Interview with Devki RajGuru, LittleFish Lighting Inc., Redmond

“Finally giving shoppers room to breathe”

What makes good shop lighting with LEDs? An interview with lighting designer Devki RajGuru about The Pro Shop at CenturyLink Field Stadium in Seattle.

What was your favorite moment during a game of the “Seahawks” or the “Sounders”?
I am a huge Sounders FC fan, and have season tickets … so, I’d have to say my favorite moment during a game is the final whistle on a winning game. The crowd goes completely wild!

You did the lighting concept for The Pro Shop at the CenturyLink Field in Seattle. Please give us an overview on the project …
The original store felt like an afterthought to the stadium … a small, cramped space that reminded me of an over-stuffed warehouse. The new store quadrupled the floor space, with a layout that opened it up to the main interior concourse, and incorporated a full glass wall to the outside, making it light and airy. Finally giving shoppers room to breathe and to see everything on display.
Together with Rossetti Architects, we devised a free-form system of track lighting that responds to the mixture of fixed wall display and moveable shelving. The cash register, concourse and street entrances, and two double-height graphic walls were the only fixed locations for lighting.
ERCO was selected through a process that involved the owners and store management specifically for high color rendition, as well as energy efficiency. Seattle has a very strict limit on power consumption. Track and track-mounted spotlights allowed for last minute location changes for displays. Using a combination of narrow spotlights with elliptical beam lenses and floodlights, we were able to reduce the number of light fixtures needed overall.

In recent years you completed a number of comparable projects in field of sports and retail. What makes the uniqueness of The Pro Shop?
The entire The Pro Shop is ERCO lighting. For America, this is unique.

You decided for the luminaires Light Board, Optec, Opton and Starpoint by ERCO. Please tell us more about the advantages of a lighting-concept fully based on LED!
As I mentioned, Seattle has a very stringent energy code that limits severely the amount of electricity consumed, even in retail. Using almost all LED, we were able to maximize our quota, and this allowed us to use exceptionally bright luminaires where we needed them, at the cash register. This is the last point customers see their items, and they look amazing. LED reduces the amount of maintenance needed. At 4 meters in the air, maintenance would need to be done by a man on a tall ladder, closing the retail space below and around the ladder. This has been minimized. LED also reduced the size of the HVAC unit needed, resulting in a cost savings for the client.

How does the influence of lighting increase in branding, particularly in retail and especially in the segment of sports?
In sports apparel, it is ALL about your team colors, and they must appear true. Color rendering is vital. As you can imagine, professional sports team apparel is not inexpensive … the better it looks, the more sales you have.

Let`s take a glance into the future: if you imagine a sport retail store in ten years – how might it look like?
I believe retail is moving towards instant customization. In the perfect world, you’ll be able to try something on and see what it will look like in daylight, inside and during the evening.

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