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Office lighting design brings light from the outdoors into interior design firm’s remodeled space

Cassandra Crawford, an interior design student at Purdue University, won a 2018 SOURCE Award for her lighting design project, New Beginnings. The design for the fictional CC’s Interiors, an interior design firm located in a remodeled storage building north of San Francisco, incorporates elements of natural light throughout the building’s two floors and exterior.

Eaton’s Lighting Division talked with Crawford about her award-winning office lighting design, how she finds creative inspiration and the advice she’d give to other students considering a career in her chosen field. 

How did it feel to win a SOURCE Award? Did you go to LIGHTFAIR?

I felt honored to have my work recognized and apply the knowledge I’ve gained in school to a practical project. 

I attended LIGHTFAIR and am grateful to have had that opportunity as a college junior. It was huge and a little overwhelming, but I loved being able to see the winning work of everyone from the different schools. We all used different focus areas and lighting techniques. I was especially interested in one student’s arcade lighting design. I also enjoyed hearing a presentation about how integrated technology is advancing in lighting. 

Tell us about your award-winning office lighting design.

CC’s Interiors is an imaginary interior design firm headquartered in an old, remodeled storage building north of San Francisco. I spread elements of the sunrise throughout the office to bring new beginnings, hope and life into an old, refurbished space, and I needed a unique lighting design concept to take advantage of the natural light.

The “firm” requested an attached loft with a separate entrance as well as beautiful landscaping, which is why I included a lot of landscape lighting on the exterior. I also tried to include a lot of lounge space and common areas for the firm’s employees.

My design incorporates many different elements. For example, LED recessed lights glaze refurbished wood beams, while LED pendants provide task lighting for employees and clients. Suspended WaveStream™ LED light fixtures create the illusion of one continuous light fixture in the waiting area, providing a focal point and bringing ambient light into the space. And at dusk, architectural details on the building’s exterior are highlighted with LED wall-mount exterior glaze luminaires. 


What inspired you to pursue an interior design career? Do you specialize in a particular area?

I always worked with my uncle in his construction business, and I noticed how the interiors were lacking something. I ended up envisioning these spaces to be something totally different. 

During my sophomore year at Purdue University, I took an introductory interior design course and thought the field might be right for me. Interior design is all about creating beautiful, functional spaces. It focuses on clients’ needs and improving people’s lives.

Also, I’ve always been interested in art, and interior design is a great way to apply that.

What role does lighting play in design? How does it transform a space?

Without proper lighting, it’s impossible for even the most beautiful spaces to come to life. 

Lighting helps you see the space, but it can also create a whole different feeling inside that space. For example, in restaurant lighting design, you want to create a certain mood, maybe by using dim lighting that’s not too harsh on the eyes.

Daylighting strategies help so much, especially in office spaces. Our teacher taught us about glare from the sun and ways to prevent it including proper window placement.

How has winning a SOURCE Award changed your future plans? What's next for you? 

Working on my SOURCE Award entry — and winning — changed my overall approach to design. It also really motivated me to pay closer attention to the sustainability aspect of lighting.

I’ll be a senior this fall, and I received a summer internship at a design firm. I want to continue to grow my skills and learn more about commercial lighting.

I’d like to go to graduate school and work in a commercial design firm. One day, I’d like to pass down my own knowledge to others by teaching. But I will follow this journey wherever it takes me! 

What would you tell someone pursuing an interior design career and aspiring to win a SOURCE Award?

My biggest piece of advice? Learn about interior design before you dive into it. A lot of people think interior design and decorating are the same thing, and when they get started, they’re overwhelmed. In interior design, you have to understand construction, landscaping, interiors and exteriors.

Internships are a great way to know if interior design is the right field for you. I didn’t know for sure until I completed my first internship during my sophomore year.

When it comes to the SOURCE Awards, remember to do your research. Your teacher will probably give you a lot of information, but you have to do outside work to produce truly efficient, beautiful lighting. I suggest going out and experiencing different spaces, which helped me understand how to create different lighting techniques. Eaton also has resources if you want to learn more about lighting and lighting design.