Gary Steffy Lighting Design Inc. | GSLD®




The eyes are the portal through which most people experience much of life and through which the circadian rhythm is set and reset. Lighting enables the functional and perceptual qualities of sight for comfortable living and efficient working. This is all quality of life. Yet, the design, installation, and operating costs of lighting are quite small relative to overall building design, construction, and operating costs. Professionally designed lighting helps clients make the best of their infrastructure and environment investments. Gary Steffy Lighting Design Inc. (GSLD™) guides a project’s lighting decisions with broad and independent perspectives helping to balance team and client priorities with users’ vision rights. The firm offers a fee-based service and is not encumbered by any need to specify a particular brand or quantity of lighting hardware to partially or wholly subsidize design costs through sales’ commissions.


GSLD™ is a renowned, nationally recognized consultancy, and has contributed to teams and buildings bestowed some of the highest design honors. The firm’s consistent successes are driven by a design discipline that respects and enhances rather than over-dazzles people, architecture, interiors, and landscape. Design aesthetics and subjective and objective lighting criteria are pursued vigorously in achieving lighting solutions appropriate to clients’ priorities. The firm’s design services, including lighting design programming, master planning, concept and design development exploration, technical assessment, and contract documents, and construction administration services are well-honed based on principles identified in Gary Steffy’s textbooks, journal papers, and writings.


GSLD™ was founded in 1982 to advise clients on interior and exterior normal power architectural lighting and daylighting. The firm’s practice is well-grounded, using principles, experience, mockups, and modeling to achieve success regardless of application. Breadth of commissions ranges from Fifth Avenue and Rodeo Drive boutiques, residences and estates, and hotels to halls of justice, medical, educational, and corporate facilities, historic landmarks and musea to building facades and, daylighting, including for example such daylight assessments and assistance as determing BIPV-glazing coverage. Explore some of our experiences categorized in the drop down menu under Portfolio at the left.


Designs are based on careful technical and aesthetic assessments in close coordination with the design team. Although the overall look and feel of lighted environments are important components of success, the firm is well versed in technical guidelines espoused by the Illuminating Engineering Society – Mr. Steffy co-edited the Tenth Edition of The Lighting Handbook in 2011 – including the qualitative and quantitative aspects of the visual environment. ASHRAE 90.1 and LEED, Green Globes, or other power, energy, and sustainability standards, codes, and measures challenge lighting and are carefully considered. On restoration projects, historic luminaires are restored or, where no originals remain, they are recreated. Research of historic documentation, including that of luminaire catalogs and publications of the period, some in the firm’s library, is used to establish period luminaire profiles, sizes, spacings, and lighting effects. Experience with modern, efficient light sources, such as light emitting diodes, ceramic metal halide, compact fluorescent, halogen infrared filament, and linear fluorescent lamps, and knowledge of efficient optical control and temporal control yields designs that are historically semsitive, aesthetically pleasing, and operationally efficient. On renovation, rehabilitation, and new projects, lighting is choreographed to achieve functional and aesthetic needs of the occupancy and architecture.


Exemplifying its work on award winning projects, the firm’s efforts have contributed to projects cited with AIA Honor Awards, so noted on respective Portfolio thumbnails. Many projects are designed to LEED Basic or Silver thresholds and a number have been USGBC LEED certified, so noted on respective Portfolio thumbnails. Mr. Steffy has been named an honorary affiliate of AIA Michigan.


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