The IES Illumination Awards provide a unique opportunity for public recognition of professionalism, ingenuity and originality in lighting design based upon the individual merit of each entry judged against specific criteria. This program is not a competition.

The Illumination Award for Interior Lighting Design sponsored by Edwin F. Guth, the Illumination Award for Outdoor Lighting Design sponsored by Eaton, the Energy and Environmental Design Award sponsored by Osram Sylvania, and the Control Innovation Award sponsored by the Lighting Controls Association are parallel programs created to recognize outstanding lighting design. The projects that follow represent this year’s Final Award and Award of Merit recipients.


Award of Distinction

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Designers: Paul Marantz, Hank Forrest, Michael Hemmenway – Fisher Marantz Stone, Inc.

Photos: Hufton + Crow Photography, Fisher Marantz Stone

New York City’s third-largest transportation center, with more than 78,000 sq ft of multi-level retail and dining, serves as the gateway to lower Manhattan. The 24-hour destination reaches five stories below ground for connections to New Jersey PATH trains, 11 New York City subway lines and adjacent projects on the site. The lighting challenge was to have the arrival experience transcend the underground areas and be uplifting and celebratory, like Grand Central Station’s Main Concourse. Daylight provides abundant illumination as glazing spans between the entry building’s “ribs” from bottom to top. The interior’s concealed indirect lighting system complements the copious daylight and illuminates the structure after dark. At night, the concealed light sources highlight the smooth soaring forms, with uplights between each rib emphasizing the entry building’s architecture. The effect is a soft glowing lantern for the surrounding plaza.

Judges say..."World-class lighting and architecture."


Award of Excellence

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MUSEUM OF TOMORROW, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Designers: Mônica Lobo, Daniele Valle – LD Studio

Photos: Andrés Otero

The main goal was to emphasize the building’s organic forms, hindering the architecture as little as possible. Additionally, the daylight presence in exhibition areas, uncommon for a museum with self-lit exhibits, required inventiveness to achieve a unified result. The reflective properties of the building’s light-colored matte finishes softly diffuse light, highlighting the unusual merged horizontal and vertical planes, while avoiding design distortions. Precise integration between luminaires and architecture also minimizes spatial interference, which accentuates the building’s linearity and helps guide users. This enables the user to connect to the building, yet allows the exhibits to be perceived as focal points. The balance of light intensities between the architectural general lighting and the self-lit exhibits allows their hierarchy to be correctly interpreted. When viewed from the outside through the cutout planes, the illuminated internal surfaces also serve as façade lighting, helping create its nighttime identity.

Judges say..."The design uses architecture to create shadow."


Award of Excellence

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Designers: Nathan Thompson, Ya-hui Cheng – The Flaming Beacon Lighting Designers

Photos: Ya-Hui Cheng, Chuncheng Huang, Denniston International Architects & Planners

The design objectives associated with luxury hotels (ambience, branding, scale, cultural context, a guest-centric experience and light quality versus efficiency), along with the client’s desire for a “stand-out” identity, were not unusual. Most decorative fixtures were custom designed to ensure contextual relevance and palette consistency. Lighting ambience is fine-tuned to suit various occasions and activities: dramatic and welcoming arrival; relaxing breakfast; precisely lit fine dining; and casual, mellow late-night socializing. With challenging ceiling heights of 5-10 meters (16-32 ft), the lighting positions, distribution, contrast and balance are carefully arranged to emphasize the sense of architectural volumes as well as comfort at human scale. Materials, finishes and display details were also coordinated with the interior design team to ensure precise lighting distribution with very tight joinery detail integration.

Judges say..."The project shows care in detailing. Each space is treated individually, but continually from space to space makes everything flow."


