Vision Quest Lighting:
Miracle Workers Enlightenment Magazine: Edward Frebowitz
January 30, 2012
VQL PRG Newsday USA exporting to China article

In a soft economy, no company likes to turn down work, but sometimes an impossible deadline can be a dealbreaker. Fortunately, this was not the
case for custom lighting fabricator Vision Quest Lighting of Ronkonkoma,
New York.

 

“Late last December, we were contacted by a supplier for the Revel Hotel
and Casino project in Atlantic City because one of the lighting manufacturers on the project dropped the ball and they were now in a bind,” notes Chris Thiel, creative director and lead designer at Vision Quest.  “The supplier needed custom lighting fixtures for five high-end restaurants delivered in
six weeks.”

 

The design team at Vision Quest was up for the challenge. In all, 18 fixture types in quantities ranging from 1 to 12 each were designed, built, and delivered in a timely manner.

 

Naturally the first hurdle was to quickly source materials such as glass and fiber optic components within the short lead-time and without sacrificing performance or quality.

 

Janelle Norton, lead designer at Vision Quest, agrees that the shipping schedule was nearly impossible to pull off. “This project should have been
on a 12 to 16 week schedule – and that’s after the completion of drawings and design approval. We were tasked with a 6 to 7 week schedule that included the design and review process,” she comments.

 

For most of the lighting designs, the Vision Quest team was given inspiration drawings with the necessary dimensions.  “None of the fixtures were designed in such a way that we could simply build something,” Norton explains. “Our team had to design the fixtures and present drawings and renderings that they could be built from. This is especially true with the Cloud fixture, which was represented on the job drawings as a scribble that resembled a bird’s nest. Our design group designed this feature from scratch – and because of its size, it had to be engineered structurally as well as electrically. The size of elevators, corridors, and doors in the building had to be taken into account as well as the provision of mounting points on-site.”

The aforementioned custom Cloud fixture was especially ambitious. The overall dimension is almost 40 feet long by 14 feet wide and features individual stainless-steel wires bent free-form in a random “bird’s nest” pattern. Side-emitting glass fiber was then lashed to each stainless steel
wire. “The fixture is powered by four 150-watt metal halide illuminators,
which are remotely located outside the space for easy maintenance and
noise suppression,” Norton states. The fiber and illuminators were supplied
by Universal Fibre Optics in the UK.

Another challenge was the Spike fixture. The original inspiration for this grouping of three chandeliers was a $120,000 museum piece. The design team at Vision Quest created a cluster of three fixtures that were each
hand-welded and finished.  Smoked glass shades and clear acrylic rods further enhance the look.  The center column is blackened and fades to
clear-coated spikes that seem to float in air.

 

Like the Cloud fixture, engineering the Spike chandeliers required thinking and design decisions that were outside the box. “The amount of structural
and hand-work on both of those fixtures was unique.  We think the end
results were truly special,” Norton says.

 

Originally, a series of four Grilles fixtures – two small and two large – were supposed to be accomplished in neon. Vision Quest’s team suggested using high-powered LEDs instead to great effect. The switch allowed for more light, far less power consumption, lighter weight, and the avoidance of hiding a heavy, large ballast somewhere in the ceiling.  Vision Quest used Green LED Lighting Solutions’ LED strips, which were mounted on the custom-fabricated
Grilles chandeliers.

 

To bring large scale and greater emphasis to one of the restaurants, Vision Quest fabricated the Watermelon Domes from a single, 4’-diameter spun
half-sphere.  Finding the proper sourcing was critical due to the large size of the shade. Each aluminum dome was clear-coated on the outside features four faux seams that are riveted onto the dome, creating a pieced together, industrial look. The colorful interior of the domes were then hand-painted
in-house by Vision Quest’s graphics department.  These unusual pendants have become the focal point of that particular restaurant on the property.

 

In addition to its custom fabricating abilities, Vision Quest Lighting also offers a line of sconces, track fixtures, portables, pendants, and chandeliers. The company was founded 10 years ago by Larry Lieberman as an engineering company specializing in theatrical lighting.  It now has a client base that includes hotel and hospitality, national retail account brands, corporate offices and high-end residential projects, The company exhibited for the first time at Lightfair International in 2012.

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