Focal Point: Supporting the Needs of Our Community

The Onward Neighborhood House, established in the Belmont Cragin neighborhood supports its residents through educational, recreational and social service programs. Due to the gentrification and shift in demographics of the West Town neighborhood, the organization outgrew its 9,000 square-foot space and relocated to a campus totaling 22,000 square feet. It completed the renovation of one of its buildings with the help of manufacturer donations and pro bono work, and Focal Point contributed 30 energy efficient luminaires that provide ambient and task lighting throughout the space. A ribbon cutting and naming ceremony, held on May 10, 2017 revealed the building and honored its former President, the late Hank Marshall.

Whitney Architects, a Chicago-based architecture firm, designed the new space and worked with manufacturers to secure product donations. The efforts resulted in the contribution of over 90% of the building’s furnishings, construction and installation services. “It was designed in such a way that the small space has great flexibility,” says Mario Garcia, Executive Director at Onward Neighborhood House. It embraces a modern aesthetic, incorporating the latest urban office design trends with open, collaborative work spaces, modular furniture, and LED lighting.

“At Focal Point we focus on values that inspire us to do our best work. This opportunity has allowed us to contribute positively to our community and to help empower others to achieve their goals,” says Mike Thornton, Chief Marketing Officer at Focal Point LLC. “We collaborated with Whitney Architects selecting versatile luminaires that would accommodate the organization’s services and space requirements: adult educational classes, administrative offices, and computer training courses, while also providing flexibility to adapt to future needs.”

To properly light the multi-use space, Focal Point provided Equation 2 recessed troffers, Seem 4 linear luminaires, Fusion pendants, and ID+ 4.5″ x 4.5″ downlights. Entering the airy space, individual units of Seem 4 are suspended creating a bold and inviting atmosphere while providing ample illumination over workstations. The lines of light continue into the kitchen and open collaboration space, while a wall mounted Seem 4 illuminates the hallway connecting the respective areas, bringing visual flow and harmony throughout the space.

A combination of Equation 2 and ID+ 4.5” x 4.5” downlights were used in the classroom area to achieve task lighting. These separately controlled luminaires provided an additional level of flexibility for illuminating work surfaces and projection screens during educational sessions. A small conference room gained general illumination from additional ID+ 4.5″ x 4.5″ downlights while a Fusion pendant was selected for task lighting over the conference table. The clean industrial aesthetic of Fusion is juxtaposed to the warm, modern furnishings for a distinct look with visual balance.

The new space provides a vibrant, modern and inviting atmosphere that will give residents and employees of Onward Neighborhood House a place to achieve their full potential and reach their personal goals.

To learn more about the Onward Neighborhood House renovation please visit

About Focal Point, LLC

Focal Point is a Chicago-based family owned and operated architectural lighting manufacturer. Like no other manufacturer, we focus on creating great luminaire designs that stand the test of time – with beautifully simple forms to complete your architectural statement, and optimal illumination to comfortably define the space and its purpose. We believe great lighting isn’t just about meeting technical design requirements. It’s about people. It’s about creating a more beautiful, functional environment wherever people live, work or gather. That’s why we employ fully engaged and empowered people who are passionate about the lighting they design and build. That’s why we value our partnerships with people who represent, specify and use our products – offering trust, integrity and the personalized attention that makes Focal Point easy to work with. And that’s why we’re proud to call ourselves lighting people – your independent provider of sustainable, American-built lighting products that make a difference for beautiful architectural spaces and the people who inhabit them.