Charles Loomis Blog
June 11th, 2012
Thought you might like to see our latest custom lighting installation in a new upscale Suchi restaurant at the Snoqualmie Casino located in beautiful Snoqualmie, Washington. Bernadette Rubio of Mulvanny G2 Architecture was the Interior Designer and Lauren MacLeod of Candela was the Lighting Designer.
The restaurant’s name is “12 Moons”. For this installation, we were asked to create decorative “moon” and “star pendants. The moons are hand painted acrylic globes in assorted sizes, colors, and textures. The “Stars” are small hand blown glass balls encrusted with glittery glass frit. They’re illuminated with sparkly LED lamps. Here’s a photo of the installation – nice, don’t you think?!
For the Private Dining area, the Interior Designer, Bernadette Rubio, loved the look of the Ochre Arctic Pear Chandelier. Unfortunately, it wasn’t available from the manufacturer in the size, configuration, and lead time she wanted. She asked us to create something similar. Here’s our interpretation. Our glass artist created solid glass pears in three different sizes for this gorgeous chandelier.
This fixture is installed in the Casino’s new piano bar. It’s a custom value-engineered version of our popular Pallina Pendant. This simple yet elegant pendant features a hand polished Stainless Steel finish with a cascade of crystal clear blown glass globes.
April 26th, 2011
In March 2011, Architectural SSL Magazine selected the Palisade LED sconce by Charles Loomis, Inc. to receive their highest honor – the Platinum Award for the best Decorative LED Lighting Fixture. The Pia’11 Award is a huge tribute for all companies involved with Solid State Lighting. We are well known for designing and manufacturing decorative light fixtures. This award demonstrates that LED light sources are not just bright and energy efficient – they can be beautiful too.
The scope of the contest was international, and its fifteen judges are respected experts in Solid State Components, Lighting, and Design. Jim Crockett, the Editor of Architectural SSL Magazine stated the Pia’11 Award’s mission was to “sort out the products that show the greatest promise across a wide field of functions.”
We aren’t a newcomer to LED technology. Years ago, when Color Kinetics first introduced color changing LEDs, Charles Loomis, took a huge risk and incorporated them into his revolutionary design for the Sheraton Seattle’s ballroom fixtures. They still look fantastic today. In ensuing years, LED’s went through an insanely dysfunctional period of growth and uncertainty. Chip manufacturers churned out LEDs that weren’t suitable for use in decorative lighting fixtures. They were untrustworthy, and visually unattractive. During this period, Charles Loomis, Inc., steered clear of LED technology for these reasons and because there was no guarantee replacements would be available when or if the lamps failed.
Good news!!! LEDs are finally “looking good” and are much more reliable. Reputable component manufacturers offer attractive standardized options and clear specifications have been established. Barriers to creating new designs for Decorative Lighting still exist. The cost to UL or ETL list a new LED sconce is ranges from $6,900.00 to $12,000.00, the components are expensive, and there are still lots of inferior products on the market. Despite these obstacles, Charles Loomis, believes LEDs have surmounted the “ugly” barrier and will become standard in our lives.
In 2008 and 2009 Charles used LEDs to illuminate lighting fixtures for two major installations. He created massive glass chandeliers for the Bellevue Hyatt Regency and a gorgeous free-form glass chandelier for the entry to the Bravern in Bellevue, Washington. You can’t tell they are illuminated with LEDs, but the people that own and maintain them are saving lots of money.
Architectural SSL Magazine’s pia’11 award is validation that Charles Loomis, Inc. is a serious contender in the LED arena. It also confirms Charles Loomis’ belief that LEDs can now be used as a viable alternative to incandescent lamps in Decorative Lighting. Woo hoo!
July 9th, 2010
I visited Chicago, NeoCon, and the Bright Showroom for the first time in June – WOW!. NeoCon is an annual extravaganza staged to introduce new commercial products such as chairs, office systems, flooring, and lighting. It is held in Chicago’s magnificent Art Deco Merchandise Mart. Thousands of Designers, Architects, and “Lookie Lous” attend. The only drawback to this event is the building’s wacko elevators. Some work and some don’t and it’s a celebration when one appears.
The showrooms were gorgeous as were the attendees. Everyone out there in cyberland should know that American companies are producing beautiful quality products worth saving for and buying.
