Located in Dalton, GA, the 33000 square foot Light Lab is a mid-century modern building that features 360 degree views of landscape and natural vistas. Built in the early 1960s as the headquarters for World Carpet, the building has been used most recently as a showroom space for Mohawk Flooring residential products. The conceptual design of the interior renovation for Light Lab was provided by students from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), and the building is now home to all of the commercial and hospitality product design teams in the Mohawk organization.

A Beacon of Sustainability

In May 2016, Light Lab received Petal Certification from the International Living Future Institute’s Living Building Challenge program. Light Lab was the first Living Building Challenge Petal Certified project in the state of Georgia and the first restoration project in the entire Southeastern United States.

The ILFI’s Living Building Challenge is a building certification program, advocacy tool and philosophy that defines the most advanced measure of sustainability in the built environment possible today. The Challenge is comprised of seven performance categories called Petals: place, water, energy, health & happiness, materials, equity and beauty. Petal Recognition is given to projects that satisfy the requirements in three categories of the Living Building Challenge, when at least one is water, energy or materials. Light Lab satisfied the requirements for the site, health, materials, equity and beauty petals.

International Living Future Institute
“Mohawk’s Petal Certification further demonstrates the company’s progressive attitude and unwavering commitment to both sustainability and ILFI’s transformational programs, including the Living Building Challenge, Declare, and the Living Product Challenge,” said Amanda Sturgeon, chief executive officer of the International Living Future Institute. “ILFI is proud to call Mohawk our partner and we are excited about future efforts to work together on our vision of a world that is socially just, culturally rich and ecologically restorative.”

Achieving LBC Petal Certification:
Site, Health, Materials, Equity and Beauty.

Materials & Beauty

Building materials and products are chosen based on the impact on human health and environment. The beautiful space that the Design Center occupies, surrounded by mountains and trees, establishes a close connection to nature. This connection is a source of inspiration for the occupants and education for the community.

Salvaged and Repurposing Materials:
Considering that FSC certified wood is not an easy to come by resource in our region, and knowing that repurposing materials is a plus, we decided to bring materials from former facilities to use in our space when we need wood. All of the overhead details of wood came from tufting creels from a previous Mohawk facility. Our kitchen cabinets and islands are also constructed of this wood. We also reused some light fixtures from other Mohawk facilities

Red List Free and LBC Compliant:
All materials that have been installed from ceiling to floor, to minor components such as glue, have been vetted and comply with the Living Building Challenge Red List.

Appropriately Sourced Materials:
All of the materials have been sourced in compliance with the Living Building Challenge requirements. For example, Mohawk was able to get the marble countertop from a local quarry in Georgia. We also worked with a local artist in Rome, GA, to create lighting artwork made out of Mohawk’s Red List free polymer.

Inspire and Educate:
Visitors to Light Lab will find a wealth of information about the Living Building Challenge and be inspired by the elements that make Light Lab such a uniquely sustainable and beautiful place.

Minimalistic Design and Materials:
The concept for the Light Lab revolved around a minimalistic design approach, creating a modern and functional space.

Access to Daylight and Views:
With ceiling to floor windows bordering the building, the space has an ample amount of daylight and outdoor views. The team desired an open floor plan for collaboration and to allow fair access to daylight and views for occupants both at the perimeter and towards the core. The existing skylight in the center of the space serves as inspiration, as it allows natural light into an area where people will converge to collaborate.

Biophilic Design

Most of us spend a great amount of time indoors, interacting with the virtual world through computers and under artificial lighting. A lot of offices have closed cubicles with almost no access to natural light or views, and this kind of setting takes us miles away from nature. Biophilic Design allows us to bridge this gap between an unnatural lifestyle and the natural world.

For the Mohawk Group Design Center, we wanted to create an open office environment that would allow ample amounts of natural light and views to the beautiful greenery and mountains. The goal was to explore the strengths of the existing space to the fullest extent, resulting in an inspiring, creative and collaborative atmosphere.

Natural Patterns and Processes
Natural patterns and processes are an integral part of the product design process at the Light Lab. It only made sense that outside of the product design, we would incorporate natural patterns and processes into the design space as well. We approached this in several different ways through the various choices we made.

The ceiling light beams that reflect a rapidly flowing river have been created using salvaged wood from other Mohawk facilities.

The drop ceiling pattern reflects a bird’s nest and gives an organic feel to the space, which complements the other elements of the design.

Flooring has been selected to reflect various natural patterns and processes, such as states of mind and evolving textures. Inspired by the multi-layered beauty of our cultural landscape, the flooring shows limitless combinations of patterning and textures.


As part of the habitat exchange program, the team decided to go above and beyond the program requirements.

International Conservation Efforts
Mohawk will be donating towards a purchase of conservation easements for 2.2 acres. The Institute will identify the appropriate project and land internationally. This allows us to create an impact on the broader community and contribute to protecting habitats for endangering species.

Local Preservation Efforts
Mohawk property in Calhoun, GA and at the manufacturing plant in Glasgow, VA has been designated a Certified Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation, and it is very diverse in both habitats and topography. The habitat is Calhoun beaver, deer, hawks and waterfowl are frequently seen on this property. This land includes wetlands, floodplains and several ponds, and waterways that are rich in riparian fish habitats.