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Riverbend Condominiums

Chicago, IL


Located at a prominent site in Chicago’s River North neighborhood, The Residences at RiverBend is a 37-story high-rise residential tower housing 145 condominiums and four townhomes. The building was designed to give residents outstanding views of the Chicago River and the Chicago skyline.

The external appearance of the building was an important element to the design, since the structure is a prominent feature of the city’s skyline. Architects DeStefano and Partners designed the building with a concave façade that followed the meandering course of the Chicago River. The Radco Companies, the developer, wanted to find an innovative and aesthetically pleasing solution to highlight the elegant architecture. “We needed a lighting solution that would not only enhance the unique design of this building, but one that would also meet our practical needs,” said Norman Radow, president of The Radco Companies. “LEDs are both energy efficient and have extremely long life, which helps us keep our utilities and maintenance costs low." 


Lighting designer Mitchell Kohn of Mitchell Kohn Lighting Design used 16 foot lengths of io Lighting’s extremely compact linear LED luminaire; line series .75 fixture, which incorporates OSRAM LINEARlight Flex LED technology, to illuminate the exterior of the high-rise. Each of the building’s floors is flanked by a 2-inch by 16-foot ledge, on which Kohn installed the fixture, which is only ¾ inch by ¾ inch in cross section, and outfitted with blue LEDs.

The very tight 10-degree beam angle grazes upward to illuminate 12-foot recessed panels on the exterior of the building. The result is both long life and energy efficient – the LEDs have an average rated life of up to 10 years with normal use and the fixture draws only 3-watts per foot. The lighting project was completed in January of 2005. "By using blue LEDs, we were able to highlight, not overpower, the building's distinctive features. The subtle uplighting from the blue LEDs give the facility a contemporary flare without being ostentatious," said lighting designer Mitchell Kohn.

LEDs are increasingly being used for architectural applications. They offer major design opportunities for increased control and dimmability, as their color changing and control properties are unmatched by any lighting product on the market today, allowing the creation of more exciting and attractive lighting designs. The truly “mini” size of LEDs compared to traditional light sources empowers decorators to find new lighting applications in places that were difficult or impossible to illuminate in the past. “Our mission is to revolutionize lighting by creating LED luminaries that provide innovative, energy efficient, sustainable illumination, and the RiverBend condo installation is a perfect example of the ideal combination of functionality and design,” said Ann Reo, president and CEO of io Lighting.

LEDs also make an excellent choice for exterior lighting projects where maintenance can be difficult and costly. The modules are extremely long life and fade at the end of service rather than burn out completely, which eliminates unsightly dark spots. “The combination of our company’s LINEARlight Flex LEDs and io Lighting’s fixture was the ideal option for this particular project,” said Erik Moser, commercial engineer for OSRAM SYLVANIA. “With the wide array of LED fixtures that have come to the market in recent months, and the number of innovative products in development, the future of LED lighting looks extremely bright.”


OSRAM LINEARlight Flex LED system (Blue)

io Lighting Line 0.75 fixture