The City of Virginia Beach had a vision. It saw the opportunity to create an incubator for life science start-ups, giving the best and brightest biotech minds the chance to research, develop and grow, all under one roof. The concept of Virginia Beach BIO Incubator Hub was born.
Facility Logix helped the Virginia Beach Department of Economic Development build the framework for the new programme and secure the fifth floor of an office building. Hiring the Science and Technology team at Hanbury to design the space, including laboratory planning and equipment coordination, followed.
“Virginia Beach BIO is a co-working space, but it’s also an incubator space,” said Paige Conrad, Associate Principal and Interior Designer at Hanbury. “Start-ups need a private laboratory place to research, but they also need office space to reach out to investors, and perhaps a boardroom to pitch their ideas. We needed to create a flexible space to meet all of these potential needs.”
Approaching the space from a wellness perspective, the team sought to create a vibrant, exciting environment, and excellent light coverage and lighting control were crucial elements. Incandescent lighting from the previous tenants was removed; custom configurations of A-Light’s Atom luminaire provide general illumination throughout.
Atom pendants are prominent in the lobby, corridors, co-working spaces, office, and laboratory set-ups. The carefully curated illumination provides the appropriate light levels and quality required for a laboratory setting. Still, it works equally well if that same space is converted from a biomedical lab to a robotics lab or office space for the next start-up coming in. The unique luminaire patterns evoke molecule formations.
“We came up with the arrangements to make sure light levels are as even as possible,” Conrad said. “But we also sought to break up the space to stop it from feeling so linear. The result is fun and engaging and says ‘exciting things are happening here.’”
While the footprint of the lease space is long and narrow, the perimeter has beautiful windows and views, and the corridors are made to feel as vibrant and bright as the rest of the space by using creative finish and lighting strategies. Atom’s high-performance HE Tech™ lenses effectively diffuse the direct and indirect illumination to make all spaces feel open, brighter, and expansive, even in the corridors.
“When artificial light doesn’t feel like artificial light, with warm, even distribution, and no shadows or glare, that goes a long way to supporting wellness in the overall design,” Conrad said.
Each conference room is illuminated with an Aerial linear pendant. Aerial combines a high-performance light engine and 3D light guide to deliver stunning ambient lighting. The striking fixtures deliver an impressive quantity and quality of illumination while contributing to a contemporary aesthetic.
Conrad points out that the bulk of the project was completed during the height of the pandemic in 2020, however there was no way to budge on the deadline – science doesn’t wait! So, the team was particularly grateful to source both the Atom and Aerial fixtures in the USA to meet their deadlines.
Virginia Beach BIO’s unique space is certainly turning heads. The project was recognized by the American Society of Interior Designers at the Interior Design Excellent Awards 2021 (Virginia) with an Honorable Mention for a corporate space under 35,000 square feet.
“It’s a really wonderful space,” Conrad said. “The light quality is amazing, and the A-Light luminaires did exactly what we wanted them to do!”
Project Name: Virginia Beach BIO Incubator Hub
Project Location: Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA
Project Completion: April 2021
Architect (Laboratory Planning & Interior Design): Hanbury
Agent: Resource Lighting + Controls
Photography: Jennifer Scheffel deZINE RESOURCE