The postponed Lighting Design Awards celebrates projects at the forefront of lighting design
Words by Jill Entwistle
Aside from my personal involvement over the years, it was sad to witness the temporary demise of the UK’s Lighting Design Awards (LDAs) last year. In simple terms, it was another victim of Covid-19.
Nonetheless, after a whole range of incarnations in its 40-plus-year history, it has become recognised and respected as a major international lighting design event. Postponed from 2020, the winners were finally announced online this year.
As anyone who has organised or judged awards knows, they can be contentious and controversial as well as an occasion for congratulation. The chalk and cheese exercise means that, inevitably, while some schemes or products are clear winners, the nuances by which judges have deemed one project superior to another might not be clear in a close-run contest – especially to the loser.
All human enterprises are flawed, but on the whole, awards are a good thing. They publicly recognise the creativity, talent, conscientiousness and sheer hard work that lies behind a winning scheme. They are a showcase and promotional tool. They promote good practice and provide inspiration and the standard to which all should aspire. And, ultimately, everyone likes a pat on the back.
As the following examples show, lighting design has come an awful long way since the early days of the awards, when tunable lighting was unheard of and LEDs had yet to emerge from behind control panels. The seamless integration of lighting and its more nuanced application would have been more difficult to achieve technically, never mind the high expectations for light quality in public and hospitality spaces. It would be gratifying to think that, along with spectacular advances in technology, the awards played a part in advancing and defining the acme of lighting design.
RETAIL PROJECT OF THE YEAR INTEGRATION PROJECT OF THE YEAR HIGHLY COMMENDED IN DAYLIGHT PROJECT OF THE YEAR
APPLE STORE, FIFTH AVENUE, NEW YORK
Lighting Design Foster + Partners
Lighting Arup UK; OVI.
This image The Fifth Avenue Apple Store uses a tunable white light ceiling that dims or brightens to match light levels outside. Image Credit: AARON HARGREAVES/FOSTER + PARTNERS
Image Credit: AARON HARGREAVES/FOSTER + PARTNERS
Winner in two LDA categories and highly commended in a third, Foster + Partner’s renovated design for New York’s Fifth Avenue Apple Store is an exemplar of integration and synergy: the outside working with the inside, natural light harmonising with artificial light, and illumination as an intrinsic component of architecture.
Nine mirrored, so-called skylenses are arranged in a grid either side of the now-refurbished exterior glass cube, introduced in 2006 by Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs as a defining symbol of the store. These seamless, curved sculptural elements create a place to sit while providing a reflected perspective of the sky and surrounding buildings. The skylights not only feature an innovative circulatory cooling system – designed to absorb solar energy and offer frost protection, allowing all-year use – but the mirrored glass allows natural light to pour into the underground store, now doubled in size, leaving an outdoors ambience.
‘Inspired by the original vision of the sunken open-air plaza,’ says Stefan Behling, head of studio at Foster + Partners, ‘we wanted to completely dematerialise the roof of the store and flood the interior space with daylight. The skylenses literally bring the skies underground, and the innovative tunable white light ceiling allows us to match the exact wavelengths of sunlight at different times of day, blurring the boundary between inside and outside.’
This is achieved ‘by a lighting design that integrates with the architecture of the space to an unprecedented degree’. The backlit, cloud-like ceiling is made from a three-dimensional curved fabric that combines artificial and natural light to match the changing tones of daylight through the day. The brightness of the fabric is higher around the skylights, gradually receding away from them to give the impression of natural light flooding the interior, even in low-light conditions. The tunable white light ceiling reproduces the colour of natural daylight at different times of day, making the artificial light feel like an extension of the natural light entering the store.
Circling each skylight are the luminaires that highlight the display tables: a tunable white luminous ring of light and 32 miniature spotlights. The spots are set into the ring at preset angles oriented to evenly illuminate the rectangular table surfaces below, a process the design team called ‘squaring the circle’.
Sensors continuously monitor the intensity and CCT of daylight in the plaza above. Together with the control system, this ensures that the intensity and colour temperature of the artificial lighting is adjusted in real time to complement the natural light entering through the skylights. To save energy, daylight harvesting is applied when sufficient levels are available.
