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Color Effects


An ideal match. That’s how lighting designer David Apfel describes the use of innovative light-emitting diode (LED) technology in Lacoste USA stores. The color-changing, solid-state lighting makes for eyecatching displays and also enhances the overall store ambience.

“We used it [color-changing lighting] to attract attention, but beyond that, it’s very appropriate for Lacoste, whose merchandise is casual and fun and has lots of bright colors,” said Apfel, head of David Apfel Lighting Design, New York City. “It feels very right for the brand.”

As seen in the Lacoste flagship in Manhattan, the lighting design utilizes LED luminaires that accent architectural alcoves with rich colored light. The space features approximately 100 linear feet of the low-maintenance, low-profile Color Kinetics iColor Cove fixture (from Philips Solid-State Lighting Solutions). The 12-in. fixtures, mounted end-to-end to create seamless runs of color, are designed to bring saturated color and dynamic effects to compact or concealed spaces.

Initially, the design called for the fixtures to be installed within ceiling coves. But more recently, the specification has been tweaked to better maximize the impact of the color-changing LEDs.

“In the new stores, we are putting the fixtures on the wall above the merchandise,” Apfel said.

The color-changing lighting effects are controlled by Color Kinetics’ Multi Synchronizer, which triggers a series of pre-programmed light shows with the push of a button.

“It couldn’t be any simpler,” Apfel said. “It wasn’t all that long ago that the hardware or equipment required to tell a color-changing story was very complex, and required a lot of maintenance. Someone had to be on top of it all the time.”

But by combining LEDs with electronic controls, Color Kinetics has made color-changing lighting effects much more accessible, according to Apfel.

“You just push a button in the morning and the color-changing scenario for the entire day starts to play out as it cycles through a series of pre-programmed color changes,” he explained.

As an added bonus, Apfel said, the system is virtually maintenance-free.

“It’s a hands-off operation,” he noted. “All the store has to do is turn it on and off.”

In addition to the LEDs, the lighting specification for Lacoste includes compact fluorescent downlights (in square fixtures) and adjustable MR 16 accent lights (in rectilinear fixtures).

“Most of the merchandise is displayed on the walls, which are lighted by accent lights around the perimeter,” Apfel said. “The rest of the merchandise, which is typically folded, is displayed on grouped tables. The tables are lighted by the rectilinear fixtures, which contain three MR 16 accent lights.”

Lacoste, celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, is looking to grow its brand throughout the world with freestanding retail locations. In the United States, it operates approximately 60 full-price stores, including just-opened locations in Bellevue, Wash., and in Corte Madera and Glendale, Calif., and an upcoming one in Mall of America, Bloomington, Minn. The company has said that it sees a maximum of 90 to 100 U.S. stores.

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