Kelly Roberts, after an illustrious 17-year tenure with WALD Studio, has embarked on a fresh endeavor with her new company, Primary Arc Design. I met Kelly for breakfast in New York earlier this month.
The company’s ethos revolves around celebrating each project as a story arc, and recognizing that the end user’s narrative is foundational in shaping the direction of the design. By focusing on the importance of that relationship, Primary Arc Design curates high-end residential, hospitality, and distinct commercial projects that genuinely resonate with the end user’s aspirations and needs. The company collaborates closely with architects and interiors teams to ensure that each choice is meticulously considered to provide an authentic and innovative design.
Throughout her career, Kelly has noted a growing apprehension among residential users regarding LED technology. After years of fast-to-the-market solutions, owners and end users fear LEDs render spaces in unflattering grey tones, flicker and cause headaches, and impact their mood and sleeping patterns. Addressing these concerns, Kelly stated, “With the dominance of LED as the primary lighting source, it’s imperative to educate and reassure users about its potential. While apprehensions are valid, especially given the choices users find easily accessible on the market, the evolution of LED products has been transformative. With the right application, LEDs can enhance spaces with beauty and achieve unparalleled dimming and color capabilities.”
As Kelly’s tenure as President of Women in Lighting + Design (WILD) draws to a close – an impressive two-year term which has seen the organization gain 501(c)6 status, grow to 20 Chapters, and launch their four core Programs for members – she reflects on the enriching experiences and insights gained. “It’s been a transformative journey, allowing me the chance to learn from many of the industry’s most inspiring women, witness the ebb and flow of firms, and collaborate with manufacturing CEOs,” she mused. “I am grateful for the WILD community, and for the opportunities and support it has offered me.”
EdisonReport Named her the 2021 Person of the Year for her role in organizing WILD.
Kelly is driven by a vision for Primary Arc Design that’s still crystallizing, shaped by her myriad of inspirations. She envisions a company that transcends geographical boundaries, with aspirations to expand nationally and potentially globally. “The idea is not to operate in isolation but to cultivate a firm enriched with diverse talents and perspectives,” she shared. Kelly is committed to continuing to help expand diversity practices and social responsibility in the lighting industry, and to build Primary Arc Design as a model for other firms.
On a personal note, while I may not have an in-depth understanding of residential lighting, a recent home renovation was truly enlightening. Kelly revealed that some premium residential lighting packages can range between $200,000 to $300,000—a figure that is in line with the initial cost of my current residence!