Our surroundings often influence our moods. The beach prompts serenity, while museums muster up amusement and curiosity. Libraries and coffee shops invoke a get-down-to-business vibe for focusing better, and bars and restaurants bring a sexy vibe.
Along comes LumiFi, a smartphone app created by award-winning lighting designers that combines LED wireless bulb technology with pre-prepared lighting options to suit your every mood: Rest, Focus, Lounge, Party, Romance, and Rainy, to name a few. So now, staying inside can be a lot more exhilarating.
“I was always interested in how technology and architecture come together, and how it influences the people within a space: their behavior, their emotions, the atmosphere,” says Frankfurt-born and bred architect Beatrice Witzgall, LumiFi’s founder and CEO. The NYC-based company operates out of WeWork’s Meatpacking District location.
“I was so frustrated with the technology at hand, but also that you cannot make a space more dynamic,” explains Witzgall, who’s been working as a lighting designer for almost 15 years, nabbing the Lumen Award in 2010 for her work on Lincoln Center’s renovation. “People are dynamic, nature is dynamic, and we are all sitting in these static environments. And they don’t react to us; they don’t adapt to what our needs are, or our feelings, or what we’re doing.”
Witzgall collaborated with the MIT media lab on various responsive environments like physical floor sensors and movable walls.
“I realized at some point, lighting, with LED lighting, it’s a medium you can easily influence,” Witzgall says. “An LED chip is basically a computer you can program, so now we were able to make architecture spaces responsive and able to adapt to what people do within a space.”
LumiFi stands for “lumification” and “Wi-Fi” (“wireless lighting,” Witzgall clarifies). It was born out of her other company, I3D, “an interdisciplinary design company with a strong emphasis in hospitality lighting design.” Witzgall and her compact, yet global team have worked on hotels all over, but her specialty is super yachts.
“Very high-end clients, very technological, difficult spaces, and these clients can afford the best of the best, and they are after the ultimate experience,” Witzgall reveals. “That’s where we started with some of the ideas around LumiFi: we had these clients who were like ‘I don’t want to look for a light switch. I’m tired of it. I’m tired of the Legacy lighting control systems that I need to call my engineer to turn the lights off.’”
Witzgall and her team started designing and customizing the lighting control systems (there were roughly 10 light scenes for different moods), simplifying it as much as possible. With LumiFi, they’ve simplified it even further, making “the ultimate experience” accessible and affordable to a much wider audience.
She attributes this to the rise of smart lighting and the Internet totally changing technology.
“People don’t understand how powerful lighting can be,” says Witzgall. “Lighting is one of these things where if you have good lighting, nobody recognizes. You just feel good lighting.”
Photo credit: Lauren Kallen