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While driving across the country (Boise Idaho, to Bordentown New Jersey),19 years old, on my way to my first assignment in the USAF, I was struck by many new experiences and sights. Prior to this trip, the largest city I had ever visited was Seattle. So, when I came off the plains of Wyoming, through Nebraska, Iowa, and Western Illinois, the skyline of Chicago came at me like a beacon from nowhere. Standing proud of the already impressive structures, was the Sear’s Tower, just 4 years old, black, ominous, and the tallest building I had ever seen. A full 104 stories taller than the One Capitol building in Boise, and towering 66 stories over 901 5th Avenue in Seattle. All I could think when seeing the Sears tower for the first time was “Wow!”

To say that the experience left an impression would be an understatement. Looking down from the observation deck on the 103rd floor was mind bending, and intimidating to someone who had only flown in an airplane twice, before the experience.

My 1973 object is inspired by that iconic Chicago structure and homage to the impression it left on me.

Archfroms 1973

From small Northwest towns where the tallest structures around were grain silos and water towers, with a desire to see new things and travel, I knew at that moment – I was on the right path.

As an artist in the making, and a fan of Architecture – having joined the AF to pay to attend Architectural School – I noticed that the structure was actually four sectional blocks stacked on one another. I retained that in my interpretation of it, as well as the vented floor sections that divide the larger glass facia. I left some of the structure open, and added lighted panels at the lower mid and upper sections, and down facing light at the lowest street level.

You can see a great deal more, and a 360 degree video of the finished work at the Lumenique Site under Archforms 1973.

The skyline in 1977. I remember wondering how it was built, and just how much money Sears must be making to have afforded to pay for it. (Image source of unknown origin)

As a strange twist of fate – in my later life as Director of Design for Winona Lighting, I was part of the team that created a new ceiling “chandelier” that was part of a large building update in the early 90’s, when Sears put the building up for sale.

New Lobby ceiling, Produced by Winona Lighting

I have an affinity for Chicago, born from these experiences. I enjoy its scale, and its island-like presence surrounded by the plains of the Midwest. In fact, I like it so much that I now life in the Chicagoland suburbs, perhaps the first place of residence I chose intentionally, over others I have landing in for positions I have held. Since the Sears tower experience, I have seen and visited taller structures. Yet, this remains one of my favorites.

If You Like What You See

If you like this object, and are interested in having it for your own collection, or know someone else who might enjoy it for their collection, please visit, or forward a link to my web site Lumenique Main Site.

Over many years, I’ve done a solid amount of work for a significant number of customers. This includes design work for homes ranging from $150,000 to $45MM, hospitality work on projects right under the $1B mark, museums, retailers, health care, schools, and golf courses – to name a few. I have designed hundreds of lighting products and held executive positions in lighting companies. In this time, I have never found myself in a position to ask for anything. Word of mouth led me to clients and projects all over the country, while jobs have come from contacts and connections.

My current venture in creating creative lighted objects presents a unique problem. The path that led me to customer work and employment prior to this, is not as effective in leading to sales of the art objects I create now. As a prior marketer, I recognize this as a particular challenge. As someone who wishes to see the product of my work actually be valued and purchased, I realize it is critical to cut a path forward.

There is a phenomena that all in sales folk recognize that is important to overcome. Cold calling is a very low percentage approach, that consumes a lot of time, to get to a lot of “no” responses. Word of mouth references are far more successful overall. I experienced this personally. I have also become accustomed to the feeling one gets from receiving an unsolicited request for participation.

Unfortunately, with Social Media clouding everyone’s vision, and filling screens with millions of voices on a regular basis, it is actually more difficult than ever to be seen, or perceived as intended. Messages get muddled, and then lost to the constant shifting of feed content. Social Media is both a blessing and a curse in reaching new people and making new contacts.

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I’ve experienced lighting directly (as a VP or Director of Design of Design, Engineering and/or Marketing) through 5 very different organizations, and indirectly (as Consultant, contract designer, etc.) through another 7. My roles has always been associated with advancing revenue goals. Over a span of 31 years working with these manufacturers, the diversity of approach has been striking, in both character and realized results. What follows are some observations based on this background.

My philosophy is that growth in the lighting market demands persistent effort on 5 specific fronts. Market intelligence, NPD, marketing presentation, sales channel development, and operational excellence are the common critical areas. The interrelationships of these are perhaps as important as the elements themselves.

