Whether sitting in a second-floor meeting space or entering the lobby, it’s impossible not to notice the playful lighting fixtures at Dot Foods, Inc. Even at night, passersby can appreciate the circular fixtures visible through the two-story glass windows of its Mt. Sterling, Ill. location.
While the name might not sound familiar to the average consumer, Dot Foods is the country’s largest redistributor in the food industry. Over the past two years, it has been undergoing both an expansion and renovation of its headquarters. The main lobby is the latest area to get an upgrade, and since it is the first point of contact for many entering the facility, it had to make an instant impression.
St. Louis-based architectural firm Christner, Inc., was entrusted with reimagining the space for functionality as well as visual impact. Part of the challenge was to accommodate more staff, organize the lobby’s public areas, and extend the color palette from a previously completed extension into the remodeled lobby — all while developing an updated aesthetic for the future.
The first order in the design plan was to incorporate the Dot Foods branding into the experience, using the company’s oval blue logo shape on the carpet. Then came the lighting design. With two floors of glass from floor to ceiling filling the lobby with natural daylight, illuminating the tall lobby presented its own unique challenges. Shades were specifically chosen to control glare coming in from the natural light. The previously existing black metal grids spanning the ceilings were removed to make the space feel more vaulted, and old linear sconces mounted high on the round pilasters were removed. In addition, the initial plan to illuminate the space from the perimeter of the room was changed to instead install decorative lighting fixtures as a centerpiece.
The search for just the right lighting fixtures for the project culminated with the choice of Cycle by Eureka Lighting, headquartered in Montreal, Canada. [Eureka is part of Luminaires Group, a North American lighting manufacturer platform that includes brands a•light in California; Cyclone in Canada; Luminus in Montreal; and Luminaire LED in New Jersey.]
“We wanted to tie the lighting design into the brand in this tight semi-circular area,” says Grace Corbin, senior associate with Christner. “The various sizes and finishes of Cycle enabled us to make the scheme more compelling.”
A total of nine Cycle fixtures are used to illuminate the lobby in three different sizes (36-, 54-, and 72-inch diameters) and a mix of White Matte and Black finishes to produce a dynamic feel. Since Cycle can be mounted straight or angled, Corbin and the Christner team decided to suspend the fixtures at varying angles across the upper space — a deliberate move to coordinate with the Dot Foods brand. The effect is both playful and powerful. The outer reflector of each fixture provides evenly diffused direct/indirect illumination to create luminous halos for a strong statement across the upper expanse of the lobby.
“The fixtures of varying sizes, finishes, and angles were carefully ‘scattered’ over the large inset blue oval carpet,” Corbin recalls. “Looking up, they all appear as ovals since they are placed at varying angles. It enlivens the lobby.”
The circular design aesthetic is carried through to other areas of the building, such as three upper-floor meetings rooms that overlook the lobby and can be seen from the ground below. There are also additional Cycle luminaires in a soft seating area and in a special main floor meeting space.
Beyond aesthetics, the luminaires are built for functionality. The custom-designed and manufactured light engine in Cycle features a high-performance, discreet LED that ensures a long life and low maintenance for the Dot Foods facilities team.
“Cycle animates the space and Dot Foods’ employees see the luminaires as a special design feature in their new lobby,” Corbin notes. “It is a joyful experience seeing the playful fixtures against the clerestory windows and the graphic timeline of the company’s history around the soffit. At night, the Cycle fixtures can be seen in the windows from the road.”
Client: Dot Foods, Inc.
Location: Mt. Sterling, Illinois
Architect: Grace Corbin, Christner, Inc., St. Louis, Mo.
Lighting Manufacturer: Eureka Lighting, Montreal, Quebec
Eureka Agent: Lighting Associates
Completed: April 2019
Photographer: Ben Romang