Return on Design Investment: Learning from Las Vegas

Lighting design is undergoing a quiet revolution, leading to new architectural and interior designs while providing enhanced intrinsic benefits for the designer’s clients, the client’s employees and the client’s customers.


Nowhere has the science of design and its financial return been more thoroughly scrutinized than Las Vegas. Steve Wynn and his designer Roger Thomas have turned casino design on its head. According to Karen Finlay, a researcher of gambler behavior and professor at the University of Guelf, Thomas’ designs create a space of “refuge” and mental “restoration” which served to reduce gambler stress levels.

As conceived by Wynn and Thomas, the Bellagio’s casino represented a $1.6-billion bet on human psychology. The gamble paid off: the Bellagio generated the largest profits for a single property in Las Vegas history. And this income wasn’t a by-product of scale—the Bellagio was less than half the size of the MGM Grand—but a direct result of the way that Wynn’s guests spent money. Per guest room, the resort generated four times as much revenue as the Las Vegas average. (1)

There are numerous studies on environmental features used to manipulate human senses. For instance, light and color are two variables that can directly affect behavior. Colors are closely associated with various moods. Red is “exciting” and “stimulating”, blue is “comfortable”, “secure” and “soothing”, orange can create “angst” and green is “ecological” and “leisurely”. Color also affects physiological reactions such as pulse rate, breathing rate, and arousal. When it comes to gaming research, it has been shown that people will tend to take greater risks when exposed to red light, but much less so when colors veer towards the blue end of the spectrum.

However, what is done in Vegas doesn’t have to stay in Vegas. In fact, to create similar levels of ambience is becoming easier and more commonplace. Imagine being able to show a concrete Return on Design Investment (RODI) through an effective mix of color and lighting; designs that allow your clients to control the specific ambience of their business at any time? Imagine being able to create refuge and places of mental restoration for employees within their place of employment, or a place where customers desire to purchase more. What would the impact be?

(1) Wired Magazine: The Psychology of Casinos

Think Outside the Bulb

The 130 year old incandescent bulb has made a monumental impact on our lives and many bulbs still linger in circulation, despite all the downsides and strong alternatives. The time for replacement of this outdated technology has arrived in full force. One of the main technologies replacing the old glowing lamps of yesterday is the compact fluorescent bulb. At the same time, we have seen light emitting diode (LED) bulbs, the next generation of technology, seeing rapid adoption.

The incandescent bulb is a point source of light with high heat and low efficiency – the entire bulb concept was built around these limitations. With the introduction of the fluorescent tube in the 1930’s – the physical requirement of a bulb wrapping a single point of light was changed to allow tubes and surfaces as lighting fixtures. These two types of light technology are commonly used for interior lighting today and require defined fixtures and arrangements. Because of the legacy of the bulb and fixture system, most new LED products are designed as bulbs and retrofits into the same form factors. Fortunately, going forward, it will be possible to create radically different styles of lighting fixtures and surfaces and break away from the dominant bulb paradigm using LED technology. The existing form factors, limited control capability and low efficiency are all previous constraints overcome with LED lighting. Once we break away from these, a whole new range of products and lighting experiences become possible.

We have only just began to tap the potential of LEDs and starting seeing interesting new lighting fixtures and lighting systems. In particular the rapid on/off cycling of LEDs as well as the small efficient package makes them ideal for custom physical sizes, wide integration into a range of products and of course, new lighting experiences such as color washes, controllable home lighting and efficient, controllable commercial lighting. It is also easier to shape the LED light into strongly focused or diffused beams, allowing a new range of lighting design. A good example is this beautiful light solution that breaks out of the old retrofit standard.

Sonneman ConnetixAnother great future following from LEDs is in surface lighting, which can range from a simple white panel to colorful interactive lighting surfaces. Many of today’s new leading products seem straight out of science fiction. Surface lighting has several benefits. It is pleasant to look at as it does not have bright hot spots that cause eye strain. Additionally, surface lighting has usages from general illumination or task lighting and can be easily blended over into ambient lighting. Surface lighting also enables places to be transformed into stunning experiences by using artistic light patterns to create a dynamic ambient lightscape.

Lellan DigitalCanvas SmartTile

Lellan DigitalCanvas SmartTile

This is a major differentiating part of next generation lighting solutions. In the past we had the bulb or ceiling light panel with two simple states: on or off. Because LED lighting allows a far better control capability and surface lighting solution can create arrangements not limited only to white lighting, they offer both a whole new opportunity and also a coming new wave of architectural and interior design. Going one step further, also using the full color light spectrum over an area allows for mood enhancement, branding experiences, and strong memorable as well as subtle new experiences of our built spaces.

One of the big impacts that interior designers have noticed is that applying color controllable surface lighting to a space seems to make it suddenly feel full of life and energy. There are endless possibilities with these new colorful surface lighting technologies.

How could you imagine using this solution in your connected home?

by Richard Wimmer

First Demo Showcase

After some preparation and with the great support of LegalForce who generously let us use there window space in Palo Alto downtown store we placed our first 4 unit demo showcase.

The demo continues to run different motion sequences and it is sitting in the prime center position of the window. Should you visit University Ave. in Palo Alto please check it out and let us know what you think.


SmartTile, Digital Canvas, Lellan

SmartTile, Digital Canvas, Lellan