Someone shouts your name and you’re ushered into a sterile examination room where you’re left sitting in a paper “robe” waiting for what feels like an eternity to see the actual doctor. “How much longer?”, you ask the nurse who came to check your vitals. “The wait shouldn’t be much longer,” replies the unconvincing nurse, avoiding eye contact.
Now imagine you’ve entered a visually stunning space that has been so artfully thought out it’s a feast for your senses. The lines of the architecture are clean, modern and inviting, with playful variations of color and textures throughout the space luring you in further to explore. As you move through the room you notice the lights morphing in hue and intensity and a subtle yet calming fragrance tickling your nose, enticing you to breathe deeper. You’re escorted to the treatment suite where your clinician taps a switch that changes the ambiance of the room, transforming the soft light to a blue glow, inviting you to meditate while you recline in a chair. While it might seem like this experience was designed for an immersive art installation, or spa, it’s actually Modern Age, an aging wellness clinic.
Founded by Melissa Eamer, Modern Age was built upon the belief that we can take control of the way we age. After watching her mother decline at an early age Eamer decided to start Modern Age to help people take control of their aging journeys and help them age the way they want to. Madelynn Ringo, Head of Ringo Studio Design, and Kirsten Harris, Senior Manager of Construction of Modern Age were brought on to disrupt the status quo of the average doctor’s visit. They dared to ask, “What if?” as they designed the multi-sensory studio.
“We’ve all been to a doctor’s appointment or a healthcare experience you had to attend that felt dull, boring or was just a part of your day, but it did not become an important part of your day. So we also really wanted to make sure we were reconsidering what a healthcare experience can be and making sure the space made you feel a certain way and struck a chord with you emotionally.
So from the very beginning of the Modern Age design process—before the brand had figured out its full offering, or design aesthetic—we talked about the desire to focus on the customer experience from a sensorial approach. Making sure that as we went through the design, we were thinking about sound, color, lighting and smell, playing into those hospitality feelings that you get when you walk into a boutique hotel and you really feel like you’re being taken care of. Lighting became a very important conversation, making sure the tone of the lighting was part of the narrative as the customer sequenced through the space. The customer experience was a really big driving factor for everything.” — Madelyn Ringo.
Ringo and Harris had a vision of what they wanted to achieve yet were unsure if there was a technology that would allow for the extensive customization to make it a reality. Ringo knew she needed to bring on the right lighting designer to solve this riddle, so she called upon Eileen Pierce from Pierce Lighting Studio, whom she had previously worked with to explore the possibilities. Bringing over 26 years of experience as an architectural lighting designer, Pierce has extensive experience designing and specifying lighting control systems, which made her firm the perfect fit on this all women team. With Pierce Lighting Studio on board, the team set to work, doing a needs assessment to determine the right technology.
“As we began working with Eileen specifically on the lighting, we knew that we wanted to create a multi-dimensional lighting experience. We wanted to have the ability for different lighting effects throughout the space. So, when someone comes into the treatments suite, we have the opportunity to
provide them with a meditation experience, which is not something that you typically would get at a doctor’s office, but we felt when treating the whole body and the whole mind, a moment for meditation was a really important differentiator to say that we’re thinking about healthcare differently.
So we began exploring with Eileen the ability for color and light to really impact that experience and that narrative.” — Madelynn Ringo.
Once PLS understood the needs of the project, they designed, presented and specified the lighting concepts and control system for Modern Age’s Flagship project. This process included designing the daytime experience and the nighttime street presence, and defining the lighting needs for future locations, as it was essential to keep consistent with experience and branding in a scalable way.
With a tight timeline looming large, Pierce began sourcing lighting control systems that offered in depth customization, fit within the budget, and were readily available. She landed on Casambi, and Lutron as the final contenders but it became clear Casambi was the best option for this project, not only for functionality, but because the cost was competitive, and all of Casambi’s components were readily available.
“Lighting is the secret weapon in a lot of different space types, where without us even knowing it, can psychologically create or establish a mood. When specifying for Modern Age, one of the things we knew was that we needed to provide a system that was cost effective and had maximum flexibility because we were working within an existing structure and wanted to keep the wiring clean.
