The Great Lakes Crossing Mall, located in Auburn Hills, MI, opened its doors last November, and provides consumers with 1.4 million sq. ft. (126,000 sq. m) of upscale and discount shopping. The mall, which took almost two years to complete, reflects the collaborative work of The Taubman Company of Bloomfield Hills, MI; Communication Arts of Denver; and Hillmann DiBernado and Associates of New York. The Great Lakes Crossing Mall is shaped like a 4/5-mile racetrack, and features distinct zones: Town and Country (designer merchandise), North/South Dale (family fashions), The Sporting Life (sporting goods), Fit for Life (exercise/lifestyle merchandise), the Great Lakes Walk (specialty merchandise and entertainment), and the Food Court.
In the early phases of the project, architect Ron Loch (of The Taubman Company), realized that 4/5 of a mile can be quite a trek around any shopping area, and that lighting, as well as architecture, could be used to manage the size of the mall. "We decided that if we varied and modulated the different types of lighting we used, along with the architecture, that would add interest and help break up the size of the space."
Consequently, each area within the mall was given a distinct architectural treatment, augmented by individualized lighting schemes. "The challenge was to support the architecture with diverse lighting environments, while maintaining a smooth transition between the spaces," says lighting designer Rob Leiter of Hillmann DiBernado and Associates. To ease the transitions and to bring a sense of cohesiveness to the overall look of the space, Leiter used several types of metal-halide fixtures for the majority of areas in the mall.
Entering the mall from the west, the consumer immediately walks into the Town and Country district. "In that area, we wanted to create an upscale palette, not only architecturally, but also from a lighting standpoint," remarks Loch. This area is highlighted by a cathedral ceiling that includes numerous triangular dormer windows, each of which is illuminated by an asymmetrical fluorescent uplight. "It throws the light out evenly, away from the glass and out towards the point of the skylight. This enhances the skylight as an architectural element, and helps modulate the space," explains Leiter.
Town and Country is highlighted by 23 seven-foot-diameter apple blossom lights, designed by Loch and Taku Shimizu of Communication Arts. "We wanted to relate the design concepts to the Michigan experience," explains Loch, hence the inclusion of the apple blossoms, which are native to the state. From a design standpoint, the apple blossoms were a challenge to engineer, since their size obstructed the overhead sprinkler heads, creating a potential fire hazard. Instead of making the fixture smaller, a plethora of design work was done, and consequently the sprinkler head is located at the bottom of the apple blossom, while the sprinkler line is curved within the stem of the flower. The apple blossoms, which are primarily decorative in nature, are apparently illuminating the area. Or so it would seem.
"You wouldn't try to light this area with decorative fixtures," Leiter declares. "They would be too bright, and a source of glare." Instead, the LD used 46 metal-halide downlights, hung in pairs between the apple blossom fixtures. "We designed the base level of illumination with low-brightness metal-halide downlights, then balanced the color temperature of the metal-halide with the source in the apple blossoms. That way, you're visually free to accept that they are lighting the space."
Placement, as well as fixture choice, was another critical element in working around the decorations. "We actually picked the fixture so that the beam of the light would not light up the apple blossoms--we wanted it to fall between them, so that by the time it got down to the people, you had even illumination on the ground," comments Leiter. "We didn't want a beam that was too narrow, because then you'd get uneven lighting and it would be illogical--the dark spots would be occurring under the apple blossoms, which is the opposite of what you would want. If we had picked a fixture with a wider beam, then we would have light on them."
Moving through the space, the next significant retail area is North/South Dale. This area features a cove illuminated by HIR PAR-38s (chosen for their long life and higher output) that create columns of light shooting up the wall. "The easy way to do it would have been to put PARs on a track and have them point up," Leiter explains. "But you wouldn't be able to maintain the look of the space over time." Instead, he mounted the fixtures on individual custom junction boxes, placed on 8' centers. Each junction box then sits on an angled base, which provides a permanent 10-degree angle toward the wall. To complete the look, Leiter put a snoot painted with a matte white interior on each fixture, primarily to diminish the hard edge of the beam. "The white snoot softens the edges of the scallops on the walls and cleans up the hash from the edge of the PAR lens."
Next in the mall are The Sporting Life and Fit for Life, which are located opposite each other, between North/South Dale and the Food Court. The Sporting Life features a double cove, one of which serves to illuminate murals that are worked into the architectural space. In both coves, Leiter used single-lamp linear fluorescent fixtures that were staggered with a 9" overlap, to eliminate socket shadow. In Fit for Life, which has a gymnasium-like feel, skylights dominate the vaulted ceiling, between which are nestled clusters of metal-halide downlights and track-mounted metal-halide PARs, which accent the decorative signs.
