Architizer reported today that over the weekend the Los Angeles LGBT Center broke ground and officially began construction! The new Anita May Rosenstein Campus is located on McCadden Place and Santa Monica Boulevard, and is designed by architecture firm Leong Leong. the article describes it as “a much-needed project that’s been a long time coming.” The center will connect with the group’s existing arts and education facility, and will support administrative offices, retail space, and cultural events space; all unique uses that proved a challenge in the building’s design. The architect acknowledges this challenge, stating that “In other words, the main challenge for the architects was to discover how all these different programs could co-exist in one structure. To do that, they had to redefine what it means to design for youth, gender and multigenerational living, among other variables.”
March 13, 2017
Last week I attended the IALD Enlighten Asia Tokyo + Lighting Fair 2017 combination event in Japan, and it served as a great reminder that we have an ever-growing toolbox of lighting products, manufacturing and construction techniques… but it left me with a few questions to ponder: What is it about the human experience that we want to capture or relate to in our designs? Lighting can be so abstract yet visceral at the same time; how do we as Lighting Designers use it to shape the environment and connect with the users within?
A few of the Enlighten seminars provided some insight—Mark Major (Speirs + Major) presented the first hour called “The Qualities of Night (or why we need darkness as well as light)”, and he referenced Junichiro Tanizaki’s essays “In Praise of Shadows”, which celebrate intentional darkness for its ability to grant us mental “quietness” and by contrast allow us to be more aware of and appreciate illumination. In application, this means designing with darkness as much as we are designing with light (especially in exterior landscaped areas) so that we can create a distinct nighttime character as opposed to just replicating or extending the daytime experience.
March 1, 2017
Now that our awards submissions are done, we have some new projects up on the Project page! Check them out, below:
February 13, 2017
Today Oculus was pleased to hear that the Google Venice Project, including the Google Landscape, has been awarded a Gold LEED rating from the U.S. Green Building Council. We recognize the importance of environmentally conscious design, so we are proud to have collaborated with both Gensler and Google to achieve the second highest level of LEED certification. Congratulations to the team!
LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a rigorous program created to promote more sustainable architectural and civil design, starting from the planning phase and continuing through construction to building maintenance and operation.
February 7, 2017
The Metro connection from the Bloc to the 7th avenue station is finally open to the public! The event was both festive and pun-y, with officials using mallets to knock down actual blocks to provide access to the Bloc as shown in this video from the Bloc’s Facebook Page.
February 1, 2017
Architectural record published a particularly thoughtful piece today on the Temple Israel of Hollywood design by KoningEizenberg. What is especially unique about the article is it’s in depth look not only at the history of the building, which is impressive having hosted such speakers as Martin Luther King, Jr., but also takes a look at the process leading up to the design of the new space itself. It describes how the original temple space has a sort of dark, theatrical feel to it and how the new building needed to both compliment the old structure but also look to the future to serve modern needs of the congregation. After a great deal of thought and an indepth study of cultural symbolism, KoningEizenberg came up with the current design, one that the article touts as “Light-filled, the chapel plays against the original building’s darkness, contrasting an open and casual spirit with the main sanctuary’s more introverted and heavy formality. “Its’s a constant dialogue,” says Eizenberg. “The old solidity speaks of the past, whereas this sense of the ephemeral brings one into the moment.”
January 31, 2017
Ford‘s new Transportation Hub, located in the Westfield World Trade Center, has opened its doors! The design of the hub is meant to introduce Ford’s new branding initiative as being the future of transportation, both automotive and beyond. Oculus-design lighting provides a modern ambiance while not overpowering the many video installations, and is very flexible to allow for store layout changes as new additions are brought in.
Enjoy the video below posted by Fortune Magazine that describes the intent behind the store and gives a sneak peak of some of the futuristic tech components that visitors will get to experience first hand!
January 15, 2017
It is always good to start a new year off with some reflection of past achievements, so Oculus is particularly pleased to share some new photography here on the site. From a trendy home appliance store to a space where tech giants go to get some fresh air to a theatrical space for sea lions (and their animatronic friends), the team is proud of these spaces and what they will bring to their respective communities.
January 5, 2017
Drago Ristorante, located in Mid City at the Petersen Museum, is open! The restaurant is the next installment in a line of Los Angeles Italian classic eateries and follows in the footsteps of Drago (formerly of Santa Monica), Il Pastaio, Celestino, and Drago Centro in Downtown LA. The space was designed by FKA, and is described in Eater LA as being “in line with the Petersen Automotive Museum‘s new exterior aesthetic, with clean swooping lines and an international look by Felderman Keatinge + Associates. Stanley Felderman and co-designer Nancy Keatinge call it a “Streamlined modernism” melding traditional and contemporary elements”, which is a quality that is reflective in the food itself.
Oculus was so happy to design the lighting for this fun, airy space and the team cannot wait to go for a visit! Please enjoy the photos below from the Eater LA Article!
December 22, 2016
Happy Holidays from Oculus Light Studio!
We took some time out of our busy work schedule to visit the Enchanted: Forest of Light installation currently showing at Descanso Gardens in La Canada Flintridge. The event is described as “an interactive, nighttime experience unlike anything else in Los Angeles, featuring a one-mile walk through 8 distinct lighting displays in some of the most beloved areas of Descanso Gardens.”
We always appreciate thoughtful design, especially when lighting is the star of the show and there is an emphasis on being environmentally friendly! It was especially fun to watch the younger family members of the team being inspired to play with the interactive pieces as they realized that standing on a certain spot or running across a disc would make lights move or change color. Descanso Gardens served as the perfect lighting-related activity for our holiday party, and after we enjoyed a wonderful meal (and flash rainstorm!) at Red Herring in Eagle Rock, CA.
