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Another Chapter of Lutron’s Story

Its new Irvine Experience Center helps Lutron tell the whole story of lighting control.

Irvine, CAEnhancing your lifestyle, saving energy, increasing safety, is how Lutrons Melissa Andresko explains lighting control. And with the addition of the Irvine Experience Center in California, Lutron has another way to tell the whole story of this category to homeowners and residential service providers.

Deluxe and fully equipped, the new center is a living showcase for Lutrons impressive product range. Anyone who walks through the vignettes can touch and feel, see and experience the possibilities of lighting control, scenes, and automation. But its much more than a high-end showroom; it is an unprecedented effort to communicate with the design community.

It is rare to connect professionals from all the home trades (custom installation, interior design, architecture, and building). This is part of Lutrons modus operandi and to see it coalesce stylishly in the Experience Center is impressive. I hope this collaboration signals a trend in the industry, and indeed it may. In April, CEDIA hosted its Electronic Lifestyles trade show emphasizing the benefits of residential trades cross-pollinating. Staying within our fixed orbits is understandable in a busy world, but combining strengths and creating symbiosis among home trades will propel our industry forward. It will also help bring CEDIA into the mass consumer consciousness.

The Irvine location is the fourth facility of this kind; popular Lutron Experience Centers already exist in Plantation, Florida, Coopersburg, Pennsylvania (Lutrons corporate HQ), and the flagship facility in Sao Paolo, Brazil.

Designed and built by a team of talented California firmsKTGY architects, HAREL General Contracting, OMB Engineers, and AudioVisionsthe 11,000-square foot Experience Center welcomes the public to explore Lutrons portfolio of lighting/shading systems in truly life-like home vignettes. (There are also a few commercial vignettes, such as a board room.)

When it comes to the magic and potential of light control, hands-on experience is everything, said Jackie Hill, the Lutron West Coast Experience Center leader. One can only explain so much about lighting control’s conveniences with a portable Lutron dollhouse or sales tool.

Chief among new product announcements (concurrent with the christening of the Irvine location) is AuroRALutrons pre-programmed lighting control system via RF operation. It is designed to link directly to the homes security panel and provide control and monitoring of all systems from a beside or family room. Wireless controls are also included. Pricing is very attractive to woo the eager DIY crowd ($750 for the basic AuroRA; $950 for the security package).

Kathie Leslie, Lutrons employee relations and education director, thinks that simplicity and convenience make a big difference for homeowners, because, “we interface with lighting more than any other electric system in the home. Managing light enhances our lifestyles and creates entirely different moods.”

Leslie also explained that Lutron’s products are designed in accordance with the company’s “ACE” mandate (Aesthetics, Cognition, and Ergonomics). Functionality and simplicity, she enthused, are the key features of precision-controlled systems.

She also shared many of the ways Lutron is dedicated to energy conservation and how controlling natural and artificial light saves energy and money on a daily basis. By dimming just 10 percent you can double the lamp-life of a bulb, she added.

The Experience Center is now open to Lutron dealers as well as designers, architects, builders, remodeling firms, contractors, homeowners, and other professionals exploring the market. Individual tours range from one to two hours and can be customized based on specific requests. The Education Center will host eight to ten classes for the trade per month as well as training on the latest Lutron products.

The facility will also serve as a venue for special seminars and events. Last month, the Irvine Center hosted more than 100 architects at an event co-sponsored by Genesis Audio & Video (a top Southern Californias CI firm) and Sonance, an architectural audio pioneer. The event focused on the changing the relationship between audio and architecture and focused on Sonance Architectural Series of speakers.

Its clear that Sonance and Lutron are two companies proactive about creating dialog with the design community and helping their residential dealers do the same.