  • Market intelligence demands a clear vision of existing position, market trajectory and insight into end user needs, pain points, and future potential demand.
  • Market intelligence is key to NPD focus and success, as well as product line maintenance.
  • Well developed NPD requires great marketing presentation to stand out in a busy marketplace.
  • Without proper sales channel development (internal members and channel partners), the message and NPD deployed will fall short.
  • If the company falls on its face operationally, every other effort suffers.
Backstory Approaches

Every organization I have played a role in has had one common underlying goal – to grow revenues and advance income. Pretty typical. To this end, there were similarities between them:

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Inside the 1966 Needle

Posted: September 1, 2021 in New Objects 2021, Uncategorized

Here is a summary of how the 1966 object is made (wiring and driver components are not shown for clarity). The lighted objects I am creating are more involved in the design, engineering, and building stages than any manufactured product could ever be. This is part of their character. Just as sculpture artists using numerous process steps to create art from bronze or steel, making lighted objects also demands a great deal of pre-planning and numerous steps to realize the final work completed.

Exploded view of the 1966 object.
WIP Time and Raw Investment Involved
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I live in awe of many accomplished individuals. I’m constantly amazed at what exceptional people have done, from building empires or find solutions to scientific problems – to artists who create objects or imagery that imparts a sense of wonder. From my personal perspective, I have done nothing to compare. Yet, I don’t allow this to inhibit by own pursuits. To the contrary, I use this to inspire, to drive me to continue to try new things, to continue to perfect what I already do, and to remain committed to be who and what I am.

The common theme of those I admire, is that they do what they do within context of their interests, not for fame and/or fortune. They are not seekers of recognition; recognition is a by-product of their success. Conversely, I have a real distaste for the likes of Kardashians – who will do anything for fame while contributing nothing. The artists, scientists, developers, a couple of financial gurus, and more than a few dozen business leaders I draw inspiration from, are those who have accomplished great things as a product of what they do or how they do it.

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The lighting universe has always been a blend of science, art, and practical realities. Since the introduction of LED technology, there has been an explosion of new players coming at lighting from a primarily academic or purely scientific viewpoint. This has created a landslide of potentials and compelling promises of new technologies. It has also created interest in visual sciences in lighting application, including non-visual responses to light, color performance, circadian effect, and now with COVID upon us, the use of light as a sterilization source. Then, there is the whole SMART initiatives, BIM, and the IoT push, on top of the ongoing battle for efficacy and energy efficiency. Layer onto this the discussion of power distribution that includes low voltage DC grids and Power Over Ethernet, not to mention integration of solar and battery powered sub grid integration. Further, are the discussions regarding controls technologies, from occupancy sensing and daylight response to reactive controls that change the character of light in a space based on occupant activities, viewer eye movement, coupled to time of day, daylight availability, and scene presets. We also now have tunable optics to accompany tunable CCT. Just over the horizon are steerable light patterns and progress of OLED technology.

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In the process of creating lighted objects using 3D printed components, the choice of what material to employ becomes a significant consideration. Unlike novelties and hobby interests, which generally focus on cost or printer compatibility issues (material print temperatures, warping, cracking, etc.) my focus is on creating objects with high surface finish quality, extremely long life, bonding strength, overall toughness, and secondary finish capability.

Primary Materials Considered

There are three primary materials commonly used in FDM processing.

ABS or Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene is the most commonly used material in FDM printing of end-use parts. It is also used to produce a wide range of plastic products you encounter every day, from toothbrushes to kitchen appliances. It is tough, can tolerate some heat, and is impact resistant. It has enough flexibility to move before it breaks. ABS glues very well using solvents, making strong bonds between parts to create larger assembled components. It sands and well, and since it is a medium surface energy plastic, so wil, wet out and takes paints and adhesives well – when properly prepared. However, ABS, due to its high Butadiene rubber content, is not tolerant of UV Light exposure, which will break it down over time, making it brittle and causing it to shrink and crack around fasteners. ABS can also be a little brittle in thin wall sections, resulting in cracking around fasteners and between layers.

Unicycle Two was inspired by the first 3D print object I ever made in 2010 – Unicycle One, which was part of the 52 in 52 project. This first full object project and over 1000 subsequent projects since has been a massive learning experience. The following summarizes the progression that has taken place over these 11 years.

Unicycle Two (2021, foreground) vs. Unicycle One (2010, background) reflects the evolution of progress in creating finished art using 3D print technology. This includes surface finishing as well as approach to body fill and construction.

