In this video conversation, Christian Gladu, founder of the Bungalow Company and Jerry Huettmann, Rejuvenation’s National Director, Trade, discuss the future of lighting: LED lighting for the home and how it has evolved; and the importance of creating a custom lighting plan for your home to enhance the way you live. Rejuvenation Inc. and the Bungalow company are two companies with a similar vision: to bring classic design to the modern world.
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Christian: Today I have Jerry Huettmann from Rejuvenation Lighting joining us. I’m Christian Gladu from the Bungalow Company. We are really excited to have Rejuvenation here today, definitely has been an icon company for us as we have developed the Bungalow Company. They were one of our first vendors who we found out were speaking the same language as we are. So we have used a lot of their products over the years and have enjoyed how our relationship has evolved. So Jerry I thought maybe we could start with a little discussion around LED lighting. I was talking to some folks here in the office and it’s one of the trends that we’ve seen changing in the last ten years. There are other things that have directed a lot of our designs. Things like front load washers and dryers, flat screen television, gas fire places. There have been these elements that have come in dealing with classical design elements and it’s like well how do you make these work and they actually do really have an effect on how we plan and lighting for us is such an individual piece and with all the choices that we have its always interesting to see how these new pieces of technology will come in and how they affect us from the environmental perspective and how they affect the quality of light and I thought it might be interesting to hear your take on it.
Jerry: Since 1977 we come from more of a historical stand point and It’s in our DNA that we have always been classical lighting and American house arts yet we recognize that as we move forward technology of course is going to inform what we do so how do we reach forward and apply LED to our existing design but also develop with LED in place. We wanted to respond first to title 24 in California which is one of our greatest needs. Really we can see that it has a more broader application and the quality of LED, thank goodness has really changed so a beautiful 2700 Taliban with that warm bright light really is reminiscent incandescent lighting at tenth of the power output and to very low key, very low maintenance we want our LED product five years right out of the gate so it’s a combination of energy savings certainly environmental impact, we can still meet the aesthetic. Things are moving forward with the new LED technology and the maintenance on it is so low, so it is very low touch once it’s in place.
Christian: I think that’s really nice. One of the things that I think people are looking for in dealing with classic designing and whether it be arts and craft or colonial or whatever the historic piece be I think that its recreating kind of that ambiance and that ambiance for us is so often around color, it’s around light, it’s around the texture and all that provides and certainly I think people focus on natural day light so much in a house. But I always say to people you have to be prepared for a house with a lot of light because at night, as light it was during the day it’s that dark. So how do we fill that and what are the tools that we have to not just make that house, you’re looking in black windows and reflections of yourself but how to fill the space with light in a way that makes you understand that it’s a light house during the day but not a dark house at nights.
Jerry: Christian, I’ve looked at your product and the Bungalow Company does a beautiful job of rendering the outside in during the day and inviting that, recreating that ambiance of lighting whether its past or function or fashion lighting at night and I thing that’s; I would rather have a space that’s over lit where I have many choices to dim or turn things on and off for special occasions or a task in function or aesthetic then having something dimly lit where there is always augment with floor lighting for portals. So I think you are right on it in terms of getting as much light quality and I always think about I’m native Portland so I always think about the Northwest in particular where we crave light and we crave the quality of light and not just obviously in the Northwest it’s all over but especially here people really celebrate and come to life when there is better light and you can see it in sunshine you see people out drove so I think it’s equally important in indoor space as well.
Christian: I think that the other thing I find really interesting is from our perspective when we are designing houses, it’s very easy for customers to make lighting slip as an afterthought and they want a generic solution and I tell people we have a lot of house plans that will work on multiple sites but I have never seen one of our houses with the same lighting plan recreated. With people are really asking questions and looking at their life introspectively and how they are going to live in a space, I feel like a lighting plan is different for everybody and there is so many options, and if you are in the business of designing house plans, if that part of it is being dealt with, it’s not a full service contract for us. Now the tendency is for people to use a lot of Cam lights and I always try to direct people to the idea that with natural light we try to light with every room with natural windows from at least two directions and once we are starting to deal with actual spaces inside and artificial light, I wish I describe light as pools and the idea that maybe bypass some as chem. lights but the reality of it is there is all these other things you do in the space so how do you go about identifying how you are going to live in the house and what the other types of lighting are and I think that Rejuvenations has always have had very nice pictures of work with us statistically that it’s exciting to see how those light pictures have evolve with the newer technology and also that you guys have some service available where there is some lighting consultation that you do in your show rooms from what I understand.
