The Perfect Fit!

NY Times case study on sustainability

Graham Whittaker, Zumtobel | Attila Uysal, Lumenarch

Location: Gramercy

March 20, 2024
1:30 pm - 2:30 pm EST

Credits 1 LU | Elective


When Renzo Piano’s glass-clad The New York Times Building opened, it featured cutting edge integrated building technologies. Shadow-free illumination in the main newsroom came from custom T5 fluorescent fixtures with superb glare control. The NY Times tested a number of LED upgrades. But in the end, the lighting designers and luminaire manufacture developed a custom refurbishment kit with a proven optical design even superior to the original fixture—an affordable refurbishment offering a minimum 50% energy savings, plastic free packaging, and super-fast installation. A truly sustainable luminaire begins with a timeless design and ends with the reusability of all its parts. Over 80% to 90% of the NY times fixtures were reused. Truly sustainable buildings are those that people will enjoy using for decades to come.

Learning Objectives

  • UPGRADE v COMPLETE REPLACEMENT: What are the advantages of a completely new LED installation compared to a new installation? How does this help promote sustainability?
  • LIGHTING QUALITY: Understand how the upgraded lighting solution improved architectural impact through lighting quality and visual appearance
  • COST REDUCTION: Understand how the LED upgrade reduced energy costs, low maintenance and long service life thanks to high-quality technology
  • CIRCULAR DESIGN: Understand the following: –Design for disassembly –Design for longer lifetime –Design for maintenance and upgrade


Graham Whittaker
Graham Whittaker
Regional Director of Sales, Metro New York

Graham looks back on a career over 30 years in the lighting Industry. Originally from the UK, he studied product design, but switched to lighting design thereafter. He worked two years at ERCO in the application team and five successful years as a Lighting Designer/Consultant at Equation.

Graham has lectured extensively three continents and has spoken at conferences in Europe, Australia, and the US. While in the UK he was part of the team that created the British Council for Offices 'Guide to Lighting'. In Australia he worked with the Green Building Council on the creation of a Lighting Comfort Credit. With the aim to recognize and encourage the design of well-lit spaces that provide a high degree of comfort to users.

In addition to working with the GBCA, Graham was an active member of the Lighting Council of Australia. Teaming up with the heads of various manufactures and Australian Standards to work on various lighting topics that effected the lighting community in Australia.

Since arriving in the US he has been an active member of the IALD LIRC and is part of the team to introduce IALD first CEU lighting program LERN. Graham has filled multiple leading lighting application roles within Zumtobel both in the UK and Australia before joining the US team in 2015 as Director of Lighting Application his current role Regional Director of Sales, Metro New York

Attila Uysal
Attila Uysal

Attila Uysal has been practicing lighting design in New York City for over 25 years. He joined SBLD in 1996 and became a partner in 2002. Attila has since joined the Lumen Architecture PLLC team as of 2019.

With his architectural training and industrial design background, he is well suited to complex architectural interior and exterior projects. Attila's passion is in the detail and technical challenges that each project represents. He believes that lighting design becomes increasingly multifaceted and nuanced, encompassing a diverse array of demand, using more creative and innovative design approaches, technologies and methodologies.

Throughout his 23-year tenure at SBLD, he has served with his designer and leadership capacity for many of the firm's significant project types including interior, exterior and historic restoration. He specializes in the design and detailing of custom light fixtures and daylighting analysis.

As a lighting designer and a teacher, with his architectural training and industrial design background, he continues to evolve his design vision through technical investigation and academia. He is interested in exploring the link between architecture and lighting (both daylighting and electrical lighting) with the emphasis being on energy saving, controls and sustainability. Mr. Uysal continues teaching at NY School of Interior Design and has an active relationship as a visiting design critic at the Parsons Schools of Design.

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