Apr 9, 2021

Origo Club delivers a lighting plan to suit all tastes

By Paul Tarricone

With the word “Club” in its name, it’s easy to think “ah, restaurant and bar.” But Origo Club in Richmond, BC, fancies itself as much more—an “interactive cultural and culinary experience” where a gallery of Asian art, a chic restaurant serving French-inspired food and wine, and a stylish café come together under one roof.

This smorgasbord is matched by a diverse lighting palette, courtesy of John Henshaw Architect (JHA) Inc., Vancouver, BC, which combined integrated and concealed light sources with bolder design strokes throughout the 5,024-sq ft space (2,762 sq ft retail and 2,262 sq ft dining). At the same time, museum-quality, high-CRI LEDs were needed to ensure the artwork would appear vibrant and the food visually appealing and fresh.

Click images for larger view

“The ambience of the space was very important to the client,” says Joy Chao, lead interior designer and lighting consultant with JHA. That starts in the restaurant, which “required sufficient task lighting for servers at the bar, but also had to transition the ambient lighting levels reflective of an energetic café during the day to an intimate yet sophisticated bistro/bar at night.” Here, the design strategy was to hide light sources. Concealed LED linear lighting highlights a wine storage wall, bar seating area, coffee bar and storage behind the bar. The linear luminaires bring forth the richness of both the building materials and products displayed. Also largely concealed in the dining area is adjustable track lighting—placed among sound absorbing baffles and out of sight line—with a control system that allows ambient light levels to seamlessly be adjusted.

This micro approach extends to the glass cases with their exclusive wine and scotch collections, where small mono-point LED lights, emitting almost no UV radiation, are integrated into the shelves.

“The client also wanted the retail gallery to emanate a quiet, yet engaging atmosphere,” says Chao. Here, products including museum-quality porcelain, Yixing teapots and P’uerh tea are displayed in custom-designed “moon gate”-shaped millwork with integrated LED point sources that create “bursts of light” on the products. High-CRI linear lighting is also integrated into individual display cases using Origo’s brand colors of blue and brass. CRI was a key success metric for the project, and Chao reached into her design kit for “museum-quality, high-CRI LEDs. They were specified to ensure the artwork colors appear vibrant and true, food fresh and appetizing, and to make customers feel attractive.” The LED track heads with Xicato’s Artist series LEDs are used in both the retail (gallery) and the restaurant areas. One type of art in particular helped drive the product decision. “The client was planning to showcase a specific type of artwork called ‘Thangka,’ which is done in natural mineral pigments. The choice was made to showcase the vibrant colors of these pieces,” says Chao. And the client was willing to invest in the product. “The Artist series is virtually indistinguishable from halogen lighting and was significantly more expensive than standard Xicato or traditional halogen favored by retail and hospitality industries.” The CRI for all track heads were rated 98. LED linear lighting has a CRI rating of 90-plus and all pendants also feature a CRI of 90-plus. “For Vancouver, our general understanding is that the lighting quality for this project is fairly unusual predominately due to the cost factor,” says Chao.

Now, for the bolder lighting strokes. One example is the private party room where large mono-points with frosted glass shields and wire-hung baskets placed below half of the luminaires are hung from the ceiling, casting a soft glow for the intimate setting and creating a dramatic visual of light and shadows. At the rear walkways to washrooms, custom metal covers placed over small LED luminaires highlight the geometric design of wallpaper and wayfinding signs. These hexagon-shaped shields match the wallpaper pattern.

A feast for the eyes, whether dining or perusing.


Paul Tarricone

Paul Tarricone

Paul Tarricone has more 25 years of experience in association and business-to-business publishing, specializing in the engineering, design, construction and facilities management markets. Mr. Tarricone currently serves as Editor and Publisher of Lighting Design + Application,... More info »