Our COO Chris Smith was given the opportunity to write about the constantly evolving world of residential lighting. We cover technologies and design center experiences from companies (and great partners!) like Lutron Electronics, Ketra, USAI Lighting, LumaStream, Inc., and Coastal Source. The options for the design community have never been better – or more impressive!
Our resident Engineer Brandon Carey walks us through the experience of using ClickShare. For any office that has struggled with sharing content, ClickShare is an incredibly handy retrofit solution.
Brittany Sanchez joins us this February as Office Administrator.
We’re excited to have her bright energy, and considerable writing skills, on the Cloud9 team. (We also fully expect her to turn us onto some vegan snacks.)
Keep a lookout for her upcoming personal blog on natural living!
In 2019, Lutron offers two styles of smart roller shades that our clients keep asking for. The key difference is how they are mounted.
- Standard Roller Shade (Sivoia QS) – Usually mounted out of sight.
Palladiom– Mounted proud.
The Trouble with Motorized Shades
It is an unfortunate reality of the motorized shade world that brackets are hideous. Lutron has historically solved this by tucking the roller and motor up into a pocket or cavity. This way the shade is only seen once it drops.
This is a tricky endeavour anyway, but especially where space is tight (such as in New York City, where most of our jobs take place.) It becomes exponentially challenging when trying to hide rollers for both blackout and privacy in the same cavity. The rollers need to sit as close to each other as possible without any movement being obstructed (often by stacking one on top of the other and having them descend on opposite sides of the roller.)
By designing a beautiful bracket system that doesn’t need to be hidden, Lutron has created a new opportunity to mount smart shades proud. This is Palladiom. The brackets come in all sorts of finishes, letting you match your door handle finish, for example. You can also match the hem bar on the bottom of the shade.
Palladiom also makes keypads with gorgeous finishes in metal, glass and plastic. Each button is backlit and engravable. They match the same high quality and minimal aesthetic as the shades themselves, and give a satisfying tactile response when pressed.
While easier to install in many ways, wiring for
Options and Impact
Because it’s Lutron, options within each approach are practically limitless. Fabrics, colors and transparencies all run a wide gamut of choices. What used to be an obstacle designers and architects had to deal with, is now a design element they can fine-tune.
And the impact should not be understated. If shade transparency is set too low, you don’t allow enough light into the room, but you also don’t grant yourself any more privacy than if you were to increase transparency to say three, five or seven per cent. By choosing transparency meticulously you can ensure privacy while still letting natural light through. Of arguably more importance, you can make your space appear bigger by seeing silhouettes of the world around you through the shades, rather than a single plane of material.
Finally, blocking UV sunlight that can bleach furnishings and overheat your home is of great value. Lutron can automatically do this based on an astronomical clock. Beyond time of day, it knows the latitude/longiture position of the building and can automatically adjust based on the position of the sun.
Lutron even lets you select separate colors for the inside and outside of the shade. Many buildings specify a single color for shades in order to maintain unity from street view. This lets you play with color on the inside of your home while remaining compliant from the outside.
An important question to ask when specifying for shades is whether they should fall to the backside of the roller or the front side. If we’re mounting outside of the window frame, falling to the back of the roller probably makes perfect sense, but if you’re inside the window frame you need to ask whether the window will open and shut. If so, you might have window hardware that can get in the way, in which case the shade falling forward makes more sense.
Why is this so important to determine up front? When we wire the shade for power and control, spinning the whole shade around to flip where it falls will be a huge issue.
Performance and Noise
The mark of a really great shade is not only smooth
The hem bars on Lutron shades actually align with one another digitally. This lets Lutron know where each shade is in position to the rest, and maintain perfect alignment in movement. Without this technology shades can misalign or “sawtooth,” which is to put it lightly an undesired look.
What about Battery Powered?
When given the choice, we will always choose a hard-wired connection for its rock-solid reliability and independence from your wireless network. When wired is not an option however, Lutron does offer a straight-forward option with their Serena line. Nixing the need for hard wiring makes them far easier to retrofit, and the batteries last for around three years.
Our Architect Specialist Michael Dye lays out the circumstances (and frustration) that led to us completely changing our approach to Architect relationships. Read now on Connected Design.