Not knowing the characteristics of the ABS plastic in 2010, I printed the first fixture solid, which consumed 115 cubic inches of material, at a cost of over $600. Ouch! Over the last 11 years, I have learned a lot about how to create objects with 3D printers, which is reflected in the latest iteration of the Unicycle design.

2010: The first 3D print object, using a Stratasys Dimension bst1200es, was printed solid and is unfinished. The design was done in Rhino CAD, and the separation of colors reflected the numerous sections required to build the fixture up. The driver and electronics are in the base. The arm and head were made from machined copper.
2010: The original Unicycle One was designed in RhinoCAD 3D
2010: The original Unicycle One was printed on a Dimension bst1200es printer in ABS+ material
2021: All current objects are designed in Solidworks Professional, which allows me far greater control over design features and part qualities.
2021: The new Unicycle Two is printed using a Stratasys F370, in ASA material.

In addition to learning the processes and materials involved, I have also developed various processes to properly finish the objects, and assemble them using appropriate adhesives to produce optimal strength. I have tested dozens of adhesives using lab processes to create a library of materials that will generate joints that are strong and long lasting.

I frequently do stress testing to verify object integrity. In the case of Unicycle Two, in a destructive test I discovered three issues that were corrected in further versions. One was a weak seam at the center of the body, another was a too-thin wall section that cased layer cracking, in the upper body, and the final a weakness in the arm detailing that allowed too much flex in the finished assembly. All of these were corrected in the final version of the design.
This is the collection of body parts for the new Unicycle Two, which took close to 50 hours to print, but used significantly less material compared to the original.
The raw printed parts are glued together into larger assemblies. Various solvent based adhesives are used, creating finished assemblies that are as strong in joinery as the components are individually.
Once the joints have cured fully, the parts go through a sanding process to eliminate the print lines and joint visibility.
Painting processes include several stages of priming and finish sanding to achieve the final desired appearance.
The finished parts, ready for assembly, are allowed to cure for at least 5 days, to avoid any damage during final object assembly and light source integration.

With a greater understanding of material properties, assembly creation, light source integration and adaptation of new hardware, the quality of finished objects has improved significantly, as has their strength and appearance.

This snapshot is a preview of the new offerings coming this summer in a collection of 16 new objects now in process. This iteration of the Unicycle not only uses less than half the material of the original, its finished quality is markedly improved as well.

3D printing was once a tool for industrial designers seeking a fast track to hands on prototypes. Today, it is possible for an artist to use the technology to capture a thought from imagination and convert it to tangible object, before the inspiration goes cold. This is an exciting and empowering capability.

Change is a truly difficult process to navigate. To make change happen requires a lot of effort and some level of suffering. Yet, not changing leads to greater pain. As Pip Coburn has pointed out in his book “The Change Function” – until there is some level of pain or crisis, change will not occur. The old stratus quo will continue until it has experienced something that causes it to realize that continuing is no longer an option. In the diagram below, it is called a “Foreign Element”, in Coburn’s book, it is the point at which the assumptions of an organization, actual market conditions, or reality, eventually catch up to it. Coburn points out that organizations that do not embrace real change in time frequently fail.

As illustrated, the path forward starts with resistance. When every excuse or fear, every justification and every irrational idea has been proven ineffective. The next phase will be chaos, as all of the building blocks of resistance collapse. That leads to tripping over one’s own feet, and wasting energy until a transformational idea emerges, and the battle to build the new Status Quo is embraced.

Image Credit: https://10minutehr.com/2013/11/11/chaos-in-the-organisational-change-process-dont-try-to-avoid-it-manage-it/

I have experienced this on every level with several organizations.

In the 1980’s I reached a point in my own company as a lighting designer, where what I was doing was not accomplishing what I wanted, it had become a routine drag, so I changed direction. I became part of a lighting product making organization that was in the midst of transformation that I could contribute to. The result was remarkable. We introduced ADA compliant products ahead of the market, and changed the company from custom house to standard product/custom mix, and realized truly exciting sales growth. Unfortunately, being young and stupid, I did not recognize that I was part of something special. So….

….Filled with hubris and big dreams, I moved on to another organization that was in the resistance and chaos phases, that was never able to get past the tripping over its feet stage. I thought if it could happen at company A, why not B? I was wrong. It refused to embrace transformation, as it was not yet feeling the pain of its situation to a level that would cause it to truly embrace change. It languished for many years, and I was helpless to it.

