March 17, 2020

Ketra Unveils New Austin Headquarters Awash with Natural Light

  1. Ketra views the intentional design of light as a means to encourage innovation. Photography by Jake Holt, courtesy of Ketra. 

Ten years after flipping on its first light switch, LED lighting manufacturer Ketra outfitted a bright and airy space of its own in Austin, Texas, working closely with parent company Lutron Electronics. The brand’s new headquarters is reflective of its evolving business, featuring smart lighting systems from its updated product portfolio. 

The expansive building with many floor-to-ceiling windows, designed by local architect Michael Hsu and located near Ketra’s manufacturing plant, allows for an abundance of natural light with an open-concept floor plan that encourages in-person interactions through calculated use of lighting. How exactly? Ketra’s illumination systems create distinct zones or “rooms,” adding functionality to the fluid space. At the same time, the brand’s lighting gives employees control when it comes to intensity of brightness and temperature—factors known to elevate mood and productivity. 

An open perimeter allows light to flow freely throughout the entire space, while glass walls bring light all the way into the core of the building. Photography by Jake Holt, courtesy of Ketra. 

With interiors by lead designer Horace Ho, interior architect Vlado Pejic in collaboration with Urban Foundry Architecture, and lighting expert Cecilia Ramos, the overall aesthetic brings together Ketra’s vision of a space where employees can design, test, and share products with its community, in and out of the office. In fact, a quarter of the total square footage is designated as a multipurpose gathering space dubbed the Collaboration Studio. The inviting area enables Ketra employees to host local designers and clients, serving as a work cafe by day and, with the help of multi-colored ambience lighting, an in-house event venue by night. 

Throughout the design process, Ketra’s team took into consideration feedback from Austin-based employees who said natural light topped their wish list, followed by areas for personal calls, more plants and biophilic elements, and facilities that support an active lifestyle such as showers and standing desks. While natural light poses its own challenges, such as screen glare, Ketra’s new workplace demonstrates that there are more ways than one to optimize and control daylight using Lutron shades and its own lighting. Similar capabilities are available in residential interiors. In fact, Ketra recently launched a new software program for its residential offering, with a new commercial software counterpart to come later this year, which connects Ketra light sources to Lutron controls. The company also retooled the technology in each light source, enhancing its benefits for any case use.

  1. The space features a variety of open areas for collaboration, avoiding traditional cubicles and refraining from maximizing the quantity of offices. Photography by Jake Holt, courtesy of Ketra. 

Ketra also wanted its new headquarters to reflect its lively surroundings. Aaron Darling, a local graffiti artist, was commissioned to create murals highlighting Austin’s unique culture throughout the space. His work is brought to life with visual effects from Ketra’s advanced Vibrancy control system, which enables light to reflect off of—and shift—the artwork’s various hues, effectively becoming a real life photo filter. Be it a soothing natural glow or a striking stairway lighting installation made of nearly 500 bulbs, Ketra’s space, like its products, encapsulates the power of light.

Ketra prioritized a location that would allow the brand to have its own building to tell the Ketra light story. Photography by Jake Holt, courtesy of Ketra. 
The open-office also features quiet nooks for reading, like this library. Photography by Jake Holt, courtesy of Ketra. 
Lighting reflects off the concrete floors, shifting its appearance throughout the day. Photography by Jake Holt, courtesy of Ketra. 
A custom lighting installation adds an artistic element to the stairwell. Photography by Jake Holt, courtesy of Ketra. 
Huddle rooms demonstrate Ketra’s ability to achieve any lighting color on the spectrum, from bright whites to warm glows. Photography by Jake Holt, courtesy of Ketra. 

Read next: Lutron and The Shade Store Team Up to Bring Designers a Comprehensive Home Automation System

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