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A sense of dynamism, energy and movement can be captured through the combination of different types of lighting. Lighting can also help guide users to specific behaviors. Whenever possible, use natural lighting to convey warmth and a connection to nature.


Fixtures should be simple in shape and detailing to convey a contemporary, modern aesthetic. All fixtures should be lensed to produce a soft, diffused light and glow. For color temperature, choose LED lights in a warm white; 3500K is recommended.

Use a neutral palette of white, gray and silver. Avoid using accent colors in lighting fixtures.

linear pendants
linear pendants over open desk area

One hallmark of IBM interiors is linear lights used in open ceiling areas.

linear fixtures echo lines of wood slat ceiling
cover lights

Cove lights provide architectural emphasis.

modern graphic pendants

Choose modern, geometric pendants.

linear fixtures form subtle ceiling grid pattern

Zone lighting

Each zone serves a different purpose, and the lighting choices should reflect the purpose of the zone.

Welcome and connect

Welcome and Connect zone lighting should complement and integrate with the specialty ceiling elements in each zone. Whether linear or downlights, light should be lensed, soft and diffused.

linear lights in a wood slat ceiling

A walkway gets subtle definition with spot lighting.

natural light reception area


The lighting in the Play zone should complement and integrate with the specialty ceiling elements employed in this zone. A combination of lensed linear fixtures and downlights can be used. Decorative pendants should be suspended over the bar-height counter.

large pendants over a counter

Downlights provide low-profile general light, while pendants brighten the countertop.

open ceiling with bright task lighting over play space


An open Collaborate zone can be differentiated by using a single, large, decorative pendant over the collaboration grouping. Differentiate a stand-up Collaborate zone with two or three small decorative pendants positioned over the stand-up table.

modern linear pendants

Linear lights define this relaxed seating area.

large pendant over collaboration area

Choose pendants that suit each zone’s purpose.


The atmosphere of an enclosed meeting or Focus zone works best with a recessed, lensed linear fixture. The accent wall should be highlighted with a continuous lensed linear fixture.

An open workplace Focus zone typically uses lensed linear fixtures. Fixture layout should be orderly, rhythmic and based on the 2x Grid. Variations in layout are permissible as long as foot-candle requirements are met at the work surface.

If an open workplace Focus zone includes library tables, use two or three small, decorative pendants positioned over them.

large pendants over table in focus area
Linear lights

Linear lights echo the ceiling grid.