Projects   Lighting – August 2006
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Diva Lounge

Somerville, MA
Studio Luz Architects

Studio Luz orchestrates a landscape of LED bubbles for Diva Lounge in Boston

By William Weathersby, Jr.

  Photo © John Horner

Boston-based architects Hansy Better Barraza and Anthony Piermarini are intrigued by the way lighting can visually shape space. In fact, the name of the firm the husband-and-wife team founded in 2001, Studio Luz, incorporates the Spanish word for “light,” reflecting their mutual obsession. As Barraza says, “Evocative lighting can heighten the sensuous aspects of an interior. We explore how the interplay of light, materials, and perspective can bring about a human connection to place.”

Often the architects employ unorthodox lighting techniques, rather than install standard fixtures. For their recent design of the restaurant OmBar, in Boston, for example, they backlit shards of glass set behind resin to achieve a fractured composition of shadow and light. At Diva Lounge, which debuted outside the city, in Somerville, last spring, they further elevated lighting’s role as a primary architectural element. Transforming a former grocery store in the Davis Square neighborhood into a nighttime lounge, the architects wrapped the entire space with a landscape of cloudlike lights. Patrons find themselves passing through zones of mysterious illumination that glow from white to red. The lighting creates an intimate enclosure where backlit occupants seem to be thrust to the foreground.

The 140-by-14-foot lounge was planned as an annex to Diva, the popular Indian restaurant next door. With 14-foot ceiling heights but few architectural details, the existing space called for a solution that could overcome the tunnel-like quality of the room. “We decided to create an architectural skin that ‘blushes’ with color, across billowing surfaces that introduce a sculptural effect,” Barraza says.

To create a syncopation of curved, illuminated surfaces along all the walls and the ceiling within a tight budget, the architects designed a metal framework to support 500 standard skylight domes, or bubbles, that act as translucent diffusers for LEDs set behind them. The architects enlisted technical consultant Daina Yurkus, principal of Light This!, to engineer and plot the lighting array.

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the People

One World Cuisine

Studio Luz Architects, Ltd.
337 Summer Street
Boston, MA 02210
T/F: 617.423.2724

Design Team
Hansy L. Better Barraza - Principal, Anthony J. Piermarini AIA – Principal, Michael Beaman, Jason Frantzen, Rachel Shauer, Shane Zhao

Code Consulting
Albert Costa Architect
333 Moody Street
Woburn, MA 02453
T: (781) 647-5831

Lighting Design Consultant
Light This!
256 Hanover Street
Boston, MA 02213
T: 617.227.6920
F: 617.227.1508

Lighting design project team
Daina Yurkus, Principal
Brad Koerner

Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing engineer(s)
Ibrahim & Ibrahim Consulting Engineers
Sinote Ibrahim
165 Friend Street
Boston, MA 02114
T: (617) 723-9766

Structural Engineer
Zerounian Associates
Sarkis Zerounian
85 Ruane Road
West Newton, MA
T: (617) 965-2318
F: (617) 965-0002

General contractor
IDS Construction, Inc.
99 Harrison Ave
Boston, MA  02111
T: (617) 338-8688

John Horner
15-17 Kent Court
Somerville, MA 02143
T: 617-625-9025
F: 617-625-9035

the Products

Interior ambient lighting:
Low Voltage LED       
ElectraLED 50ma 12” circuit board

Pendant Downlights:
Illuminating Experiences / Nemo “Soiree” M10043

Accent Spotlights and Tracks:
Tech Lighting 700 Series

Hand Peeled Log and Veneers of Forest floor salvaged, Wormy Grade, Disease Killed Butternut.
Parker Nichols
Green Mountain Wildwoods
104 Church Street, Suite 12
Burlington, VT 05401
T/F: 802.426.3449

“Bubbles” Material:
Makrolon Polycarbonate by Sheffield Plastics
Manufacturer: American Skylights
525 113th Street
Arlington, Texas 76011
T: 1-800-772-7401
F: 1-800-445-7282

Custom Wall and Ceiling Mounting Brackets
Quality Metal Craft
135 Old Colony Ave
Quincy, MA 02170
T: 617.479.7374
F: 617.471.8013

Slate Floors
Winchester Black, Cleft Face
Vermont Structural Slate Company, Inc.
3 Prospect Street
Fair Haven, VT 05742
T: 1-800-265-4933

Tom Krueger Fine Woodworking
250 Canal Street
Lawrence, MA 01842
T:(978) 974-9100


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