In an effort to avoid that ongoing pain, I packed up and moved once more, this time to an organization that had made the transformation years before, that had a new status quo that was stable and solid. This was easily the best place I have ever been part of. However, a foreign element emerged – a corporate acquisition that threw the entire organization down the slippery slope of resistance into chaos, that it has never recovered from.

My (idiotic) response was to return to the prior painful organization, in hopes that perhaps 5 years might have seen some realization. It hadn’t. And to make matters more painful, the first organization (Company A) had successfully found its path to a new Status Quo, and was fluoreshing – then managed to survive the crisis of acquisition better than most.

When solid-state lighting technology emerged, I saw it as an opportunity to jump past the resistance and chaos phases, by starting a new company that was part of the lighting industry’s transformation from bulbs to solid-state emitters, connecting tech to lighting manufacturers, and lighting to tech providers. It worked and I had several years of success.

The foreign element that caused my status quo to suffer pain, was the intrusion of every electronic supplier and LED manufacturer jumping in to offer what I was charging hourly fees for – free to manufacturers – on top of a growing number of competing consulting entities. So, I moved into light cure product development, where federal subcontract work was pretty solid… until a foreign element in the form of a change in Federal administration in 2016 shut down every program we were working on. Then, a resin performance issue emerged that closed off an entire market segment, erasing 7 years of development progress. So, in 2019, after struggling and tripping, and resisting, I took another position similar to one I held before, for an organization I was familiar with as a customer.

Not a great move. I forgot that: Change does not come from doing what you have already done. Nor does it come from taking a safe and familiar path.

There is a missing component to the change graphic – a phase of delusion. It happens somewhere in the resistance to stumbling phases, where you find yourself believing you are making change happen, or or part of a transformation, when it fact, you are not. In this case, I jumped into a familiar universe of resistance and chaos, with visions of being part of a rescuing team that would see the organization build a fresh status quo. It turned out I was just delusional. The organization, while feeling chaotic to me, in need of transformation, and in need of integrating functions, was perfectly happy being what it was. My attempts to energize change were not appreciated, which just led to resistance and more chaos. My bad. It showed me that change comes only from a large scale recognition of need, not some delusional do-gooder trying to save the company from itself. I won’t go down that road again.

In that time, I came to my own personal realization and transformational idea.

Rather than commit countless hours in service of another’s goals, why was I not putting that effort into my real interests and passions. The real transforming idea was to reset how I had gone about business, and what I was doing. My partner (wife of 42 years) and I have talked about my doing art for a living since we met. I resisted this idea for 42 years. No more excuses – time to embrace the chaos and stop resisting.

Now I am in the integrating phase, where pieces born of transformational idea are coming together. Where my resistance for years were founded on assumptions about how I might fail, I now know more about what I do not know, and am beginning to see pathways through this. From making ideas into finished works, to presentations and marketing direction, I am pulling together the integrative components necessary to see it through. This is not part time, weekends and evenings work. This requires far more effort, more time, and more thought than I imagined, and is much harder work than anything I have done before. There are also personal demons to be destroyed, and fears to overcome, on top of the practical issues in hand.

This last several months have solidified the epiphany that true change is the hardest work you can take on, is painful in its own right, and fraught with many obstacles. However, the question ultimately comes down to where you want to endure pain: A.) From a harried status quo existence that you feel deep down has a poor outcome, leading to crisis and greater pain? Or, B.) The commitment to the greater effort of change to something better and more rewarding?

I’m going with option B – until something forces me to change again – in which case it is still B. I am done with option A.

What’s in a Name?

Posted: July 10, 2021 in Uncategorized

Names are just nouns, words, a collection of vowels and consonants in an order that allows the brain to create a pronunciation, or sound when spoken. In other words, nothing tangible. Yet, names and words are far more than that. Some, like “the” and “of” are binding words, that make sentence structure work. Others like “hot”, “fast” or “angry” impart feeling or action into a sentence. Names are words of identification.

Names establish identity to an organization, a person, or an object, that eliminates the need for additional descriptive words to create understanding and identity. Without names, how would we describe companies like Ford, Chevrolet, IBM, 3M, Apple, et al? How would we differentiate between the thousands of various products we live with every day. In many cases, the name of the originator of a product becomes the noun describing the general product category, like Coke and Kleenex, or Hoover (for those old enough).

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