As you walk past the storefronts at the Boston Design Center, the System 7 showroom doesn’t stand out too much from the other design storefronts. However, that reason alone is why it stands out so much, as despite looking like a lighting showroom, it is secretly a technology experience center in disguise.
While System 7 still engages in the traditional AV installation (after all it was Lynch’s start in the industry) the company has invested heavily in lighting and shading, even hiring multiple design consultants to join the System 7 team.
It’s all a part of the approach System 7 and its founder and president Gerard Lynch takes when it comes to technology: the design should always be measured by its simplicity, reliability and beauty, not just by bits and bytes. Which is why the entire center, from the moment you walk in the door, has little elements of automation and control wedged into every corner, though you would never notice half of it.
Why lighting though? For Lynch it’s a topic so vital and complex for comfort and enjoyment in the home that it was something he saw worth specializing in, and it’s something all of System 7’s clients can agree on.
In designing the experience center, Lynch wanted to take visitors on a journey of understanding through the realm of light, and the journey starts with the colossal windows at the front entrance. With natural light flooding into the space from the exterior seaport, the windows provide a perfect staging area for shading not just to see the different styles, but to see how colors and weaves determine the how much light, heat and visibility a space gets.
There are also smaller alcoves off to the side that are able to do this on a smaller scale with artificial lighting, though you might not notice it at first with how closely the lighting mirrors the outside environment. It’s here, Lynch says where the topic of color temperature first gets introduced to the conversation, setting the stage for later parts of the tour where he and his team can go more in depth into the topic alongside that of circadian lighting.
It ends up foreshadowing more than just color temperature, however, as Lynch has cleverly set up each stage of the experience center to build upon the knowledge gained from the last.
In the living room scene, Lynch delivers his Lighting 101 lecture. With the press of a button, shading partitions descend from hidden cams in the ceiling, walling off the space entirely from the open floor and leaving nothing more than the scene told in lighting.
Using Ketra to set the stage, Lynch showcases what differing color temperatures do to a space, how the colors of art pop and how a dimmed LED can look vastly different from a dimmed incandescent. It’s also here where he displays how the unique layering of lighting can transform the atmosphere and function of a space, from relaxing art gallery vibes to an effervescent party scene. What was once an anecdote at the beginning of the tour Lynch turns into the main attraction, all the while showcasing the enhanced control and scheduling his team can provide alongside the lighting product.
Then, from there, visitors are moved onto the main showroom floor, where Lynch has a large variety of lighting fixtures on display from flowing organic models to more modern stylings. But it’s all another hidden display of System 7’s integration talent. With the press of a button, Lynch can select a specific style to highlight, turning off the others and closing motorized shades over them while leaving only the chosen fixtures in view.
In the end, the team at System 7 can serve the role of lead and support in whatever project they are brought onto, and the experience center is a great display of that. In some cases, Lynch admits, integrators have come in looking to scope out the competition and have left with a potential lighting partner on future projects. There have even been situations where his team has worked alongside other integrators on projects as lighting and shading consultants.
The showroom highlights the full capabilities lighting and shading have at transforming a space, at once a learning experience for visitors and a chance for System 7 to flex its expertise when it comes to technology. So focused is the experience on, well, the experience that the individual concepts can provide that the topic of brands doesn’t even come up during the tour. Lynch simply lets the marvel of motorized shading, color tunable LEDs, adaptive lighting and enhanced control speak for itself, and the rest usually follows.
Nick Boever is editor of DesignWell365.com, a sister website to CE Pro.