Behind the Design: The Medal Pendant

Have you ever wondered how designers get their ideas for our beautiful lighting? Ideas don’t fall from the sky: sometimes, the creative process can be years in the making. Dan McGinty, a product designer for Progress Lighting, shares the inspiration behind our new Medal pendant, which had its genesis in the designer’s beloved Yamaha scooter of his youth.

The design team was challenged to create an industrial-style pendant that was versatile enough to fit into many types of décor. The design intent was to create a stylized and elevated version of a vintage warehouse look.

“As all of my design projects start,” said Dan, “I sketched a stack of thumbnail images of industrial pendants. I had a visual in my mind of an old industrial warehouse light with prismatic glass and a large ballast box on top.”

After sketching more than 50 different styles of industrial pendants, the design team regrouped to ponder the designs and decide upon which ones to move ahead with. Then the practical design work began.

“I started to refine the fixture and model it in 3D. This helped me understand the mechanical and industrial elements I wanted to embrace and use to draw attention to the fixture,” said Dan. “It was important to integrate elements of an industrial style fixture but refine those details enough so that it wasn’t trend specific.”

Dan chose to embrace the iconic industrial elements of double prismatic glass, the top wiring body or ballast box, the wing nuts holding the glass and ring together, and the thick exposed cord winding up to the ceiling canopy.

Vintage warehouse pendants often had a large J-box on top for ballast and wiring, and this was an element that was the basis of Dan’s inspiration. After many iterations, he developed a top cover embossed with a star motif, a brand element from the Progress Lighting logo, that was reminiscent of the stamped cover over the gearbox of Dan’s cherished Yamaha scooter.

P500212-009

P500212-143

P500212-164

The Progress star ballast box is finished in Brushed Nickel and tops a classic metal shade that was refreshed with a smooth, oversized silhouette. A Fresnel-style, double glass diffuser was chosen not only for its vintage look but for its ability to scatter light into a soft star pattern, offering the illusion of faceted glass. During the refinement process of the fixture’s design, the double prismatic lens also earned a Progress star in the center of the glass.

To further modernize the pendant’s industrial edge, Dan created a new finish color, Coastal Blue, specifically for this fixture. The color was so well-received that the design team quickly adopted it as a finish option for other fixtures in the Progress Lighting line. Not only does Coastal Blue fit seamlessly into the current style trend of soft color palettes, but it also pairs well with the Sherwin Williams 2020 color of the year, Naval.  Medal is also offered in Brushed Nickel, which leans towards a classic industrial look, and Graphite, a dark finish that transcends traditional warehouse style.

All in all, the Medal pendant is a modern revolution in industrial design.