Decades ago, as I was meandering through Europe’s charming streets, I entered a building whose dark hallway suddenly burst into light the second I moved an inch. This was my first encounter with Europe’s well-known energy prudence. Tiny compact cars whizzed by, a nod to the steep gas prices, but it was the hallways that offered me a true masterclass in energy conservation. Using light sensors and motion the buildings ensured that precious energy was spent only when it mattered most.

Fast forward to today’s New York City, where Local Law 97 will mandate that all large residential buildings install energy-efficient lighting throughout their common areas. This extends to stairwells, laundry rooms, storage spaces, and the very heart of our expertise—hallways and lobbies. Motion sensor lighting, which springs to life at the slightest movement, is at the forefront of this transition. It outshines traditional LED bulbs by significantly reducing energy consumption which can reduce bills by 25%.

In our role as interior designers with a specialty in condo and co-op lobbies and hallways, our goal has always been to find the most beautiful and innovative solutions for our client. We’ve been at the forefront of energy efficiency for many years creating not only visually stunning spaces but also ones that offer cost savings to our clients wherever possible.

Creating Beautiful & Energy-Efficient Lighting

After scouring the market looking for light fixtures that contained energy efficient features and were up to our design and quality standards and finding none, we realized we had to take matters into our own hands. For us, lighting is a pivotal element in spaces, not just a supplementary adornment. We wanted to meld design with the principle of energy conservation. So we ventured into the realm of custom, energy-efficient lighting solutions that were visually elegant and functionally efficient.

Today we partner with vendors skilled in fitting the high-end fixtures we find in the market with state-of-the-art motion-sensor technology. When existing market options don’t meet our standards, we work with them to create bespoke fixtures from our custom designs. Each one is calibrated to ensure that spaces with frequent traffic are bathed in light, while quieter areas are touched with a softer glow, thereby optimizing both ambiance and energy use.

Here are some examples:

1920s Charm Meets Modern Energy Solutions

Art Deco Elegance on the East River

On the Upper West Side, we encountered a distinctive challenge: the redesign of the classic 1920s building’s hallways while preserving the original sconces. The residents cherished the sconces which were not only beautiful, but held historic significance. This was before Local Law 97 came into play, yet the building’s board was already cognizant of the benefits of energy conservation and cost savings.

Our innovative solution involved a synergy with one of our trusted lighting vendors known for having expertise in out- of-the-box thinking. They carefully integrated discreet occupancy sensors into the existing sconces and fine-tuned them to detect movement and activate the lights only when necessary.

This allowed our clients to retain the charm of their beloved sconces while significantly cutting down on the building’s energy usage. It’s a prime example of
proactive compliance, well ahead of the curve in meeting the standards set by Local Law 97.

Brutalism with a Touch of Light

As part of an Upper East Side project, we were tasked with re-envisioning the common areas of a unique building that stands as a testament to the Brutalist era, popular from the 1950s to the 1970s. Brutalism emphasizes the raw beauty of man-made building materials such as concrete block and glass. Often misunderstood by its “mean-sounding name, the style celebrates the unadorned essence of form and texture.

The original fixtures of this architectural marvel had been removed during an earlier renovation and not loved by the residents. Our challenge was to start anew, to create a lighting design that felt inherently light yet reflected the bold geometry of the structure. In collaboration with our trusted vendor, we designed a square fixture that complements the building’s Brutalist style and is fitted with motion sensors to increase energy efficiency and therefore, save money.

Design Note: Aligning square fixtures can be particularly challenging, as they demand visual symmetry with walls that are rarely perfectly straight. To overcome this, we utilized a mix of black and gold finishes with universal mounting plates, ensuring a flawlessly aligned appearance upon installation.

Art Deco Elegance on the East River

Midtown East Hallway Design, NYC
1920s Charm Meets Modern Energy Solutions

Moving into Midtown, our creativity was summoned by an Art Deco gem beside the East River. Here, the hallways whispered tales from the 1930s—a time of cinematic glamor, epitomized by the likes of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, and their opulent, crystal-lit set designs.

Drawing inspiration from this bygone era, we embarked on a journey to capture its essence through lighting. Our research led us to a round pendant fixture adorned with a halo of crystal bars, an homage to the era’s splendor. These exquisite fixtures now cast a dance of light across the once somber hallways, reflecting off ceilings, walls, and the preserved terrazzo floors, infusing life and luminance into every corner.

Uniting Aesthetics With Local Law 97

As a firm, we are committed to a harmonious blend of beauty, form, function and energy conservation. As Local Law 97 reshapes the landscape of New York City’s sustainability standards, part of our mission is to guide our clients through these changes with ease.

We take pride in providing innovative lighting solutions that not only illuminate spaces but helps buildings meet be ahead of the curve. If there’s a lobby or hallway renovation in your building’s future, consider getting the process started now so you’ll be way ahead when the deadlines for Local Law 97 approach.

Want to discuss your project? Feel free to reach out to me at 212.757.0631 or

To learn more about Local Law 97 and how your building’s common areas will be affected, click here

Sygrove Interior Design Services

Sygrove Associates Design Group is an NYC interior design company. Our company’s founder Marilyn Sygrove is the lead interior designer on all projects. And she’s as tough as you are when it comes to quality, aesthetics, and coming in on time and on budget.

It all starts with a design consultation with Marilyn. She takes the time to thoroughly understand your design needs then personally directs all interior design, planning, and installation activities. Her work has been delighting clients, co-op and condo boards, and homeowners for over 30 years. Her firm will help you achieve consensus with everyone involved from the Board, building management, and residents.

You can reach Marilyn by email at or call her directly at 212.757.0631.

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