Case Study: Checking-In on Kurt Versen & the Newport Marriott Rhode Island

The Newport Marriott in Rhode Island is a showcase property in the brand’s global portfolio. The unique 200+ room waterfront hotel recently underwent a top to bottom renovation, the most significant in its 27-year history. All of the indoor and outdoor common areas, spa, meeting rooms, bar areas, guests rooms and the restaurant were upgraded. The renovation was completed during the off-season in a tight five-month window.

“The performance and control of the Kurt Versen product integrates beautifully and contributes to the mood. Guests can walk from the lobby through the atrium to the restaurant during sunset and the low glare luminaires do not attract any attention. The Kurt Versen team understood our needs in the short construction window and worked closely with us to ensure everything ran smoothly. I know the team at Marriott was very happy with an energy-saving LED product that does everything we need it to do.”

– David Ghatan, President, CM KLING + ASSOCIATES INC

The Lighting Challenge:

The primary goal of  the design was to project and reflect the ambiance and spirit of Newport itself — coastal, modern and polished. While the harbor-facing, atrium is the main focal point of the property, the common areas, lobby, dining areas and hallways on the same floor had to complement each other.

CM KLING + ASSOCIATES Inc., set out to identify an LED lighting solution that met the design performance levels with low-level dimming capabilities.

Watching sunsets is a time-honored tradition at the facility, and the lighting would be under the most scrutiny at that time each night. It was critical that the lighting – at any time of the day – not obstruct the views of the harbor. The team understood even the smallest detail would be analyzed and color temperatures had to be precise.

The short construction window necessitated working with manufacturers who could partner on the project and deliver the right products in a timely manner.

Why Kurt Versen:

“Lighting shouldn’t compete with the space, it should complement it.”

Kurt Versen’s legacy is founded on this simple premise, and it is well-known for its approach to down lighting form and function. The layout of the lobby, dining areas, bars and common areas on the main level of the Newport Marriott dictated the need for a downlight that would dim beautifully and perform at a high level.

CM KLING + ASSOCIATES selected Kurt Versen for the deep shielded reflector systems to create quiet ceilings and low brightness, complementing the architecture and almost disappearing in the space. Options for anodized cone, trim finishes and color empowered designers to be creative.

Kurt Versen’s architectural-grade, downlight fixtures feature the aesthetic appeal of deeply shielded recessed products, superior performance and intelligent design — and all with the benefits of LED technology. Kurt Versen incorporated Xicato’s LED module to ensure a premium solution. Xicato offers unmatched efficacy and quality of light that’s more consistent. Xicato also offers the industry’s only five year color consistency and lumen maintenance warranty.


At the Newport Marriott, Kurt Versen down lights created reflections in strategic areas, one of the critical goals of the lighting solution. Specification-grade point source light fixtures are used in a wide spectrum of applications, enabling the brand to develop the most ideal solution for any project – be it round, square, rectangle, pinhole or surface form. The R&D team at Kurt Versen is laser-focused on understanding and dissecting the unique characteristics of new lighting sources to achieve the desired architectural lighting solution of its customers.


Kurt Versen takes a family approach to the design of its products to ensure it can address all the unique requirements of a project, including general downlighting, wall washing and accent lighting, while maintaining a consistent aesthetic appearance. The products complement the space without interfering or overpowering the architectural atmosphere they create. In this application the lighting enhances the architect’s vision and even empowers them to explore new ways to accentuate key focal points and features, creating the desired dramatic effects.


In Newport Marriott, dimming was used widely to create lighting “transitions” throughout the day and accomplish the desired dramatic effects. In the morning, the transitions are bright and airy, encouraging guests to gather and chart a course for the day. In afternoon and evening, areas are strategically dimmed to avoid distracting from the harbor views as guests celebrate the sunset. At night, drama and intimacy is created. The lighting system directs these daily transitions and plays a critical role in helping achieve the collective ambiance goals of the property.

Overall, Kurt Versen’s innovative products complement the design ambition of the architect while meeting the sustainability goals of the Marriott brand. These products enable ideal light management and the flexibility to create a custom lighting solution.

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