The tunable white lighting is also used to emphasise the passing of time, in particular at dawn and dusk, replicating the ‘golden hour’ light. It is also set up to provide additional stimulation to ease the shifts of Apple workers in the 24/7 underground retail environment.
HOTEL PROJECT OF THE YEAR
THE WEST HOLLYWOOD EDITION, CALIFORNIA
Lighting design: Isometrix Lighting + Design
As with any hotel’s diverse and multifunctional spaces, the knack in designing them is to make individual areas reflect their purpose and atmosphere, while knitting the components into a cohesive, brand-appropriate whole. In the case of the West Hollywood Edition, a luxe lighting quality also had to be reconciled with the minimal architecture of John Pawson and California’s energy code, Title 24.
The use of LEDs throughout, combined with their control systems – including daylight linking and presence detectors – enables compliance with energy guidelines without compromising the lit effect essential for a five-star hotel.
The entrance landscape features layers of LED spike uplights and mushroom lights, incrementally increasing in output where the plants are taller. This creates a controlled transition from the busy Sunset Boulevard to the hotel drop-off area.
A similar modulation of light levels is used in the lobby with its tall, daylight-flooded atrium. Dynamic white LED sources reflect the course of the natural light, shifting throughout the day and into the night, from cool to very warm light. Daylight sensors are also integrated to help balance and respond to the changing daylight conditions. Throughout the hotel, a high level of integration creates subtle planes and lines of light punctuated, where needed, by decorative but simple floor lamps.
The low ceiling and dark walnut wood finish made the Ardor restaurant the most challenging space, with the interior creating a strong contrast with the bright daylit exterior environment. Daylight control with blinds and sheer curtains was a critical element of the scheme, while grazing the curtains with LEDs creates a privacy filter to the street. All interior planting is illuminated to raise the dark ceiling and create a warm field of light that surrounds guests.
Architect and interior design John Pawson
Architect and interior design Bonetti Kozerski
Design team Ian Schrager Company
MEP Engineers WSP
Architect of record HKS Architects
Lighting suppliers Lumenpulse, Element Lighting, Acolyte LED, Luce&Light, SPJ Lighting, MP Lighting
HERITAGE AND FAITH PROJECT OF THE YEAR
TEVILAH POLANCO, JEWISH RITUAL BATHS, MEXICO CITY
Lighting design: artec3 Studio
The serenity of the baths comes from the simplicity of design and materials, and the way that both natural and artificial light seems to emanate from the building itself. ‘The lighting was conceived as an integral and indivisible part of the architectural design,’ says artec3 associate Ramon Ferreira. ‘The key to the successful ambience of the space was the symbiotic relationship between the natural light entering the building and the lighting design that is integrated into the architecture. The aim was to give the sensation that the building itself generates a light both rich and expressive.’
The primary lighting throughout is SMD LED strips (3,000K, CRI 85). Accent lighting, supporting the primary system, comes from surface downlights and luminaires in the bathrooms and bathing areas (also 3,000K, CRI 85). The warm colour temperature was chosen to complement the muted stonework.
The stairwell, providing access to the public areas, was a crucial element. It was important that people would feel they were entering a place of liturgy, Ferreira continues. ‘The challenge was how to incorporate the lighting into the steps, to get the feeling that the staircase itself generated the light, without seeing the light source.’
Each step is machined so that LED strips could be incorporated into the sides of the staircase, while a system of conduits was designed to pass the wiring from the steps to the walls and vice versa, without being seen from any angle. The light bouncing from the pale-coloured walls ensures requisite minimum levels for safety.
‘This solution generated a rich composition and a “celestial” atmosphere given the height of the space and the natural light all combined,’ says Ferreira. ‘The intensity and contrast of the lighting given by the integrated warm colour temperature luminaires is pleasing to the eye due to its close proximity to the material, providing contrast, direction, perspective and spatial quality.’
It was also an economical scheme, in terms of both budget and energy use, with total lighting costs less than €20,000 and electricity consumption no more than 10W/ m2 (all luminaires exceeded 80lm/W).
