• Newport Beach Country Club
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Project Spotlight | Newport Beach Country Club

July 2018 - by Soraa

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John Fox, president of Fox & Fox Design LLC, delivers “ego-free lighting design services” to the most extraordinary of residences and destinations. For more than 27 years, he has illuminated a diverse array of spaces—from hotels to theme parks and virtually everything in between.

Recently, The Illuminating Engineering Society recognized John’s visionary work at the Newport Beach Country Club with a 2017 Illumination Merit Award. We spoke with John to learn about his approach to lighting design and discover how he seamlessly incorporated Soraa’s LED lamps throughout the country club—all while paying homage to California’s architectural history.


How would you convey your philosophy about lighting design in one sentence?

John Fox: To share my expertise and passion for lighting with my team, family and customers so I can help them inspire the world with beautiful design.

Tell us about your approach to lighting design.

JF: At Fox & Fox Design LLC, we try to solve problems that most designers shy away from. We tackle most creative solutions with solid experience, and we are always listening to input from the client and contractors. We strongly feel that professionals in the construction industry have valid experiences that should not be discounted. If their ideas or recommendations pass the feasibility and conceptual muster tests, we are happy to champion their ideas.

Congratulations on winning the 2017 Illumination Merit Award! Let’s talk about your work for the Newport Beach Country Club. Give us some background on the project.

JF: When you talk about California’s history of architecture, it’s impossible to avoid discussing the Arts & Crafts movement and the 1908 Pasadena Gamble House by Greene and Greene. The heavy, structural roofs, deep overhangs and wide swaths of glass help blur the lines between inner and outer spaces.

Today, the use of thick stone columns, wide wooden beams and oversized pendants are all balanced in the Newport Beach Country Club’s modern interpretation of this historic style. Despite restrictive energy requirements and ever-evolving LED lamp technology, we were able to embrace the 21st century while paying homage to California’s signature past in this project.

What lighting design techniques did you apply to actualize your vision for Newport Beach Country Club’s expansive space?

The country club’s retail space utilized adjustable narrow spot 2700K high CRI multi-head fixtures with linear uplights and a heavy central pendant to provide flexibility and richly themed lighting. The use of linear uplights, table lamps, scaled wall sconces, minimal downlights and an oversized cluster pendant evokes a residential feel.

The upstairs bar and dining area enjoy very flexible lighting options with individual dimming zones. These spaces are accented with under-counter Soraa LEDs and teardrop pendants above the bar, along with other decorative items. The men’s and women’s private dining area, with its daylight northern exposure, was lit to ensure uninterrupted views with low-glare bar pendants, coves and under-cabinet lighting.

Last but not least, large drum pendants, multi-head adjustable accents, linear coves and perimeter downlights blended together as needed for three separate spaces that spill onto flanking outdoor patios.

How does your lighting design affect the country club’s guests?

JF: All treatment rooms, spa services and fitness facilities were treated with the ability to dim significantly while maintaining color, safety and user-friendly access. The use of linear uplights, table lamps, scaled wall sconces, minimal downlights and an oversized cluster-pendant allows for easy visual tasks with a residential feel.

Let’s get a little technical. What specific lighting solutions did you leverage to achieve the project’s goals?

JF: The consistent use of inner and outer space lighting solutions is articulated by 2700K sconces, coves and uplights while leading guests to the main entrance. The trophy case’s 90CRI 2700K linear LEDs are identical to those in the ballroom and provide a high ambient, non-glare atmosphere for the adjacent donor wall.

2700K low wattage multi-lamp pendants and sconces provide soft warm vertical illumination while the linear cove accents the heavy beams (in addition to serving as an emergency egress). Locker rooms achieved the vertical 20fc required using minimal downlights and color-tuned 2700K linear LED lights, ensuring easy visibility into the dark locker spaces.

What is your reaction to using Soraa today, versus using other lighting technologies?

JF: What I love about Soraa is that I can specify the exact technology I want, irrespective of the fixture that the contractor wants to buy. As long as I can specify a fixture that allows for Soraa’s PAR lamps or MR16 lamps, for example, we know that we will have the most current dimming and waveform correction for dimming systems, the best color and white rendering and more options for beam angles. We also have access to the Soraa Snap System, which provides many more options and control.

What is one thing that is always consistent with successful project outcomes like your work with the Newport Beach Country Club?

JF: Usually a successful project is the result of the design team and construction teams having full trust, respect and shared vision and goals. If you have a design team that supports and respects the contractor and the contractor doing the same, I can almost guarantee success.

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