Showroom Lighting Scheme Mimics Daylight

CHICAGO— For Mick De Giulio, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.So when DeGiulio, president of de Giulio kitchen design, found his newest showroom displays didn’t have as much natural light as he’d like, he used LED, halogen, incandescent and fluorescent fixtures to mimic daylight.

He explains, “We were trying to create a daylight feel while using these different light sources. We wanted to create a sense of airiness without anyone realizing there wasn’t any daylight.”

The “SieMatic BeauxArts” display featured in his showroom, located in LuxeHome in the Merchandise Mart here, features fluorescent undercabinet lighting and lighting in the niches, LED lighting by IO in the top box cabinets, custom recessed trimless halogen ceiling fixtures by Modular International and wall sconces by Holly Hunt.

For his “SieMatic SL Truffle Brown” display, DeGiulio created custom polished stainless steel sconces, complemented with LED accent lighting by IO in the bookshelf and below the plate rack, and used halogen flap sconces by Artemide and custom recessed trimless halogen ceiling fixtures by Modular International.

Lighting by Zone

The 400-sq.-ft. “SieMatic BeauxArts” display mixes functional lighting with a classic, modern look.

Just as kitchens are increasingly being seen as a series of separate yet interrelated zones, so, too, can lighting be designed this way. For this display, “it’s almost as if each set of lights is highlighting a specific zone,” he says. The food prep, cooking area and island each have unique lighting needs, so each gets its own lighting scheme.

It was very important to have great lighting above the 48" Wolf range and in the hood area, he explains, since the cook needs to be able to see what he or she is making. “There’s also a zone under the custom stainless steel hood that is accented with halogens,” he notes.

The Sub-Zero 700 Series refrigerator and freezer – which was housed in a de Giulio Collection ebonized walnut armoire with leaded French antique mirror doors – also gets its own lighting scheme. “The fixtures from Modular International have adjustable halogen MR16s, so we were able to direct that light more toward an appliance and make sure [there was ample task lighting],” he adds.

De Giulio also opted to place the fixtures that hang over the island within the pot rack rather than above the pot rack, to bring lighting closer to the island work area.

“I think the undercabinet lighting is a good way to look at lighting rather than wanting every recess lighted. You want some areas of dark and shadow to make a few of the other areas pop,” he offers. “But for things like the niches, LED lights [are a good choice] because you can hide them away much more easily than you can halogens or fluorescents, which are bigger.

“So, we used LEDs in the niches and in some of the recesses that are just barely visible, and they really give off great light,” he adds.

Ceiling Effects

A subtle, yet unmistakable element of the displays is the ceiling lighting. “We positioned custom trimless halogen ceiling fixtures to look like they are in a constellation around the island. It is an interesting effect, and people notice it when they come in,” he says.

Before he could do this, however, De Giulio needed to build a new ceiling lower than the existing concrete.

“That allowed us to have perfect alignment. I think it’s a big advantage to consider the framing ahead of time,” he remarks.
“Part of what makes a ceiling recessed fixture look old, besides the size, is the trim. If you’re using trimless fixtures, like we did here, there is nothing to give its age away. So, this is how I treated both displays,” he states.

City Kitchen

The “SieMatic SL Truffle Brown” display, a 260-sq.-ft. representation of a “city kitchen,” features a library with bookshelves, TV, cappuccino maker, a sitting area to enjoy cappuccino and a substantial cook area.

“There are lights above the cappuccino maker, and above the plate rack are custom lights I designed. They were made in our metal shop, with halogen lights that direct lighting onto those elements. It is just a very small 6" halogen fixture set into a polished stainless steel fixture. It also reflects nicely off the back of the custom hood,” he offers.

Reflective ceiling light was used to add elegance to the display as well, he notes. “My feeling is that you have to illuminate the ceiling instead of having all of your lights directed down. Over-cabinet lighting is a great way to illuminate the ceiling, and you can use those angles to make the space look larger,” he describes.

“I believe designers can do far more interesting lighting in the kitchen than in any other space in a house because of the sculpture and dimension of cabinets, as well as the creation of things like niches, soffits and the nooks and crannies that are available to us. It offers a huge opportunity to create great effect, but we [should not overlook how we can best use lighting] to enhance the cabinetry, countertops, fixtures and hardware a kitchen has to offer,” he concludes.

Lighting Solutions is a new department that will focus on effective use of lighting for the kitchen, bath and showroom, appearing exclusively in KBDN

For more about this showroom, click here.