New HQ office
Posted: 20 July 2022
New HQ office
Posted: 20 July 2022
Recently Sylvania’s HQ office in Budapest moved to a brand-new space from the fifth to the third floor of the modern Duna Tower building. It is now home to more than 70 employees. Zsolt, you were responsible for the complete lighting design of the new office. What was the main design idea of the project and how did the execution fold out? How long did it take to complete the project from design to finish?
Zsolt Bodzay, Head of Lighting Design, Sylvania Lighting
Zsolt Bodzay: The main idea was to create an inspiring, social, innovative, and fun environment for the Sylvania colleagues. An office that brings nature closer to people, an office where employees feel warm and welcome. From the very first minute we wanted to do something different and exciting, and at the same time we wanted to promote our latest lighting technology and products. The aim was to showcase what modern lighting can do. The whole lighting design team and I started to put together ideas on how we can make this happen. The concept design was born in late 2021 and the project was completed in May 2022. We began the project by developing a concept scheme. Then we did a detailed design and lighting control plan. Finally, we managed the onsite work and commissioning with various external teams.
The whole project was a huge collaboration between different teams from various markets. There were over 100 people involved. Initially we worked with an interior design company but because we had such a strong idea of what we wanted and how we wanted the office to look like, we parted and decided to do the interior design ourselves. As the design was so unique, there were a lot of custom solutions, including lamps and light fixtures for which we worked closely with product line managers who came up with solutions for some of the light fittings. Our factory in France was also involved as it manufactured some of the custom solutions. Overall, about 6 different departments collaborated on this project, not to mention the external contractors and the facility management company of the building. We don't really realise how many people work on a project like this.
Every project has its challenges and milestones. What was the biggest challenge in the design and execution of Sylvania’s new office space and how did you overcome it?
I would say that the most exciting and time-consuming challenge was to create all the tailor-made solutions for the office within the given budget and timeline. We had to consider various aspects. It is important to mention that, to have good lighting design, you first need to decide what interior design elements are you going to include in the office and build the lighting according to them, so at the end all the little details come together nicely.
The second challenge was that the office is an existing building, not a new one, so you cannot really do what you want. Sometimes your hands are tied due to the specifications of the building. For example, the building has its existing lighting installed and all the services like air conditioning and electricity are hidden in the ceiling. We wanted to replace the old T5 light fittings with new LED lights and add our smart lighting technology system, so that was something we had to design from scratch. We asked our product line managers to take dimensions and come up with solutions for the new light fittings. The result I think is impressive and I hope to see more of these light fittings in the rest of the building, because they look really good.
Another challenge was to combine the concept of nature in the office with our Human Centric Lighting Solution (HCL) – LumiNature. It is a solution designed to deliver a complete and balanced spectral distribution with all colours of light while eliminating the blue peak. It is the only available solution on the market that provides the most natural artificial light. We combined it with our wireless SylSmart system to achieve a personalised light control of the environment. The aim was to mimic the light of the sun in some areas of the Sylvania office and follow the circadian rhythm to help colleagues feel more productive and contribute to their well-being. To enhance the nature feeling in the office, we used a lot of natural products like timber ceilings in the interior design, real plants closer to the windows and artificial plants in darker areas of the office. At the entrance we created a garden path concept with a lot of greenery and garden lights and of course, let’s not forget the chill out area with a lot of cozy corners and ambient lighting. When you walk through the office, you almost feel like you are in nature.
The new office uses exclusively Sylvania lighting products from the award-winning Beacon range to recessed modular and suspended linear fixtures, recessed spotlights, ambient luminaires, pendants etc. Tell us more about the featured products, their characteristics and why did you choose them for the project?
The first product I would like to mention is our award-winning Beacon track spot. We chose it as it offers an exceptional light quality and colour rendering. We use it in the chill-out zone to wash the green feature moss wall. It changes colour temperature as the day goes by and covers a range of 1800-6500 kelvin. We used Beacon in the office environment as well, for example, to highlight pictures on the wall. It has great optical control and accessories like the anti-glare honeycomb which reduces glare.
Additionally, we used a lot of luminaires from our Mini Continuum II range. They have a minimalistic design and are suitable for office environments. We placed them above desks in the office and in the long corridor against a wall to give a nice wash of light down the wall. I really like these luminaires as they have an elegant and neat look and at the same time, they provide good light quality.
We have quite a few vintage looking filament lamps from our ToLEDo range in the chill out zones, which create a relaxing and yet fashionable atmosphere. You can use these lamps even in your home to make your space look comfortable and warm. In our office, we also placed them in between the timber logs on the ceiling. This is the first time I have seen so many pieces of this product in an open office environment and I can tell you that they are high-quality products, with a great dimming curve and glare control. It is a pure delight to be in the environment where they are placed.
The last product I would like to mention is our Flex Pro flexible LED strips, which are high-quality ambient lighting products with up to 9700lm per 5 meters length. It is important to mention that you can't really go with cheap LED strips and expect an amazing look and low flickering. So, it is essential to select them wisely by balancing price and quality.