We also entertained the idea of utilizing different colors in the cove area and needed the flexibility of adjusting the hue and intensity of lighting in an instant for treatments. We wanted the end user to have the freedom to play with the levels in the field, on their own time with the technicians and staff, without the complexity of endless integration, commissioning and set up times. In theory, we don’t know if our design is working until people are using it and figuring out what suits them best.
Casambi provided all of that, and was readily available when there were so many supply chain issues.” — Pierce.
Another alluring aspect of specifying with Casambi is the fact that the system is designed to be fully wireless, eliminating the need for a panel or hub. This minimally invasive technology not only saves on wiring, but saves on wasted space which would be a non-negotiable for traditional lighting systems.
“It was very helpful to have a wireless system that’s supporting many scenes, allowing for maximum flexibility, without worrying about overloading a panel in the back closet. Not to mention the real estate the panel would have taken up. Using Casambi nodes minimized the use of wiring, and we were able to create zones to limit the amount of individuality that was needed.” — Pierce.
The customization and flexibility offered with Casambi’s BLE mesh network matched the lighting design and innovative thinking of the teams supporting the Modern Age project, making for an extraordinary collaboration. With so many synergies between Casambi and the Modern Age project, the team dove into defining the details of the sequence of lights starting from the lounge to the client suite.
Pierce Lighting Studio, being the experts in lighting design and specification, led the charge in making the lighting concept a reality. Being the first collaboration between Casambi and PLS, the PLS team dug in to learn the Casambi system and capabilities. Upon understanding the full breadth of customization allowed with the Casambi system, they were able to easily specify drivers, as Casambi is compatible with all specified light fixtures, sensors and switches; a rarity in the lighting industry.
Once the fixtures were selected, the teams that supported Modern Age were able to fine tune the hierarchy and sequence of how the lights would adjust and dim and even change colors as the customer flowed through a specific experience. Color was an integral ask for this project, and historically the only way to achieve this was through bulky DMX lighting systems. Technically Casambi could integrate with a DMX system, acting as an extension, but to simply transition through colors at an “architectural pace” there was no need for such complications, as color control is a native feature
of Casambi’s control software. All of these complex features are made simple through the Casambi app, as opposed to having to schedule a technician to come on sight to tweak color transition, intensity and dimming.
“To create a focal point in each treatment suite, we imagined a dramatic and sculptural light cove, centered above the chair. By incorporating Cassambi into our design thinking, we were able to enhance and customize this architectural detail by pre-programing beautiful washes of color that would sync to different moments in the customer’s journey, conveniently altered with just the touch
of a button. It was at this moment that we realized the potential of creating a hyper-customized experience where the brand details could even be embedded into the lighting design. The Casambi technology allowed us to realize these sophisticated sensorial moments that ultimately elevate the Modern Age brand, setting a new design standard for healthcare.” — Madelynn Ringo.
And The Modern Age team really went for it. Their attention to design detail and customer centric philosophy extended to providing the best experience from clinicians and operations to cleaners and maintenance. For the cleaners, this required bright lights so they could thoroughly sanitize the space in the evenings. With Casambi’s built in timer and astronomical clock, where scenes can be executed manually and/or automatically, PLS was able to implement the working design controls narrative and create schedules anticipating the needs of employees while conserving energy. Having the lighting schedule programmed through the Casambi app ultimately streamlined the process, eliminating additional steps for the Modern Age operations team. The clinicians arrive each morning to a well lit room and leave in the evening knowing the lights will dim to conserve energy. On the days when the studio is closed, the lights are set to stay dim, except for their retail shelves which are well lit to highlight their products. Customization at its finest.
“We talked about lighting that would assist with our cleaners at the end of each week. So something that was super bright, everything was on, and it would give them the opportunity to see every nook and cranny of the suite while they were cleaning it. After they’re done cleaning we have a setting, that at a certain hour in the night, the lights dim to conserve energy.” — Ringo.
