Lighting Design for Wine – Corkbuzz Wine Studio NYC
As a follow-up to my last post about creating environments that bring people together, I’d like to share some photos from the recently-completed (and soon-to-open) Corkbuzz Wine Studio by SLDesign and Focus Lighting.
Corkbuzz was brought to us by owner and Master Sommelier, Laura Maniec, who sought a warm, inviting atmosphere in which to serve and entertain her guests. Her concept for Corkbuzz (located on 13th Street near Union Square), however, involves more than just entertaining at the street-front wine bar. Corkbuzz will also serve as a resource to the community by offering wine tastings and classes for beginners and experts alike in its unique flexible space equipped to handle anything from sit-down presentations to large social events. Finally, on top of it all, the “wine studio” will maintain an in-house inventory of nearly 2500 bottles from which to choose, most of which will be displayed for guests to see in a custom climate-controlled, glass-enclosed display room.
Are you excited!? We certainly are!
Luckily for me, this is the first project I have assisted on from start to finish since I joined Focus Lighting in August, so I’m extra excited for this one to open!
Working together with Philadelphia-based architect SLDesign, we designed the lighting for the space to feel “residential” in style, as if the space were Laura’s home kitchen, opened for guests to relax in and enjoy. We aimed to complement the intimate experience of enjoying a glass of wine with a warm, comforting atmosphere.
One of my favorite details of the wine studio that contributes to its visual appeal is its “hearth” – a centerpiece wine and champagne glass display that sparkles behind the bar with thousands of points of light. This detail was worked out in a series of mockups at our office before settling on the final design, which is illuminated with energy-efficient LEDs.
One of the more challenging parts of the space to light turned out to be the flexible space, which can serve as a private dining room, a classroom, an event space, or anything in between. SLDesign even created a system of movable mesh partitions to divide up the space to accommodate multiple simultaneous events. Our solution involved using several layers of lighting treatments in combination with a custom control system. General illumination and mesh panel lighting is achieved from a flexible system of overhead tracks, while large decorative pendants, designed and fabricated by Kurt Bonk, add fill light and create a focal point for the space.
The result is that the lighting for this space, thanks to the dimming and control system, can deliver the appropriate atmosphere for anything from classes during the day (above) to intimate dinners or presentations at night (below).
Wine by candlelight, anyone?
Finally, for the grand finale, may I present … the wine room. This room is the pride and joy of the wine studio, capable of storing up to 2500 bottles, all at their appropriate temperatures.
This room, while simple in appearance, was the most challenging part of the space to light.
Well, as it turns out, storing and displaying 2500 bottles of top-quality wine is serious business. As we discovered through our research, one of the key ingredients to successfully storing wine is limiting its exposure to light (hence why wine is stored in dark bottles, most often in dark wine cellars). Significant exposure to the wrong kinds of light (and its partner-in-crime, heat) can actually damage wine, altering the chemistry of the ingredients until it essentially ends up tasting something like cardboard. (Mmmmmm … cardboard.) This phenomena is referred to as light strike.
Obviously, we wanted to avoid this at all costs.
In order to protect the wine from both heat and light strike, we carefully selected cool-running, energy-efficient LED fixtures that would not generate light in the specific wavelengths harmful to wine. (Lighting: Where Arts Meets Science!) Thus, the lighting creates a focal point out of the wine while protecting it from damage, allowing guests to enjoy a good-looking and good-tasting bottle of wine.
So, hopefully, in the spirit of Corkbuzz, this post was both educational and full of complex flavors and aromas.
I highly encourage wine lovers of all experience levels to head on over to Union Square to enjoy this new space and all it has to offer. (P.S. The food is great, too!) Read the Corkbuzz blog, or follow Corkbuzz on Twitter to learn more!
Corkbuzz is located at 13 E 13th St. (between University Pl. and 5th Ave.)