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Mark Banholzer and Tom Kaczkowski Discuss the Latest Healthcare Lighting Design Trends

With lighting equipment accounting for a good portion of a project’s FF&E budget, Healthcare Design explores how healthcare organizations are investing in designs that pay off.

Excerpted from Healthcare Design:

HOK recently collaborated with a lighting manufacturer to develop a bedside exam light with an integral LED reading lamp. The fixture is recessed in the ceiling at either side of the patient bed so no light shines in the patient’s eyes, eliminating the glare and discomfort of traditional fixtures. “The lamp’s tight beam functions similarly to an airplane reading lamp and allows patients to read without disturbing sleeping family members within the room,” said Mark Banholzer, senior healthcare designer based in HOK’s Chicago office.

Banholzer says HOK selects fixtures that don’t look like what you might expect in healthcare. “As long as we can achieve the required illuminance level and the fixture can be cleaned and maintained easily, we’re open to using nontraditional lighting options,” he said. For example, HOK’s typical lighting design approach is to minimize the visual impact created by fixtures so that the light itself becomes the expression. “A combination of form, texture, and colored surfaces—washed or enhanced with light—creates a rich and varied visual environment,” he said.

Within lighting source selections, the healthcare industry is seeing a noted increase in solid state lighting, or LEDs. “This was not the case even two years ago, but we have now reached the tipping point in LED lighting where every lighting system in a healthcare facility can use the technology,” said Tom Kaczkowski, director of lighting design based in HOK’s St. Louis office.

In fact, Kaczkowski says that major lighting manufacturers have embraced LED technology, greatly extending their lighting fixture palettes and offering designers systems for pinpoint accent lighting, grazing textured surfaces, or softly washing broad architectural planes. “Most LED systems are also dimmable out of the box, permitting cost-effective daylight harvesting, load shedding, or simple preset high/medium/low lighting level settings,” he says.

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