Signify: Unlocking the Extraordinary Potential of Light
Lighting is not just a product or a simple on/off function for illumination—it can support one’s health and well-being, help achieve a unique vision for a space, and do so much more. No one knows that better than Signify, the world leader in lighting. So when the time came to relocate its North American headquarters in New Jersey, the company seized the opportunity to create an experience that would convey this extraordinary potential of light for anyone who visits and uses the space, from its employees to its customers.
“We wanted our office to be a showcase of our lighting innovations as well as our commitment to sustainability,” says Kevin Poyck, president of Signify Americas. “It was important to us that every employee or visitor ‘lives’ our offerings and understands what defines us as a company.”
CONTINUOUS LEARNING LOOP
With that vision in mind, Signify set out to assemble a “dream team” to create its new space from a design/build approach, testing out and advising on the variety of cutting-edge products and systems Signify offers, even including some that were still in research and development. Structure Tone teamed with Gensler to lead the way, engaging subcontractors and Signify in a continuous learning loop.
“We wanted to use this project as a way to engage the design and construction network to understand these new lighting technologies and get their feedback on them,” says Patrick Morrison, Signify real estate portfolio manager. “We all looked at it as an opportunity to learn.”
Signify worked hand in hand with the design/build team to support the installation process. That way, they could document any issues to troubleshoot and improve the products and solutions for its own customers.
“The Signify project afforded our team the opportunity to implement new technologies that will drive the lighting industry for years to come,” says Kenneth Burke, Structure Tone account executive. “It was a great learning experience for them and for us.”
BRIGHTER LIVES, BETTER WORLD
Another focus area for the team was staying true to Signify’s strategy and sustainability commitments. From driving its own carbon-neutral operations to innovating products that address some key challenges today, like food availability and safety and security, environmental and social responsibility is part of Signify’s DNA.
The Gensler/Structure Tone team got to work incorporating sustainable designs and materials into the space as well as focusing on reuse.
“From a sustainable point of view, we saved a lot of furniture from their former space, including workstations, conference room furniture, and seating,” says Emily Ulrick, project director at Gensler. “In addition, we repurposed the existing office fronts from the new space for focus rooms.”
In addition to the sustainable nature of its energy-efficient LED luminaires, the space showcases Signify’s new NatureConnect solution, which brings the effects of natural light into an indoor space. In other words, the combination of fixtures simulate the changes of natural light throughout the course of the day.
“The skylight creates a feeling of spaciousness, and the luminaires shine different colors of light as the day moves on,” says Cathy Cubberly, head of Human Resources at Signify Americas. “It’s extremely innovative but, more importantly, supports employees’ and visitors’ comfort and energy levels.”
RETURN TO PURPOSE
Health and wellness within the space suddenly became even more important when the COVID-19 pandemic hit partway through the project. From rethinking the layout of the space to negotiating supply chain effects, the team had to regroup and redesign for the changing expectations for the workplace.
The first step, says Cubberly, was taking a step back to reevaluate the purpose of the office.
“We determined that our space is a hub for our employees to gather, create customer value and be inspired, so we needed to reinforce those functions,” she says.
As a result, the office features collaboration spaces, huddle areas with whiteboards, and the ability to support space and occupancy management via Signify’s Interact connected lighting system. The design also tells the story of the company, focused around innovation and sustainability. QR codes throughout the space link employees and customers to more information about a particular product or element of the Signify culture, adding to the experience of the office.
One challenge to the design plan, however, was the effect of the pandemic on the supply chain.
“Structure Tone’s focus on supply chain and constant communication with the team from day one enabled us to be agile and adjust our design as needed,” says Ulrick. “Signify understood these challenges and was quick to make decisions.”
The team got the job done, under budget and in time for a February grand opening. What’s more, the new space has become a powerful tool in inspiring employees to begin to return to the workplace.
“It’s been really energizing for our team to come see the space and witness these new innovations. They are figuring out how they want to work in and showcase this new environment,” says Poyck.
Sustainability at Work
Signify’s US headquarters includes:
Recyclable, 3D printed
LED lighting & sensors
NatureConnect solution, built
on biophilic design principles
Location: Bridgewater Township, NJ
Client: Signify North America Corporation
Engineer: Signify System Center for Lighting Products
Electrical Designer: Rock Brook Consulting Group
Completed: January 2022