Commercial Applications

Case study: Allsteel showroom

Iowa-based office furniture manufacturer Allsteel was opening a new showroom in San Francisco, and it needed a light control system flexible enough to adapt to a constantly evolving show space. Because the facility was shooting for LEED Silver certification, the light controls had to deliver substantial energy savings. The company selected a combination of Lutron EcoSystem , RadioTouch, LCP128 and Sivoia QED shades to form a complete solution for managing the electric light and daylight in the space.

When Allsteel’s corporate customers enter the furniture maker’s new 13,500 square-foot showroom in San Francisco, a vital part of the sales force’s job is accomplished imperceptibly with light. The lighting exudes a warm, welcoming aura and, with subtle differences in illumination, guides visitors along pathways, directing their attention to Allsteel’s latest offerings.

“Lighting is incredibly important to us,” said Tim Smith, Vice President of Resource Center Development for Allsteel. “It provides the ‘Wow!’ in demonstrating our products.”

Smith said the new showroom needed a lighting system that not only beautifully showcased Allsteel’s products to enhance the customers’ perceptions of quality — including fit and finish — but had to be flexible enough to adapt to changes in marketing needs or product offerings. “Based on a number of business factors, we have shifting priorities for where we want our customers to focus their time and attention,” said Smith. “Installing a flexible lighting control system that can adapt as we adapt was mandatory for us.”

Allsteel Open Office
The new showroom more than doubles the square footage Allsteel previously occupied, and features largely open space anchored by a full-height wall running north to south through the building. The wall defines a wide entry area and serves as a connective commons leading to three wings of the gallery.

To accomplish the lighting design strategy, electrical engineering firm GLUMAC, along with Gensler, San Francisco, proposed a four-point solution using Lutron products. The Lutron EcoSystem fluorescent light control solution is the primary lighting system in the space. A light control panel, LCP128, manages display and signage lighting along with sun-tracking time clock capabilities. Sivoia QED roller 200CW automated shade system, which is designed specifically for curtain wall applications, is in place along the windows. Finally, the wireless radio-frequency control RadioTouch controls the lights in an all-glass boardroom.

The whole solution is centered around daylight and draws from the structure’s east-west orientation. This has allowed Allsteel to use the abundant daylight pouring through the sizable windows for the duration of the day, enhancing showroom aesthetics and increasing energy savings.

“The lighting controls are a key to allowing the system to respond to the amount of daylight available, minimizing energy consumption for the various activities that happen in the space,” said Collin Burry, design director, Workspace Studio, Gensler, San Francisco. “The shades allow for easy, centralized sun control. Even when down, they allow for an appropriate amount of daylight when desired.”

Eco-friendly considerations were a primary motivation behind the design decisions for Allsteel. The project was initiated with the goal of achieving LEED CI Silver certification. “Because we host many different types of influencers, such as architectural design firms, we needed components that demonstrate both our sensibilities for the leading design trends of the moment and our corporate commitment to the environment,” said Smith. According to Smith, the Lutron products helped achieve those objectives.

The LCP128 is a combination dimming and switching system featuring pre-set light settings called “scenes.” According to a light controls consultant for the project, Gregor Stewart of Associated Lighting Representatives, Inc., “the Lutron LCP128 enables and controls all types of electric light throughout the showroom and back-of-house spaces, mostly low- voltage halogen in this case.”
Allsteel Lighting Design

LCP128 also manages occupancy sensors distributed throughout several areas in compliance with California’s Title 24 energy code. And, like EcoSystem, LCP128 can be integrated with other building management systems to achieve impressive energy-saving results. For this building, the Lutron light solution was designed and assembled to reduce and maintain the lighting power density 25% below the already stringent Title 24 energy requirements.

The EcoSystem fluorescent lighting component employs digitally addressable dimming ballasts to integrate a variety of state-of-the-art technologies, including daylight and occupant sensing, personal control and low-voltage wall control stations. EcoSystem alone has proved capable of reducing a building’s lighting energy consumption by more than 60%. EcoSystem is used primarily for wall washing the front entry commons.

Directly across is the main entry curtain wall outfitted with Sivoia QED roller shades. The two systems act to provide dynamic control of both electric light and daylight.

