This profile originally appeared in Best Offices Ottawa. Download the free magazine here.
If there is one aspect of commercial building and renovation that has changed dramatically, it’s lighting.
Gone are the days of fatigue-inducing fluorescent tubes creating a cold, dull environment. Today, there is a dizzying array of options, so much so that professional guidance is often needed to select the most effective lighting and control strategy.
FLUX has built a reputation as a leader in lighting, control and shading solutions of all kinds for commercial, hospitality, institutional and residential spaces.
Founded in 2002 by Dan Emond and Jeff Fitch, the team has grown from two to 15 people and, since 2013, includes a third partner, Mara Klammrodt.
The firm’s roster of clients includes some of the city’s biggest commercial names in the Ottawa-Gatineau area.
“Our skills are quite diverse and we can provide a lighting strategy for everything from a small restaurant space to a large commercial office,” says Dan.
FLUX has grown steadily thanks to its expertise and professionalism that are second to none. Working with the best products from manufacturers in Canada and around the world, the FLUX team ensures proper application, installation and use of the products they recommend. From specifier to end user, its mission on every project is to achieve an optimal lighting environment that both meets technical requirements and satisfies human needs.
Sometimes considered an afterthought in the design of a space or building, lighting is a key element in any visual environment. Just as effective lighting improves productivity, comfort and security, poor lighting can hinder performance in many ways and can end up costing a client more due to ineffective solutions and products.
Lighting is a field that continues to evolve rapidly, making the development and implementation of an optimal lighting solution continually more complex.
As a result of these pressures, architects, interior designers and engineers have all come to rely on FLUX’s expertise.
“Of particular importance is understanding what activities are going to happen in a space or how people will use the space, which will help dictate what lighting strategies need to be implemented."
“Each project brings its own challenges,” says Jeff. “Of particular importance is understanding what activities are going to happen in a space or how people will use the space, which will help dictate what lighting strategies need to be implemented.”
FLUX considers the interplay between natural and electric light as well as what the interior finishes and office layouts are, as these affect the way light plays throughout a space.
“It helps that we have a well-equipped studio in our new office so we can show people exactly how various solutions perform,” adds Jeff. “Our studio gives clients an opportunity to experience the variety of lighting types and effects in person and to see first-hand the benefit they can have on their projects.”
The versatile FLUX studio space serves another important role as a classroom for students and industry professionals alike. FLUX brings architecture and interior design students from Carleton University and Algonquin College in to demonstrate some of the many lighting effects that can be achieved with today’s technology.
“These educational institutions appreciate the opportunity for their students to get first-hand knowledge of fixtures and control systems,” says Mara.
Dan, Jeff and Mara have all obtained their Lighting Certification (LC) designation, as granted by the National Council on Qualifications for the Lighting Professions (NCQLP).
This designation identifies them as highly knowledgeable and well-qualified lighting practitioners who are able to consider multiple issues surrounding an effective lighting plan, including safety, health, productivity, energy conservation and effectiveness, environmental concerns, governmental policy and the lighting technology itself.
Additionally, FLUX is supported in its mission to provide optimal lighting solutions by the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES), which has a mandate to promote the art and science of quality lighting. In fact, FLUX’s Francis Hodgson is current president of the local IES section.
The IES publishes recommended practice guides for every type of lighting application. The guides promote a focus on lighting quality and human visual performance.
The IES also reinforces the message that paying careful attention to the many details of a project and collaborating with other members of the design team helps to ensure the best possible use of available resources in developing cost-effective lighting solutions.
Lighting is an industry that is rapidly evolving. Today, highly technical elements such as integrated controls and motorized shades for daylighting applications are now being incorporated into lighting strategies; as a result it’s more important than ever for companies to work with lighting professionals.
The depth of expertise at FLUX has enabled the company to create a team-based approach to developing lighting solutions. Clients first interface with sales team experts who help scope out the requirements. The project moves on to the technical professionals who address issues such as fixture selection and layouts and control strategies.
Once the solution has been crafted, the project coordination team takes over to oversee the project from tendering through to completion. The technical team is always available to address any after-installation adjustments or programming changes that need to be made.
“As industry expectations increase, more technical and sophisticated products are required to fulfill project requirements,” says Jaro Cichocki, head of FLUX’s technical team. “Our skilled technical team is imperative to aid in the design and onsite coordination to ensure successful project completion.”
The many interior design firms that FLUX works with appreciate the importance of a proper lighting solution. Good lighting design brings a space to life and supports the design concept through ambiance, colour, texture, wayfinding and function, according to Richard Newbury and Celeste Irvine-Jones of Creative Friction.
“A thoughtful approach to fixture selection, including both quantity and quality, leads to an enhanced lighting solution for the client and the end users of the space,” says Richard. “FLUX has proven their ability to deliver good fixture selection options and technical support, which support our design criteria and our clients’ lighting goals.”
CSV Architects principal Darryl Hood agrees.
“Lighting is an element that can elevate the experience and effectiveness of the space for its stakeholders,” he says. “As lighting technology has evolved over the last decade, lighting designing is now also contributing to project sustainability and occupant well-being. CSV has been collaborating on lighting design with FLUX for 10 years. Their insight and technical knowledge have been welcomed contributions to our design process and an added-value for our clients.”
Simply put, any investment made in quality lighting delivers unlimited returns. It is human nature that when one enters an office that is strategically lit, the space feels good.
Cutting corners may initially offer savings, but in the end, it is a mistake that a company will likely end up paying for in many ways. A properly developed lighting plan can help you achieve a space that is productive and comfortable for years to come.