‘The lighting scheme responded to the identity of the building,’ says Ferreira. ‘It is an unobtrusive system that respects its religious use.’
2021 LIGHTING DESIGN AWARDS WINNERS
Hotel project of the year in association with Orluna
WINNER: The West Hollywood Edition (Isometrix Lighting + Design)
HIGHLY COMMENDED: The Times Square Edition (Isometrix Lighting + Design)
COMMENDED: The Newt in Somerset (Illuminationworks)
COMMENDED: TongLu Conrad (Beijing Pro Lighting Design)
Restaurant project of the year
WINNER: Ithaki Restaurant (ASlight)
COMMENDED: Endo at Rotunda (light.iQ)
Leisure project of the year
WINNER: Lang Jiu Ren He Cave (BPI)
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Lang Jiu Jin Zun Bao (BPI)
COMMENDED: Fleur Pavilia (Sirius Lighting Office)
COMMENDED: The Macallan Distillery and Visitor Experience (Speirs Major)
Retail project of the year
WINNER: Apple Store Fifth Avenue, New York (Foster + Partners)
COMMENDED: MyZeil Frankfurt (Arup Deutschland)
COMMENDED: Showroom Arca Guadalajara (Luz en Arquitectura)
Workplace project of the year
WINNER: Zurich Innovation Centre, Givaudan (lightsphere)
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Barings (Hoare Lea)
COMMENDED: Architecture Library, Chulalongkorn University (APLD)
Heritage and faith project of the year
WINNER: Tevilah Polanco (artec3 Studio)
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Hansom Lobby at St Pancras Renaissance Hotel (light.iQ)
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Relighting of Norwich Cathedral interior (Speirs Major)
Public realm and landscape project of the year
WINNER: Royal Wharf Pier | DHA Designs (see Light + Tech)
HIGHLY COMMENDED: The Musicon Path (Simon Panduro and Light Bureau)
COMMENDED: GTC Matrix (Skira)
COMMENDED: The National Memorial for Peace and Justice (Lam Partners)
Daylight project of the year
WINNER: Cityringen (Arup)
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Apple Store Fifth Avenue, New York (Foster + Partners)
COMMENDED: Mwabwindo School (Renfro Design Group)
Integration project of the year in association with iGuzzini
WINNER: Apple Store Fifth Avenue, New York (Foster + Partners)
HIGHLY COMMENDED: The Hub Check in Lounge (BPI)
COMMENDED: Future City Sales Centre (RDesign International Lighting, China)
SHORTLISTED: VoloPort Singapore (Arup Deutschland)
Light art project of the year
WINNER: Adobe Summit EMEA 2019 Interactive Cloud Installation (Cinimod Studio)
HIGHLY COMMENDED: The Grand Foyer, The Star, Sydney (Ramus)
COMMENDED: Fortum: Transition Tunnel, Espoo, Finland (Lighting Design Collective)
COMMENDED: Light installations for the Beethoven-Year 2020 (Schultze-Müller)
Low budget project of the year
WINNER: Rancho Valle de Bravo (Luz en Arquitectura)
COMMENDED: ‘Feelings’ Jewellery Exhibition by Nikos Koulis (Eleftheria Deko & Associates Lighting Design)
COMMENDED: Su Vertical nos retiene (Limarí Lighting Design)
Emerging practice in assocation with DiiA
Lighting design practice of the year in association with LITE
WINNER: Light Bureau
Architectural luminaire (interior)
WINNER: Stacko modular luminaire (Precision Lighting)
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Eyeconic range (Phos)
COMMENDED: Totem Voltra | Voltra Lighting
Architectural luminaire (exterior)
WINNER: 3D LED Flex 200 IP66 (Radiant Architectural Lighting)
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Xperi (Christian Flindt)
COMMENDED: V20S Optic (Lumino Lighting)
Supplier of the year
The Lighting Design Awards, in association with the IALD, the SLL, the ILP and Lighting magazine, were held at the London Hilton, Park Lane on 3 May