Charles Loomis, Cindy Bullard, and I went to NeoCon to represent our company in the Bright Group’s Showroom. Our lighting is installed in their fresh modern Chicago, New York, Boston, and Dallas Showrooms. Their company name, “The Bright Group”, describes their employees to a tee – they are bright and engaging. If you are looking for quality contemporary furniture – check them out – their products are fabulous. Here are photos we took of the Bright Group team and the Chicago showroom with our lighting fixtures — of course.
Kim Selent – Inside Residential Sales (top left), Julie Turner – Outside Sales with Ben Ward – Intern (middle left), Katie Butry & Nancy Greiger – Regional Manager (middle right), Doug Levine – Showroom & Furniture Designer (bottom right)
On our last day, we had the pleasure of exploring downtown Chicago. It was raining, hot, and steamy. We got drenched! One could say we literally and physically immersed ourselves in Chicago. We sampled its famous foods, met its friendly people, ogled the dead fish in Lake Michigan, and had a great time. I hope you enjoy our pictures – Chicago’s Millennium Park is wonderful and so is Gino’s Pizza. Cindy Bullard, our National Sales Representative, is smiling because she loves the humidity.
March 24th, 2010
Can you imagine how fun it is to work with Architects and Interior Designers? I can tell you — it is Terrific!! Their creativity is absolutely amazing.
It seems Designer’s inspiration juices really kick into high gear whenever we introduce a new lighting fixture design. Sooner or later, they call to ask if they can tweak something. They want it bigger, smaller, taller, wider, or with different materials or finishes. Some Lighting Manufacturers won’t customize their designs – but we do!! Collaboration and creative new ideas from talented Designers make products better. Best of all, they give us their ideas for free!
A perfect example of this is illustrated by the fixture pictured here. It was inspired by our Stix Ceiling Mount fixture. The Architect, Jeff Lamb, wanted Glass Stix suspended from the polished stainless steel mounting plate to form a loose bowl configuration. This required some redesigning on our part, but his bright idea resulted in a really gorgeous fixture – don’t you think?
March 20th, 2010
The latest “Green” building idea is to wire ceilings with 277V electricity. This causes Decorative Lighting Manufacturers, like us, to wonder – hey – what’s up? This isn’t a gripe about wiring ceilings with 277V – which compared to our current economic troubles, is a pretty minor issue. It’s about individuals that make decisions without considering how their great ideas will impact other people and existing products. Hopefully, this decision will force manufacturers to produce more energy efficient products, but until this happens, we must use light sources currently available – which is a problem.
How will this affect you? You may experience a big sticker shock and future frustrations. New fixture designs, with LED or Halogen bulbs, must be tested by UL or ETL representatives. Testing expenses range from $5,000.00 to $8,000.00 for each new design. If you purchase an incandescent pendant or chandelier from a local store and install it – chances are – it won’t work.
We recently experienced an issue like this. We donated the glass lighting fixture shown above for an event at a new upscale condominium tower in Seattle. We delivered the fixture and were told – surprise – it needed to be wired for 277V instead of 120V. We brought it back to the factory, rewired it, and called around town to locate a 100W 277V incandescent light bulb – no luck. We searched the Internet, and discovered only one company carried them. We ordered one and received the wrong bulb. We ordered two replacements, and sent one to the site. It exploded in the fixture! The second worked – hooray. As a homeowner, if you didn’t know who made the fixture and didn’t know you needed a special light bulb, how would you resolve this? I know I wouldn’t be very happy.
Four types of light bulbs (we call them “lamps”) work with 277V power:
· Highly touted LED’s emit tiny bright spots of light that don’t produce much ambient illumination. They are hard-wired into fixtures to comply with energy codes, so you can’t replace them yourself. They are expensive, and their technology is changing so rapidly, we are concerned replacements won’t be available. Most LEDs are made in China and it takes a long time to receive them. We are still waiting for bulbs ordered four months ago!
· Halogen is a beautiful light source but new fixture designs with halogen lamps must be UL tested.
· Incandescent lamps produce a nice warm light but there aren’t many lamp types available in 277V and they aren’t available in stores. They don’t require expensive UL testing – which is a good thing.
· Fluorescent lamps are okay for some fixtures, but don’t look good in transparent glass fixtures. They are also toxic and not truly “Green”. Fluorescent fixtures do not require UL testing.
· LED and Halogen lamps require transformers that accept 277V. Fluorescent lamps require ballasts that accept 277V.
