August 2, 2007


The elegant Paris department store, makes it's home
in this massive architectural wonder. I always enjoy shopping the
high end department stores in New York, like Bloomingdales, Barneys
and Saks Fifth Avenue, but I'll never be able to look at them in
quite the same way now that I've see Printemps.

The spectacular glass dome is the centerpiece and heart of the
store. Three tiers of exquisitely detailed balconies rise from the
main floor to ring the domed atrium. My hat is off to the Printemps
store design team. They have preserved the original architecture,
but added modern lighting in a way that enhances the grand style of
this building.

The different colors behind the railings are a high-tech addition
that you'll see in more and more new stores here in the states.
This LED (Light Emitting Diode) technology is harnessed and
programmed by computer to change color throughout the day.

LED''s are energy efficient and run cool, unlike halogen or
incandescent lights. The initial cost of LED lighting is higher,
but the light source runs for thousands and thousands of hours
(could be 10 years or more!) before you ever have to service the
fixture. Studies show that the average utility cost is much lower
over the life of the fixture.

The cost of these systems is still prohibitive for smaller
retailers, but like all technology today, the cost comes down as
each new generation of the product is created. I predict that it
won't be long before color-change lighting systems will fit into
the construction budget for O.D.'s who want to attract high-end

Here in the USA we have fewer opportunities to find spaces with
beautiful architectural detailing like this for an optometry
office. However, we can be inspired by these ideas and adapt them
to add a touch of high-tech wonder to new designs.

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