“We are bathing this key feature wall in light — passively and automatically with virtually no effort on anyone’s part — keeping it bright and visible at all hours but without the typical wasted energy,” said Stewart of ALR. “It also really helps to bring architects, interior designers and facility managers here to visualize how important daylight-management can be in work environments.”

The Allsteel showroom design team brought significant green building experience and knowledge to the project. As with any construction venture, costs were a primary focal point. “The goal was to spend the same amount and obtain LEED certification on this showroom as others that had been built pre-LEED,” said Burry. “The team needed to be very creative to balance all the requirements and deliver a wonderful design solution. Energy consumption was a huge consideration.”

Burry said his firm’s main objective was to provide Allsteel “with a flexible, sustainably designed showroom that makes their products the ‘hero’ and reflects who they are as an organization.”

Allsteel Shading System
Allsteel is leasing a classic modernist, stand-alone, single-story building erected in the mid-1960’s, located in downtown San Francisco’s Embarcadero Maritime Plaza complex. The magnificent setting of the building, surrounded by iconic San Francisco structures and large floor-to-ceiling views provided the ideal context for a major contract furniture manufacturer.


The showroom’s dramatic outward views include the Ferry Building and the Bay Bridge. Inside, the product display areas are open and unencumbered to allow for easy reconfiguration of the setting over time. Allsteel decided the building would undergo a complete renovation, but would follow the strategy of using the structure as a finish, expressing the corporation’s minimalist approach to the use of materials in general.

Allsteel’s facility manager in San Francisco, Del Edeson, said the space “serves as ‘ground zero’ for the vast majority of interaction between our sales team, our dealers, and subsequently the end-users of our product,” and it is also the hub for tours for architectural and design schools, and for social activities for the company.

Edeson said the advanced Lutron products enhance Allsteel’s reputation with key players. “Because we actively seek out relationships with the design community, it is essential that we present an environment which is not only aesthetically forward - it is equally important we project an affinity toward new technology,” Edeson said.

The task of engineering these four sophisticated products into one operable and integrated system fell to the engineering firm GLUMAC, San Francisco. GLUMAC principal Rick Thomas said, “The lighting sources chosen for this product showroom were selected to transform the area into a vibrant space, with the option of accentuating one specific area over another when needed. The Lutron systems were the ultimate in flexibility and control for everyone concerned: the designer, the engineer, the installer, and the end-user. I would like to work with them more.”

A visitor to the showroom is first greeted by the large LED-illuminated backlit letters of the facility’s exterior signage, which is governed by the Lutron LCP128 switching and dimming panel. The sign responds appropriately to the transition from daylight to twilight.

Similarly, the LCP128 modulates light levels from the north to the south ends of showroom, enhancing shadows and highlighting and accenting the beauty and geometric form of the space with managed daylight, as the sun moves up, over, and across the building. Gentle shifts in lighting levels occur without distraction, while maintaining optimal light levels and conserving energy.

From north to south, EcoSystem automatically balances fluorescent light fixtures with daylight throughout the commons and main gallery, responding to the east-west movement of the sun throughout the day. The dimmed fluorescent light sources also optimize white light and maintain consistent color rendering throughout the full range of dimming, while simultaneously saving energy and maximizing the aesthetic appeal of the showroom.

The radio-frequency RadioTouch controls installed in the main conference vignette smoothly and gracefully transition the space from one scene to another: “Meeting,” “A/V Presentation,” “Display,” with wireless tabletop controls. Sales representatives and dealers easily and intuitively adjust the room’s light scenes without interruption or confusion, allowing meetings and presentations with clients to flow seamlessly.

The Sivoia QED shades balance and manage daylight to bring bold emphasis to products and building architectural details while preventing the unwelcome effects of heat gain and direct sunlight on fabrics and furnishings, and bringing comfort to the people in the space.

The design of Allsteel showrooms throughout North America salute the local community in which they are located. In the San Francisco showroom, a customer lounge, dubbed the Red Room, is dotted with illuminated keyholes, made of glass acrylic panels that fit in front of a light box. Visitors can peek inside and view witty quotes from San Francisco notables. It’s a playful touch that underscores the quality of the Allsteel brand—and the importance of light in telling the company’s impressive story.

LCP128 Easy to design, install, and program, LCP128 is an easily configured lighting management system that offers automated presets and simple end-user control of all dimming and switching on a job.
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Products used in this project
RadioTouch LCP128 Sivoia QED

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