2023 Fundamentals in Backlighting Design

Thomas Lawrence, GPI Design

Virtual Monday
March 6, 2023

12:30pm – 1:30pm EST

Credit: 1 LU / Elective

This presentation will take you through how to design a system with backlighting. Discussion will explore surface selection and examine the lighting approach. Attendees will learn about diffusion techniques, how to create the structural design, and the thought process before the build.

A basic understanding of design fundamentals and basic knowledge of lighting is recommended for this session.

Learning Objectives

  1. Assess the Surface and Examine the lighting approach – sterile or expressive, natural or man-made, transformative qualities, LEED, and maximizing the capacity of lighting
  2. Consider all diffusion elements – cavity depth, reflectivity, color gel filters and scrims
  3. Lighting and Surface Combinations, zone approach balancing, surface demands adjustments
  4. Create Structural Design and Before the Build, working backwards, finding overall weights and demands of the structure, plotting the substructure, and wire management


Thomas Lawrence
Founder + Principal, GPI Design

Northeast Ohio born and raised, Thomas Lawrence is the Founder + Principal of the Cleveland based design-build firm, GPI Design. With extensive experience and leadership in the integration of translucent surfaces, structural framing and complex lighting systems, GPI Design has been the recipient of the most prestigious awards and mentions throughout the architectural design community over the last 15 years.

Thomas’ knowledge in natural stone extraction and fabrication started in 1995 where he grew an appreciation for everything exotic natural stones have to offer, especially in its translucent state. After discovering how backlighting enhances the stones natural beauty, GPI Design grew to find a unique niche in the lighting design community, offering designers a distinctive level of experience in bespoke backlit environments. GPI Design now offers turnkey design through installation services in not only stone, but glass, resin, fabric, wood, custom art and more.

Being recognized as an industry leader, GPI Design has an intensely narrow focus on the delicate process of engineering, designing and installing award winning backlit feature walls, ceilings, bars, reception desks & floors in refined commercial interiors.

As Principal of GPI Design, Thomas has built his company from the ground up, and has built a team of highly talented artists, designers and engineers. His leadership style demands perfection and efficiency. By nurturing and guiding the creative minds at GPI Design, his team has amassed many accolades, including national and international awards in surface design, lighting design, engineering and interior design honors.

Thomas has now added public speaking engagements to his repertoire. Sharing his knowledge in successfully managing the design through build process, in these challenging feature design elements in the harsh commercial construction industry, is his next mission. He believes that by pushing boundaries and expecting excellence is the only way to approach custom built design features.


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