Jerry: Correct, we do both in home and in showroom consultations and Christian I’m glad you touched on this point, we’re really design driven so we really rely on the design community, people such as yourself in development that are bringing the beads ever changing the needs of the clients to us and that really informs our development. So we like to stay as close to the polls on the street with developments, also the architectural designs firms. We also look at fashion, we look at nature, we look at food and beverage, we look at a lot of different things that influence us but certainly the design community helps drive our development and when you talk about pools of light, it’s interesting we are looking at rooms in that way so each room has an opportunity for a task, a function, an aesthetic or just an ambiance, it’s that feeling when you walk in, so it’s a great way to view lighting in pools. I love that description.
Christian:The other thing that’s really interesting is that having the scale of lighting, I feel that when I started this, we opened the Bungalow company in ‘96’ and we kind of scavenging around, things weren’t available everywhere and the scale of the house have kind of changed. Some of the original studies were of houses in Seattle where a lot of the ceiling heights were, most of them were like 8 foot 4 ½ in the conventional bungalow where we started our remodel business and as we started to create new house designs, those designs started to 9 foot and sometimes 10 foot ceilings and I found a drastic difference in performance and fixtures and how they lift the room between that old school 8 foot 4 ½ ceilings to all of a sudden a 9 or 10 foot ceiling. So I’ve been interested in how the rejuvenation has moved through the scale. I feel like what the interest here is what the kind of R & D behind that because it seems like the scale has evolved. To me it’s kind of the more prevalent ceiling heights.
Jerry: Scaling has evolved and you can look at a great piece that we are involved with right now in our Mid-Century Modern collection and our updated Craftsman collections and that we have immediately identified this year that scaling is very important. We need smaller pocket niche lighting but we also need grand scale. We need the ability to be able to cluster our immediate lighting collections to create more of a chandelier effect, a more grand scale lighting; longer rods, longer cord lengths, bigger lights that are stronger in lighting and total output but also can be dimmed down. So scale is really at the foremost of our development right now and almost every family that we are developing currently has larger scale lighting involved.
Christian: Interesting, the other interesting thing is what would be the advice would you give somebody with building a new house or remodeling because I think that the lighting environment is kind of daunting. People have a hard time judging scale. I go into the show room and even sometimes I think that going to the show room you have a difficult time getting the right scale. Is there any advice you would give somebody whether it’s a new or old house on getting started.
Jerry: Absolutely, Christian I’m going to back up to one thing that you said earlier and that is do not let it be an afterthought. Don’t wait until mid project to be making those lighting decisions. Weight it in right from the beginning. Of course for us we are a lighting company so it’s the jewelry to the room. It’s what we say looks great in all of our gathering and what functions our desk so it’s really important. So I would say begin that project earlier than later. There is so much information on the web and certainly leveraging your designer is the best tool you might have. But great lighting show rooms such as ours, we come in and look at sight distance scale, gather tier shades and begin building the lighting portfolio as if you were working on this as a separate design project and then make it fit into the overall design project with your A & D project.
Christian: Yes that makes a lot of sense and I always tell people it’s never too early to start but I also know that before when I go on the computer, I’m still old school I still do a lot of hand drawing in my presentation and I actually kind of draw these pools of light when I’m drawing a plan. I have ideas around that and getting that translated into fixtures, there is many steps in there and it seems to involves an endless number of things; cabinets, high foot cabinets, window heights, actual color and materials. So it’s interesting to try to get the consumer or the client on board early. It’s interesting the way we call them families, I ask people to kind of look for family or directions, something that speaks to them before we necessarily present the whole lighting package and I think the scale is usually the thing we have to use to either tune them up or tune them down on. But getting people to think about that so that when you are laying out cabinets you are not lighting the top of a cabinet or you are not choosing fixtures that are not going to perform with a proper ceiling heights and influence outside too.
Jerry: Absolutely and I think again you are speaking our language and I love that and that is to really work within designer and aesthetic and the overall feeling mood that create. The other considerations are scale, size, scope, projection from wall, aging place, how do you entertain, where is your work space, where is your height space or your working out space. These are all the considerations that a good lighting plan would have in it.
