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The Fetzer Institute

Prize(s) Winners in Workplace Lighting Design
Company Smithgroup
Lead Designers Paige Donnell
Other Designer's names Paul Urbanek
Client The Fetzer Institute
Photo Credits Justin Maconochie
Completion Date 2022
Project Location Kalamazoo, Michigan
Entry Description

This non-profit institute who focuses on building the spiritual foundation for a loving world underwent a renovation of their existing equilateral triangular-shaped administration building.

The lighting concept Revealing Legacy empowers and enforces notions of inclusivity, awareness, and open dialogue by highlighting the warmth and texture of materiality and seamlessly integrating concealed lighting treatments within architecture.

The design parti was tasked to create the sensation of “lightness within” in a completely non-daylit, wood-clad environment. Challenges on this project included coordinating custom integrations between multiple fabricators, maintenance-focused detailing, scale, and product limitations, and mimicking the essence of daylight with electric lighting.

The convening room features custom designed and fabricated edge-lit acrylic panels that diffuse light from an LED source concealed above the ceiling. The realized effect evokes the sensation of daylight emerging through a tent-like form, amplified by the dynamic spiral play of veiling, and revealing illuminated panels. A newly added exhibit space features the owner’s legacy, highlighting key storytelling features with a playful spin.

This renovation will rebrand the Institute with a design which emphasizes the group’s established elegance while paying homage to their unique processes.