The next significant space in the mall is the Food Court. This area is dominated by another massive skylight, as well as two signs that announce "Great Eats at Great Lakes Crossing." To augment the natural light and supplement it in the evening, the Food Court is illuminated by chandeliers, metal-halide downlights from the skylight, and metal-halide uplights located at the dormer windows. The chandelier fixtures are comprised of inverted Holophane prismatic reflectors, selected for their decorative appearance. Normally, the Holophane prismatic reflectors would project light up into the skylight, rather than down into the space, where it was actually needed. So, to get the light down into the space and eliminate the glare reflected off the skylight, Leiter did some fixture manipulation.
"We sand-etched the glass shades on the inside, so you can read the textures of the prisms outside, but what you're effectively doing is destroying the optics of the refractor, creating a diffuse distribution." To increase the illumination at floor level, Leiter used white perforated metal shields on top of each refractor. "This increases the downlight component, yet it also lets the light bleed up. The reflection in the skylight isn't too bright, but it gets into the structure of the skylight, so it doesn't become a large, black void." To complete the chandelier, which was designed by Communication Arts, small (1.5"x3.5"x5") electronic ballasts, provided by Aromat, are located inside the arms of the chandeliers.
At the far end of the mall is the Great Lakes Walk, the most theatrical space in the project, accented by hanging swag lights and ETC Source Fours. "We wanted it to feel like a boardwalk, and we thought the swag lights would help give it that feel," Loch comments. The swag lights, which could simply be strung across the area in a theatre, posed something of a challenge. In a permanent installation, a fixture can't be supported by its own wire. To alleviate the problem, Leiter used medium-based hooked sockets wired with 12 gauge AWM lead, placed on 12" centers. These were then attached to aircraft cable which spans the 32' (9.8m) width of the mall, and is subsequently anchored to the walls. To complete the look, Leiter used 40W S14 lamps dimmed to 100V for extended lamp life and to create a warm, welcoming glow.
Layered on top of the swag lights are 70 Source Fours each with a glass leaf template in the stationary holder, as well as a radial breakup pattern in a GAM Products TwinSpin attached to each luminaire. The instruments, colored with a pale blue (Lee 218) filter, work with the gobos, evoking the feeling of strolling under the trees on a moonlit night. The TwinSpins, which have a 0-3rpm rotation speed, are controlled by a Lutron four-scene preset controller with every fourth rotator circuited together. "By taking the voltage of the swag lights down to 100V, you make the general light so warm that you don't need a lot of blue in the moonlight to make it appear very cool. By limiting the saturation of the color, you increase your transmission and the pattern actually reads much better."
To finish off the look, Leiter used a Lutron controller to create four separate scenes with varying subtle rotation in the radial pattern in the TwinSpins. "I have the Lutron just cycle between the scenes," he explains. "The templates move slowly and naturally, creating the sense of being under branches that are moving from a slight breeze, as if the patrons are strolling down a boardwalk. The light dapples across the patrons as they move through the area, creating an interactive, kinetic energy. It's a cool effect in the space"--and a nice way to end a day of shopping.
Sharon Stancavage is a Detroit-based concert and theatrical lighting technician.
Interior Primary Equipment List 680 Kurt Versen metal-halide downlights 500' Neoray Lighting asymmetric biax fluorescent strip 420' Starfire curved ramped biax fluorescent 120 Starfire incandescents 56 Starfire metal halides 3,000' Starfire PAR cove incandescent swag fixtures 36 Rambusch asymmetric adjustable metal-halide uplights 2,900' LiteLab busway 300 LiteLab metal-halide PARs 8 Holophane prismatic metal-halide high bay fixtures 120 Holophane decorative chandelier globes 70 ETC Source Four ellipsoidals 70 GAM Products TwinSpins 16 Hydrel metal-halide tree uplights 3,300' Columbia fluorescent striplights Penwal Industries decorative custom luminaires
Exterior Primary Equipment List Stonco adjustable metal-halide PAR-38s Bega decorative compact fluorescent sconces Elliptipar asymmetric metal-halide uplights Hydrel metal-halide tree uplights Winona mushroom planter lights Kurt Versen metal-halide downlights Design Plan decorative compact fluorescent sconces BK Lighting MR-16 adjustable accents ABS metal-halide floodlights Hadco fiberglass composite adjustable metal-halide PAR-38s