We used about 20 different products from our portfolio to light up our new Budapest office and I can confidently say that this is one of my favourite design projects that really showcases well our portfolio and capability as a lighting manufacturer.
Alexander Demeulenaere, European Project Support Engineer – Digital Solutions and Services, Sylvania Lighting
What makes the new Sylvania HQ office unique is the implementation of a combination of SylSmart technologies. These state-of the-art intelligent smart lighting systems by Sylvania (SylSmart Connected, Connected Pro, SylSmart Standalone and SylSmart Energy) can facilitate highest energy savings, provide ultimate comfort for occupants, and empower further efficiencies beyond light. Tell us more about Sylvania’s SylSmart technology, its special use in the Budapest office and how does it make a difference in the well-being of the employees?
Alexander Demeulenaere: We have a couple of different smart lighting solutions implemented in the Budapest HQ office. Our SylSmart Connected technology is the one installed in most of the office. It is our first-class smart lighting solution for building wise controls. It is built on security and comfort of people in mind. Connected Building is the technology that opens the door to IoT based solutions, where we can save beyond just energy, carbon emissions and money. With our connected lights, we unlock the door to the cloud where we will be able do advanced cloud processing of our collected data and integrate it into third party systems.
In Budapest our whole open plan office, all the meeting rooms, corridors, everything is enabled with SylSmart Connected. We have 156 connected devices and wireless battery-free energy harvesting switches. They are only used in rooms where scene setting is needed. Typically, these are the breakout or meeting rooms, or rooms in which there is a presentation screen. 95% of the lights in the new office are controlled by SylSmart Connected.
During the design of the office, the whole floor was configured in specific zones to make sure occupants will have the right amount of light, in the right place and at the right time. Through this, we envision saving up to 83% energy. Apart from reducing energy consumption, our smart lighting technology also has a positive impact on the wellbeing of people in the office as it can increase productivity and comfort. By design, the entire floor is set to 500 lux, but if there is an increase or decrease of external light, the intensity of lighting adjusts itself automatically to match the set default levels.
On top of SylSmart Connected, we have also implemented SylSmart Connected Pro, which enables us to get more insights on how the lighting in the office is used. We can see occupancy levels per zone, or the entire floor and we can monitor light levels. We get detailed energy consumption and maintenance reports. This means that if a luminaire has a lifespan of 50.000 hours, when it comes close to 45,000 hours for example, we get a notification from the system that the luminaire is due to be changed soon. This gives an opportunity to create predictive maintenance analytics and plan luminaire purchasing way in advance, without needing to keep much in stock.
The SylSmart Connected Pro system is still a beta version and has not yet been released on the market. We wanted to use the Budapest office as a testing ground to see how the system behaves, so that we can fine tune it for the future market launch. We ran tests at multiple sites and environments this year to make sure that the system is robust and caters for all needs.
Apart from SylSmart Connected and SylSmart Connected Pro, we also use SylSmart Standalone, which is a wireless, plug and play lighting control solution, ideal for any applications where easy installations, low upfront cost and low maintenance are essential. The last smart solution that we implemented in the office is SylSmart Energy. With it we can measure the energy consumption of a building and get in-depth insights into where, when and how energy is being consumed. Based on the data, we can create the most effective energy and carbon reduction strategy, monitor and verify progress and truly empower the drive to Net-Zero consumption. In a nutshell, our Budapest office has all the main smart solutions that we offer.
How do you see the future of Smart Lighting technology?
By nature in a building, lighting is permanently powered and from a compliance point of view present everywhere in a building. This makes lighting our most powerful partner in buildings, because we can integrate sensors which gather occupancy and other environmental information. This is an ideal place to implement technology. In my opinion in the future every single light will be connected in new buildings or in refurbishments, so that it will work as a layer of communication throughout the building.
We have a long way to go until we can connect other elements of the building to the lighting system like blinds, heat, ventilation, and environmental sensors (temperature, humidity, or air quality) but we are moving in that direction with developments already in place. Connected buildings are the future.
Think about it. There are more buildings than factories on this planet, so if we could reduce the energy consumption of all these buildings by minimum 80%, that will reflect in energy consumption savings which is directly related to carbon savings. The potential is huge and the environmental impact immense.
The highest level of smart lighting analytics that we could achieve in the future would be to focus on cities. At that level lighting companies will need to work directly with local governments to see how a city can reduce its overall energy consumption through street lighting. The concept is the same as SylSmart Connected but on a much bigger scale as we are talking about whole cities.
Eventually, lighting will move from being a product to being a service and will be offered as lighting as a service and even software as a service. In the future, when a company buys lighting as a service with smart controls, it will not think about the quality of lights as it will assume that it is buying the highest quality lighting within certain specifications. In time, I think we will never speak any more about hardware but will rather focus on software. Then the biggest challenge will be how to combine the data that we collect, how to make smart decisions based on machine learning to optimise the building's efficiency at a maximum level.