To best support the clinicians, it meant programming the lights for optimal conditions when they arrived and providing a lighting solution that was easy for them to manage, as the procedures have a different color story and intensity. All their clinicians need to do as they are preparing for a treatment or consultation is to touch a switch on the wall. When programming these transitions, PLS was extremely mindful of extreme light level fluctuations to suit the clinicians requirements and the clients comfort.
“In the morning when our clinicians come in, to make sure that the environment feels safe and that they’re not walking into a dark space, everything turns on and is ready for them. We wanted to make sure that the lighting was something
they didn’t have to think about, which is what is great about this system. You can pre-program it all and make it really simple which is really important from an operations standpoint. Our staff is focused on their job of creating a good customer experience rather than worrying if they remembered to turn on the right lights, or dealing with some of that more technical stuff. Then once they enter the procedure rooms, we have a switch on the wall with buttons, so all the clinician has to do is push a button to adjust the lighting for a procedure.
We were able to make the process super simple for our clinicians so that they’re focused on medical things and not worrying about accidentally messing up the lights.” — Ringo
What made Casambi’s system and technology an even better fit for the Modern Age brand was not only the level of customization, and ease of use, but the systems ability to download and replicate the same settings as they scale and grow. The modality to program, customize, and control Casambi’s nodes on their BLE mesh network, is by simply downloading an app on a tablet, or smartphone. The Casambi app works as one of the user interfaces in a Casambi lighting control solution, the commissioning tool AND a remote gateway, all in one.
Developed by user interface experts, the app was designed so that most—regardless of technical proficiency—can use it. The Casambi lighting control technology gives the possibility for Casambi partners to implement and develop anything needed for a full-featured lighting control system. Utilizing a wireless control system, one of PLS’s recommendations, made the Modern Age team’s vision to grow and scale to new locations actually possible, as a traditional lighting control system would be far too complex and costly to replicate, program and maintain brand consistency across all locations. With Casambi, it wasn’t only possible, it was easy.
“Ultimately the goal is opening multiple locations, and we can come in there and design all sorts of things, but if it’s not easy and programmable, then it’s likely that the location will lose track of the settings or won’t turn on lights on the way that you want them to. From a retailer operations standpoint it’s really important to keep it consistent and easy, and with Casambi it enables us to create these hyper customized experiences at a scalable level.” — Ringo
As the studio took shape, and the electrical systems were being set up, Harris took the lead downloading the Casambi app and working hands on with the electrician to program the system real time. Between Casambi’s hands on customer service to make sure Harris and the electrician understood the installation of the nodes, and use of the app, and the easy to use app interface, Harris was able to hit the ground running.
“It was really great to work with the Casambi team. They were very attentive and able to help whenever we needed it, even if it was something really tiny, checking in at the end of the day to see how things were progressing. Additionally, with the app there is a remote login so if they weren’t able to come on site they could login from their location and help me fix things real time. They basically became our best friends.
Once we figured it out, it was pretty straightforward, especially as we added light fixtures to the space. That was key in the second location when I was essentially able to install everything on my own and I was able to do it in real time as the electricians got things wired.” — Harris.
With Casambi’s system installed, and the lights aglow, PLS developed and assisted the design team with programming for the various lighting scenes to ensure functionality, while maintaining the meditative environment. This process of fine tuning and refining was essential to create the desired ambiance and consistency of branding and experience before scaling Modern Age because the customization was so extensive. This approach made the installation at the second studio a cinch. So much so, Pierce grew concerned because she wasn’t receiving calls for punch list and commissions.
“The second location that opened six months later went off without a hitch, especially because the entire team was familiar with the correct specifications and the compatible drivers. The programming was seamless because we were able to duplicate what we did at the flagship location, and Kirsten, who was familiar with what was needed on the integration end, jumped right in and was programming on the Casambi app before we even arrived. This was an interesting experience because with traditional lighting control systems there is usually a lengthy commissioning and two plus days spent with a technician.” — Pierce.
Modern Age’s vision with Casambi’s innovation has undoubtedly made for one of the most avant garde clinics of our time, taking the whole person into consideration as they are taking control of their health needs. A collaboration certainly worth writing about.