Lightolier, one of the country's leading manufacturers of lighting solutions, has solved another dilemma: how to effectively educate industry professionals about the value and benefit of lighting. It's called TechCenter, a progressive interactive environment that illustrates lighting design and application.

A 5,000 sq. ft. laboratory, housed within Lightolier's corporate headquarters and manufacturing plant in Fall River, Mass., TechCenter is designed to promote quality lighting to architects, designers, builders, contractors and students.

The floor plan offers professionals the ability to compare and contrast different types of lighting in an environment that evolves, providing a clear understanding of the principles necessary for successful and efficient lighting. Visitors to the center first encounter a lighting history exhibit that chronicles innovative product developments from the pre-World War II era to the present. This leads to a circular antechamber that serves as a gathering place for initiating discussions about lighting and viewing multi-media presentations. When the curved walls of the antechamber slide open, visitors enter a black-and-white effects gallery where direct ambient and grazing light is demonstrated on eight different textured and smooth vertical surfaces.

The walls of the gallery are revealed by a motorized mechoshade system. This funnel-shaped area then flows into a central domed rotunda where various theatrical-lighting principles are demonstrated in the context of an architectural setting. Three lighting application environments and four product display spaces are accessed from the rotunda with product performance demonstrated and enhanced by Lightolier's Multi-Set Preset Systems, Brilliance Central Control Systems, and/or computer interface. The retail vignette features a plate-glass mock store front as well as a platform floor display from the show window for mannequins.

Simulated retail environments at Lightolier's TechCenter in Fall River, Mass., allow professionals to evaluate the quality of light before they buy. A Bistro and Lobby Barcreate the atmosphere for multiple lighting scenes, including track, decorative, recessed, surface and controls products.

A two-foot-by-two-foot ceiling system outfitted with Lytespan III and a myriad of different recessed lighting products for overhead general lighting and accent lighting are displayed.

The left and right sides of the vignette are furnished and propped identically. Four PLT downlights on one side and four metal halide downlights on the other demonstrate the difference between one source and another for color rendering, intensity, distribution and light level. The transaction counter houses the lighting controls.

Overhead, a nine-cell parabolic with a semi-spectral louver and a nine-cell parabolic with a white painted louver introduce industry professionals to the idea that a troffer can be more than bare strip fluorescents. The back half of the retail area has the look of a warehouse store with exposed trusses and duct work. This area is outfitted with track and wall washers for vertical illuminance of displays. The area also offers a comparison between light sources and styles of luminaires.