Last month, Lutron Electronics opened a 1,800-square-foot Experience Showroom--the fourth in its stable of showrooms/experience centers--on the ground floor of New York's historic Decoration & Design (D&D) Building, the go-to trade destination exclusively for design industry professionals.
Living room with the shades up
The location is a good choice for the lighting giant whose massive array of control and decorative products would be of particular value and interest to designers (and custom integrators) looking to make a definitive statement with their residential interior projects.
"We wanted to tap into the designer community which often gets nervous when it comes to lighting control," said Melissa Andresko, Lutron's marketing manager. "Designers think this is much harder than it really is. The purpose of this showroom is to debunk this misconception."
Designed to simulate a modern New York City apartment, the showroom features bedroom, kitchen, and family room vignettes rigged to demonstrate whole-house lighting control, as well as themed programming for vacation, theater, and reading scenes.
Currently manned by Karl Lutgens, who also heads up Lutron's Plantation, Florida, experience center, the showroom offers dealers and designers an interactive tour designed for maximum impact value.
Living Room with sheers
Beginning with the chic bedroom, visitors are encouraged to use two simple wireless remotes and an inconspicuous Lutron wallplate to thematically light wash, dim, and program the room. Lutron's Sivoia QS Wireless Shading System, cleverly integrated into a windowless wall aglow in an evocative sky blue, is a design highlight of the space, which was constructed in collaboration with New York-based systems integration firm Audio Video Systems.
The ease-of-use of the demo also translated well in the living room vignette, where the windowless light wall continues. Fitted with a typical blend of family and media room kit, the space transitions smoothly between bright, everyday light to more sophisticated modes, such as the soft back lighting best for music listening, and the more familiar blackout mode (shades and all) used for movie viewing.
Since opening on May 19, Andresko and Lutgens say that the showroom has seen tremendous foot traffic, including drive-by walk-ins (the showroom is by appointment only).
"We have sold at least one complete system a day that way," Lutgen said, after explaining that one couple came in from the street when they noticed Lutron's show window and left ready to have a complete lighting control system integrated into their home.
Lutron's Experience Center Workroom
While the Manhattan themed space--which also includes a more workman-like reception area that displays Lutron's newest and most popular lighting solutions--initially seems pitched at the New York apartment set, Lutgens said that most of company’s new clients are coming in from the affluent enclaves in the outskirts of the city, including Westchester, Scarsdale, and yes, even Brooklyn.
With New York City bucking the current real estate downward trend, it seems only natural that Lutron--which has successfully shown how its products can work in an MDU setting with this showroom--might tap into that segment of the city's population as well.
For a list of participants and sponsors of this new facility, click here.