Christian: I think of that as well as almost as involving a series of scenes. Like I have the living room on Monday morning does much different than a living room done on Friday night. So trying to find a way where those spaces; people talk about how to make spaces, big and open and all function together but I think the beautiful thing with control light is that you can also shut them down, change the whole mood, change the ambiance in a way that it can disconnect you from what’s going on from outside world and bring you into a more intimate setting.
It absolutely sets mood and I love the idea of changeable spaces and think we need to maximize what we have whether it’s a large space or a smaller more intimate space regardless of square footage I believe that everything needs to be multifunctional and changing the mood with lighting is one of the easiest things to do to achieve that.
Jerry: Literally a flip of the switch, right.
Christian: So the other thing is what about how you guys are inspired now. You mentioned that, is it a mid century modern collection or a modern collection you are working on right now.
Jerry: Yes we are definitely blowing minds open and giving color to our mid century mix that we have in place that is becoming a broader mix family in size and scale but we have a new point of view in that we are loosely titling our Northwest modern and its really levering local artesian whenever possible and the use of mixed materials, pottery, wood, mix metal was how we bring kind of those natural elements into industrial sheik and soften it up. How do we create updated looks and I think the new Northwest modern is going to fit on all those points.
Christian: That’s nice and I also encourage people to; I feel like sometimes that people can be really evangelical about putting an arts and craft picture in an arts and craft house and the thing that I like is that there is a lot of opportunity within a house to if you want to take a room and you have a fairly traditional arts and craft house you could still step out in a room and say here is our contemporary space and maybe we are doing something different maybe this is an office that didn’t have a 1923 Mac monitor and all other technology and so it’s nice that we can take these rooms and separate them and really light the room for its intent and I think all that can be anything that you might collect. I think a beautiful light picture is something you collect and if you can totally change up a few fixtures the period of that room and still have it reside within a more traditional house.
Jerry: Absolutely and you really are speaking about the evolution of our own business here too where we were more period specific and people were very stringent, much more strict about honoring the DNA of a particular form. While that is still celebrated I think that people are more eclectic now and they really want to have the best of both and that is a sense of place, a sense of history, a sense of permanence but what’s also new impression breathes new life to a space so it’s a perfect opportunity for us as designers both from the manufacturing stand point and also the drawing stand point to marry the best of both worlds and there is so much available to us now, like it’s a really exciting time for lighting.
Christian: Yes, I agree, I think the thing that’s really nice too is in terms of how the home has evolved. Now we are doing so many things that we weren’t doing before. Just simply like how the work place has evolved into the house. For a while everybody was building an isolated office within a house and that’s how they were going to work and I realize that actually the whole house has become a place where you can connect to your job, to social media, any number of things. It really has changed any space basically needs to be able to be a place where you can communicate and be social whether internal or external your family. So I think that the evolution of these light fixtures and how we light houses is really changing with how the floor plan has evolved and the fact that we really don’t need huge isolated spaces to accomplish things like office space. It could be a breakfast nook; it can be a bar at a dining room, it could be the kitchen table.
Jerry: I agree, technology will inform more of the design decisions obviously and as well I believe a sense of permanence and entertaining and I feel like at the same time we’ve got this tension between high tech, we’ve also got this tension of high touch where people are coming back home and are really celebrating the home and the garden again so it’s all going to blend in a beautiful way when it’s done very thoughtfully.
Christian: I agree, it’s really nice to know that manufacturers are thinking the same way and you can feel it and its interesting to see that clients are driving those decisions and that they are very willing to go along with it and have encouraged that kind of evolution. It’s not a false evolution. I feel like some pieces of technology have falsely informed us. Like it really feels like this is the natural way for it to be and the fact that you guys are really drilling down into energy efficiency and embracing that technology, I know that between, for essence the first generation of LED’s it would of been easy for you to turn your cheek and say we are a historic company and we do things the old fashion way and I like the fact that you guys really have not done that and have moved forward to ….
Jerry: And it’s so rapidly moving especially when it comes to LED as the new technology, it changes almost overnight so we have to keep post on it almost on a daily basis, certainly week basis in terms of what’s developing on the industry, so we are looking on flat boards, we are looking at clusters, we are looking at things that can serve very small scale light to very grand scale light in all work spaces while protecting the environment and also creating more energy efficiency and cost savings.
Christian:That’s great, well I thank you very much for your time today. It was a lot of fun doing this and I look forward to possibly doing it again.
Jerry: Christian thank you very much, I’d love to be on with you again
Christian: Have a great day
Jerry: You too, thank you.