Tag Archives: lighting design

Designing Spaces Where Illumination Makes the Difference

August 21, 2018 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Trevor Hollins has a passion for how others see the world around them.

Specifically, he has a passion for how thoughtful design and lighting affects the environment people experience and how it shapes their impressions, emotions, and activity. 

Hollins is the lighting design studio lead at HDR’s Omaha architecture studio. He helped pioneer lighting design at HDR by advocating for it to shift from electrical engineering to the architecture studio. The move allows the lighting design team to work directly with architects and interior designers, improving the quality of the lighting and the overall design of structures.

“Good lighting design improves the way a user visually experiences architecture,” he says. “When you sit next to the people you are working on a project with, you are able to ask questions, bounce design ideas off of each other, and create better solutions to designs.”

The lighting design team works on projects in various stages of development, and they can be a resource for projects where the team is not directly involved, Hollins says. As part of the architecture studio, the team brings awareness of the latest advances in lighting and controls technology to projects, improving architects’ ability to stay within budget and meet other project requirements.

One of Hollins’ favorite projects is the Think Whole Person Healthcare facility near Aksarben Village, which features a six-story glass atrium that creates an inviting space for patients.“It is how we perceive architecture,” Hollins says. “It’s not putting out a cool lamp.”

“Lighting within that atrium had to be visually cohesive from floor to floor in order to connect all public-facing areas of the building together,” he says.

The design of the building uses the brain’s neural pathways as inspiration, Hollins says.

“The lighting design for the building reinforced this architectural concept in the atrium by highlighting major hubs of activity with illuminated rafts that reference an activated neuron,” he says. “Visiting the doctor can be a stressful time, and being able to help to create an inviting environment that reduces stress, and improves the patient experience and the ability of doctors to provide care, is
important to me.”

Hollins was recently honored for his contributions to his industry with Lighting magazine’s “40under40” award, which is organized in association with global lighting brand Osram. He was recognized alongside professionals from “high design cities” around the world, putting Omaha among the likes of London, New York, Singapore, and Stockholm. 

Andy Yosten, vice president and director of mechanical engineering at HDR, says Hollins has evangelized for lighting design.

“He truly understands the impact that our design can have on the human experience,” Yosten says. “It’s one thing if there is just one stand-alone great individual, but his ability to pass that knowledge on and influence others and help others see the impact that that light design can have is very special with Trevor.”

Clarence Waters, an architectural engineering professor at the University of Nebraska who has grown the program to national prominence, says Hollins has been an advocate for lighting design since graduating in 2004. Hollins regularly works with students, offering them feedback on projects and presentations. He also helps students looking to transition into the workplace.

“He’s very willing to give up his time,” Waters says. “HDR hires a lot of our students as interns, and Trevor is always mentoring those student interns who are working for HDR.”

As Hollins looks to continue to elevate lighting design in his industry and community, he hopes the next generation will recognize its potential to better illuminate our world.


Visit hdrinc.com for more information.

This article was printed in the August/September 2018 edition of B2B.