that could complement the high architectural standards of a building whose facade looks out onto the Tiber embankment in bustling downtown Rome.”
Diners Club Headquarters Lobby

As a result, the lighting design project features a sophisticated control system capable of creating dynamic light effects. The system is most effective where lighting effects need to be changed quickly and easily to reflect the purpose of the room. The building houses executive workspaces, with communal reception halls doubling up as art galleries as well as areas for conducting general meetings and rooms for dinner engagements.

In some of the building’s rooms, such as the reception hall on the ground floor, controlling the intensity of individual light sources made it possible to achieve the balance required to fully enhance architectural features. The lighting control system installed in the DCI building is built around the proven Lutron
GRAFIK Eye 3000 and GRAFIK Eye 4000 series of preset dimming controls.

“We used lighting controls from Lutron throughout the building because they are easily integrated with many different light sources, as well as being flexible and reliable enough to create the desired lighting effect for such a complex project,” said Cannata.

The lighting control system was installed in public areas such as the reception hall, meeting rooms, dining hall, executive offices, and the underground call center.

Diners Club Headquarters Reception Desk
These spaces all have specific purposes that require very different lighting levels, so the ability to create lighting scenes at different locations within the building was vital. A further requirement of the systems was that they needed to be user-friendly and easy to program because a large number of people would have to be able to operate them on a regular basis and for different activities.

GRAFIK Eye can be easily programmed and preset so minimal user intervention is required and the control panels can be locked so that preset scenes are not accidentally erased from the lighting system. Preset scenes are ideal for multipurpose rooms such as meeting rooms that are used for A/V presentations or special events such as galas or dinners where lighting levels may need to be altered for dancing or dining. The lights can even be controlled by a time clock to change automatically throughout the day if required, a function that Cannata has utilized heavily over many years of working with Lutron products.

GRAFIK Eye is an extremely functional and versatile light control—its sequencing feature can be used to good effect in areas such as the art hall to highlight different works of art and seamlessly guide people around exhibits. For larger rooms that have moveable partition walls, GRAFIK Eye has a space partitioning feature that can control spaces independently when the walls are closed, or together when the walls are open. This is ideal for presentations that progress into an evening event where dancing is a must.

The end result is a lighting design that mirrors the diversity of the building itself. The number of sources and effects that combine to produce one of Rome’s most memorable lighting installations is testament to both Cannata’s creativity and experience, and the capability of the GRAFIK series of light control systems.