So what’s the solution? Light bulb manufactures need to develop energy efficient 277V incandescent lamps. Can this be that difficult? UL and ETL should develop Halogen and LED testing standards for manufacturers to follow so they don’t incur the steadily increasing expenses that make our products less competitive with foreign lighting fixtures.
Wouldn’t it would be wonderful if Architects, Contractors, Planners, and Manufacturers developed Building Standards & Products to prevent problems from occurring? I realize this won’t happen, but one can always hope.
March 16th, 2010
When you’re a part of the design world you can become a bit stuffy and self-important – it just happens. Working with high-profile people on grand projects is pretty heady stuff. A gentle, scruffy, super soft, amiable, brown standard poodle brings us back to earth. Ziggy’s arrival was unexpected and initially frowned upon. One day we came work to find a brown fur ball peering at us from under an employee’s desk. His stay was “temporary” but he soon earned a place in our hearts and our company. Ziggy has a special relationship with each of us. He makes his daily rounds. People once afraid of dogs dress him up, play tug-of-war, and take him for walks. He cavorts with people in the shop until they shut him in the office. He is an unabashed thief that regularly swipes lunches, and snacks from distracted employees. Ziggy’s goofy personality makes us laugh and eases tension and stress brought on by the tough economy. He knows who needs him and shares his love with all of us. We design and manufacture lighting fixtures – Ziggy lights up our lives.
February 25th, 2010
Mesher Shing Assoc. and Kennedy Architects asked Charles Loomis to design new fixtures for Seattle University’s Campion Ballroom. The Ballroom was used for a variety of functions – and needed updating to increase its revenue potential. The fixtures wanted to make the room look like a ballroom but they also needed to be sturdily built, energy efficient, dimmable, and close to the ceiling for presentations and for more rowdy student events – involving sticks.
Because there were many people with opinions involved, we needed to design a concept and submit presentation drawings for approval. Once the concept was approved, we arranged for key decision makers to view a mockup of the proposed fixture. Originally, the designers wanted the Pendant’s diffusers to be clear fritted glass with blown glass bubbles cascading through the center. Then, it was decided the center glass should be ribbed cones. The preliminary mockup illustrated above incorporated this change. Further fixture changes and refinements were made as the interior finish details became more defined.
Here are before and after pictures of the space. Before, It was drab and outdated and didn’t look much like a ballroom. Now, it is colorful, warm, and functions as a ballroom as well as an attractive space for less formal events. Mike Harnden, with Rafn Company – the General Contractor on the project, had tight deadlines to meet to install new coves in the ceiling for the chandeleirs as well as update air systems. He did a great job! Dan Salinas, of Nelson Electric worked with us on every detail of the fixture design to ensure his crew could install them all in three days. They did it! Everyone worked together to meet design goals, budgets, and deadlines. We gave Seattle University a great finished product that addressed and exceeded their needs.
One last note — the dangley glass in the middle of the pendant changed yet again due to fears the people with sticks might break them. They are now made of tempered glass. The stick people can whack at them to their hearts content – and they won’t break
February 4th, 2010
If you’re buying a Pendant or Chandelier to hang over a Dining Room table how big should it be? An easy guideline is to measure the width of your table and subtract 24”. If your table is 42″ wide, the Pendant or Chandelier should be 18″ wide. How simple is that?
Okay, so how do you determine the size of a Pendant or Chandelier in other rooms? Piece of Cake! Measure the room from corner to corner diagonally across the room. This dimension in feet should equal the fixture diameter or width in inches. Round inches up or down to the nearest foot. For instance, if the room measures 40′ 7 ½” diagonally then you should buy a 41″ diameter fixture.
Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. Your own sense of style plays an important part in selecting lighting that suits your space too.
Please don’t hang your Pendant or Chandelier too low or too high! Look at the fixture while you are standing and sitting before it is permanently installed, so you can be certain it won’t obstruct views and that you aren’t going to bump your head on it. If your fixture is installed too high off the floor – it won’t feel right, it won’t provide adequate illumination, and will bother you constantly until it’s fixed.
The light fixture in the room pictured below makes me a bit uncomfortable – do you feel it too? It’s a gorgeous glass fixture, (our Bijoux Pendant) but it appears to be too small for the room and isn’t hung in the right spot. It is installed in our Boston Showroom so it’s also an exception to the rule. Sometimes you just have to work with what you’ve got.