A Unique Approach to Lighting Design

When you partner with Essential Light Design Studio, you’ll notice a distinct difference from other lighting design firms. We employ a very hands-on, client-focused approach. We will discuss your design issues and potential solutions. From the first meeting we will discuss conceptual design ideas to ascertain your style and comfort level with various solutions. We will sketch quick design ideas, discuss pros and cons, and discuss your timeline and budget to ensure we can deliver the design and lighting effects you’re looking for—all before signing a contract.

Throughout the design process, we listen to your needs and are mindful of your budget. As a result, we deliver solid and innovative lighting solutions. To make sure the result meets the promise, we’re there from conception through execution.


Our daylighting design and analysis service allows you to explore a design in several different configurations and understand the pros/cons of each. We will run computer simulation calculations, build a physical daylighting model, or both. These help to study and understand the dispersion of daylight throughout a space, and to discover instances of problematic glare. Optimization of architectural elements such as height and depth of overhangs, light shelves, fins, banners, canopies, etc. can be determined. Also a change of materials can have significant impact on daylight distribution. We can model the effect that color and reflective properties will have on the space to optimize daylight contribution. 

Architectural Lighting Design

Schematic Lighting Design

Before starting any design, we listen to get a clear understanding of the project, the vision of the final space and how it will be used. We’ll discuss conceptual design, planning and lighting design intent, architectural elements, and architectural materials. We’ll discuss LEED goals, if any. An energy code compliance first-run is conducted to ensure proposed designs adhere to applicable codes. 

Lighting Design Development

With approval of the schematic design, we move into the detailed design phase. We will sketch lighting details for architectural integration; run light level calculations to ensure illuminance and contrast are as expected; create fixture and dimming/control schedules; produce drawings and cutsheet packages; and confirm lighting design loads meet energy code requirements.

Lighting Construction Documents

Here we refine all design deliverables so they are suitable for construction. We produce a variety of construction documents:

  • Lighting plans with dimensions for fixture installation
  • Lighting plan with control zoning to inform fixture circuiting
  • Lighting equipment schedule for fixture acquisition
  • Lighting control (load) schedule for fixture circuiting
  • Light fixture cut sheet package to aid in the understanding of individual fixtures and components
  • Architectural lighting details to inform construction details
  • Energy code compliance reports for permit submission
  • LEED documentation as applicable

GMP / Bid Phase

During this phase we work with design team and the construction team to make sure pricing is as expected and meets an established budget. A meeting of the minds typically assists in clearing up any confusion. 

Construction Administration

Although some feel that their work is done once the lighting design documents are handed off to the construction crew, we pride ourselves on being accessible to answer questions from the field, making site visits to help resolve conflicts or changes, and coordinating with factories and vendors to assist with lighting fixture issues and/or lead times. 

Lighting Aiming & Adjustment

Once the project is substantially complete, we are on-site to aim adjustable fixtures, set and fine tune light levels, and assist with scene programming.