December 12, 2016
Zumtobel released a case study on our Legendary Entertainment project located in Burbank, CA. Designed by Felderman Keatinge and Associates the offices are for the well-known entertainment giant, and as such had to be creative, modern, reflective of the brand, and environmentally conscious. Oculus was able to utilized some of Zumtobel’s products on the project, with visual and concealed lighting elements.
Zumtobel were helpful through the entire process, by helping not only in the specification of the custom finished Ondaria pendant and surface mounted luminaires but also by assisting the project team answer the City Inspector’s questions by providing on-site visits in conjunction with the local representative, LightBuildDesign.
We look forward to working with the project team again!
Read the full case study on Zumtobel’s website.
December 5, 2016
Congratulations are in order for CallisonRTKL, who were recognized by ICSC (International Council Of Shopping Centers) for their work on Westlake Plaza, in Thousand Oaks California. ICSC “Recognizes the premier shopping center and retail achievements in the United States. Awards will be given for outstanding achievement in design and development of retail properties and retail store design”. The award is the ICSC Global Award: US Design & Development in the category of “Renovations and Expansions”, and we are so pleased to get a mention as the lighting designers on the project.
Westlake Plaza was a unique project in that it chose to enhance, instead of tear down, an already established neighborhood center. From a lighting standpoint, the goal was to improve upon the technology and aesthetic while creating a residential, relaxed California feel. Read about the design thoughts in our project page for Westlake plaza.
Congratulations to CallisonRTKL, and once again thank you for inviting us to work on such a great project!
December 2, 2016
We’ve been working hard to collect more photography of our work lately, so please follow the links below to learn about them!
November 28, 2016
While most of our posts here are focused on work that we have done or are doing, sometimes it is important to take a step away and take a moment to see inspiration in the world around us. To this end, I asked the Oculus Team members for one or two photos from their break to show how they spent their days off. Enjoy the photos below!
November 17, 2016
We are looking for an enthusiastic intern to work and learn with our diverse team on a variety of architectural lighting design projects located around the country and the globe. You will be interacting with and assisting Oculus’ team of designers and principals on all aspects of the art, science and business of lighting design, including design, renderings, presentations, lighting calculations, office organization, CAD and 3-D modeling. Based on performance, you will have a chance to be a permanent member of our team.
Qualifications: Students with 3-4 years of architecture/engineering school or enrolled in a Masters program and knowledge of Revit, AutoCAD, SketchUp, Microsoft Office, Adobe InDesign and Photoshop in a Windows environment. Desirable qualifications would be proficiency in performing lighting calculations, lighting design coursework or experience. If you are a foreign student, you must have the necessary permissions to work.
We look forward to hearing from you! Email resume with portfolio as pdf attachment (not more than 7MB) to
November 4, 2016
IALD Chase the Dark is a unique international event described on their website as : “Each year, IALD members and non-members participate in “Chase the Dark,” an international lighting movement that tasks participants to photograph and share displays of light via social media during a 24 hour period as the sun sets westward across the globe. The results capture the creativity and diversity of the lighting design profession.” This year’s theme was “Light where you Live”, which encouraged designers to appreciate and photograph both the natural and man made light sources that illuminate their communities.
This was such a wonderful and unique way to appreciate light, thank you to the organizers for coming up with such a fun social event! Check out Spurthy’s photos below, and search #IALDChaseDark on any social media platform to enjoy other designers’ photos!
November 3, 2016
We are excited to have the chance to share even more photography of our projects on the site! The first is a newly designed area at the historic Temple Israel of Hollywood. What makes this project really unique is the ceiling detail designed by KoningEizenbergArchitecture that seems to flow with movement from one room to the next. For a totally different design style, we’ve also featured photography on two restaurants that we worked on for Boyd Gaming, one in Vegas, NV and the other in Vinton, LA. Both are classic designs with opposite approaches: while one features jewel tones and lush fabrics the other is mono-chromatically cool and bright. Follow the links below and check out some of our work!
November 1, 2016
Three Oculus Designers are in Miami this week aiming for the expansive Saks Fifth Avenue at the Brickell City Centre, and while we cannot yet share photos of the space, we can share these photos of Miami, below. Keep an eye out for the coming articles on what looks to be a star-studded opening!
October 18, 2016
We are proud to announce that the REI flagship store located in Washington DC in the historic neighborhood near Union Station is opening it’s doors this week! We have had the opportunity to work on a few different REI locations with CallisonRTKL, but this store was really special with high concrete ceilings, a unique outdoor meeting area complete with string lights, and a coffee shop-like feel that the designers hope will inspire customers to sit and “plan their next adventure”. The lighting was designed to be unique to the store, but still carry consistent elements from new REI stores from around the country with the inclusion of LED high-bays and LED track lighting.
October 14, 2016
The Autry Museum of the American West recently opened a new exhibition called “California Continued” that consists of two renovated gallery spaces and 7,000 square foot outdoor space where the former Gene Autry backlot has been transformed in a new ethnobotanical teaching garden. The garden is home to over 60 plants that are native to the state, but also includes information on the history of how native peoples used the plants in their everyday lives. Designed by Matthew Kennedy of Costello Kennedy Landscape Architecture with the help of Native American elders, authors, professors and museum experts, who all worked to ensure that each intentional plant selection works with the content in the two new gallery exhibitions “Human Nature” and “The Life and Work of Mabel McKay”. This dedication to research is reflected the interactive displays that help visitors appreciate how each plant in the garden relates to California’s various micro-climates.