T-Mobile, Chicago by Focus Lighting

T-Mobile’s Chicago flagship is one of the brand’s six new Signature Stores, all of which are designed to communicate T-Mobile’s campaign message of “Life on the Go”. With this concept of movement used to tie all six Signature Stores together, each is distinguished by individual design features specific to its locale. Elements in the Chicago store, for instance, communicate the city’s connection to industrialism, and at T-Mobile Times Square, theatrical fixtures reference New York’s historic Broadway scene.

LED strips on the Chicago store’s facade emulate the appearance of light from fast-moving vehicles, wrapping into the entryway to drive passersby into the store. Inside, large steel frames are suspended from the ceiling to signify notable areas throughout, while evoking Chicago’s industrial roots. Two strips of linear LEDs integrated into the base of each frame transform the architectural features into massive decorative lighting elements.

One of Focus Lighting’s primary design goals was to use light to elevate the appearance of product displays. Distinct from all previously existing T-Mobile stores, where light distribution is even, the Chicago flagship uses 200 footcandles on product displays to stand out against the 20 footcandles on unused floor space. This use of contrast creates visual order within the store that immediately draws customers’ attention to T-Mobile’s devices and accessories.

To ensure the longevity of product display lighting, the team wanted to use the least amount of adjustable fixtures possible. Shelved products along the perimeter wall are illuminated by two layers of millwork-integrated linear LEDs. This strategic use of non-adjustable light fixtures eliminates the need for re-aiming, creating a treatment that will remain intact as product displays rotate. The design works to reduce glare on product screens, as well as to eliminate customers’ view of the fixtures, even those close enough to lean against the display. Line voltage LEDs minimize the need for transformers, freeing space for product storage. In-house and on-site mockups were conducted to determine the exact height and depth of each fixture location. Just 32 adjustable accents were used throughout the entire store to accommodate displays at the center of the floor.

Another first for T-Mobile, the lighting designer implemented an easy-to-program control system to allow dimming and a curation of light levels that create a richly illuminated shopping experience.


Brett Andersen, Principal Lighting Designer
Valentina Doro, Senior Lighting Designer
Jon Blitstein, Project Manager

Photo Credit: Razorfish


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