2014 Creative Use in Lighting Award

Lincoln Park Backlit Bench

Known for it’s tree-lined streets and beautiful architecture Chicago’s historic Lincoln Park neighborhood is home to some of the city’s best entertainment and fine dining.  Making the most of this city lot is a 3 story single family home in the heart of Lincoln Park with that embraced city life and the trendiness of the neighborhood in which it’s located.  When I walked in the home I noticed can lights retro-fitted with LED lamps and an iPad hanging on the wall that controlled the home’s camera system, doorlocks, lighting and more, all clue’s pointed to a homeowner that appreciates the benefits of a well planned lighting system.

In the backyard was a small covered patio and beyond that was the backside of the detached two car garage with an iron staircase that led to the rooftop with additional seating and a BBQ.  The new lighting design re-used a transformer and some existing fixtures which were relocated and retrofitted with LED.  Staggered throughout the iron staircase banisters I ran some subtle and discreet firefly lights and installed some patio string lights furnished with vintage tungsten filament bulbs.  All of these lighting features were magnified by a red cedar bench with a spaced horizontal picket backdrop that with some strategically placed lighting became the focal point of the backyard and the focus of this submission.

By removing the 4” horizontal cedar boards I was able to notch out the 4×4 upright posts so that lengths of IP 68 rated LED RGB ribbon lights could be attached facing the white wall behind the bench.  A separate transformer was installed in the garage inside the nearby garage to operate the 12v DC ribbon lights.  Also in the garage was WiFi RGB controller which allowed the homeowner to control from his iPhone or iPad simply by logging into the new WiFi network created by the controller.  The RGB lights could be mixed to create nearly any color desired in addition to the ability to dim the lights or select from a number of other lighting modes.  A wireless wall switch and remote provide alternative means of controlling these lights as well and additional wiring was ran back to the controller should the homeowners decide they’d like to install a second controller to incorporate additional color themes like red and green for Christmas or Purple and Orange for Halloween.

Perhaps though most dramatic aspect of this lighting feature turned out to be the hanging window pane with mirrors panels in the place of glass which mirrored the lighting scheme in the background.  It created an even more pronounced perception of the depth already created by the shadow board effect which silhouetted the pillow and potted arrangements in the forefront of the seated area.

This project come together with a total of one AC transformer for the landscape lighting fixtures and one DC transformers for the RGB ribbon lights in addition to a total of 38 fixtures including carriage lights replaced with sconce lights to illuminate the front of this elegant brownstone style residence and switched moonlighting on two separate seating areas in the backyard and garage rooftop.  The only portion of this job that was not LED were the vintage patio string lights.  All of these components proved to create a striking lighting environment perfect for any mood or occasion.