Award of Excellence

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EDMUNDS.COM, Santa Monica, CA

Designers: Darrell Hawthorne, Ling Li – Architecture & Light

Photos: Benny Chan / Fotoworks

A digital-data behemoth serving the automotive industry requested a 21st-century, cutting edge, open, flexible workplace for a mobile workforce of 600 people in a rambling, 133,000-sq ft two-floor space. With the office cleaved by an atrium that essentially drives people apart, the design brief called for bringing staff together for better collaboration. Direct/indirect LED pendants achieve 40-50 footcandles on the workplane in the open office, while bathing vertical planes from wall slots creates luminosity and strategically placed downlights reinforce focus. Spaces throughout are linked by a curving LED cove serving as both wayfinding and a symbol of freeway speed, underscoring a culture that encourages everyone to “keep moving.” With the exception of 12 specialty incandescent lamps, all light sources are high-CRI LEDs with CCTs from 3000K to 5700K to augment the desired lighting effect. The resulting space, with its iconic car-culture references, is glare-free, with contrast ratios of less than 2:1 in conference rooms and the open office, and an overall LPD of .72 watts per sq ft.

Judges say..."Integration of lighting into the architecture theme is harmonious."


Award of Excellence

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BAHÁ’Í TEMPLE OF SOUTH AMERICA, Peñalolén, Santiago, Chile

Designers: Pascal Chautard, Carolina Roese, Francisca Nicoletti, Raul Osses – Limarí Lighting Design

Photos: Aryeh Kornfeld, Justin Huang Ford

The “flower of light” design, composed of nine luminous petals, was created by covering the building’s steel structure with translucent white marble on the interior and cast glass cladding on the exterior. Interior lighting generates a warm, monastic, intimate ambience for meditation and prayer, and enables reading when necessary, without adding new elements to the pure architectural components. Indirect illumination from small, ellipsoidal distribution spotlights behind mezzanine-level benches grazes the marble petals and highlights their complex shape. The only visible “technical” fixtures—uplights in custom bronze housings located on bronze profiles connecting the windows to the petals—illuminate the top of the petals and create an exterior effect that shows the transparency of the materials. Visible decorative fixtures include first-level floor lamps that resemble candles to complement indirect lighting and restore human scale in the 30-meter (98-ft) high space. A control system enables each group of luminaires to be adjusted to support different atmospheres for events or celebrations.

Judges say...“The lighting is so well done that it comes off as simple, when it’s anything but simple.”

Illumination Award for Interior Lighting Design

Citation for Meeting the Technical Challenge of Transforming a Historic Building into a Performance Space.

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Designers: Alfred R. Borden, Emad Hasan, David J. Seok, Kevin Rorabaugh – The Lighting Practice, Inc.

Photos: Halkin | Mason Photography, Gregg McGillivray

The main sanctuary of this landmark synagogue is now a performing arts center used for musical ensembles, academic functions and worship services. The design team was tasked with integrating architectural lighting and controls into the domed, seven sided structure, while respecting the historic nature of the building. In the 85-ft high performance hall, downlighting is provided by a custom 10-ft (diameter) central “chandelier” on a lowering device, carrying 28 shielded LED luminaires and controlled by a DMX512 theatrical dimming system. In the lobby, historic luminaires were refurbished and retrofitted with 2700K LED panels and diffusing lenses to create a soft and even distribution. The luminaires were also lowered 6 in. to reflect light across the terra-cotta ceiling, and an LED PAR lamp was added to the center for downlighting.

Illumination Award for Interior Lighting Design

Citation for Lighting Respectful of Materiality & Architectural Theme of the Atrium

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TOKYU PLAZA GINZA, Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo

Designers: Masanobu Takeishi – Illumination of City Environment, Yoshihiko Mamiya – infix design, inc., Taro Nakamoto – Nikken Sekkei Ltd.

Photos: Nacása & Partners Inc.

The project encompasses common spaces, particularly corridors, in a new, large-scale shopping and dining complex. Techniques of traditional Japanese craft were applied to the interior design, and the all-LED lighting is intended to bring out the beauty and tangible qualities of each material. The floor located two levels below ground connects to an underground passageway and serves as the main entrance, thus requiring a visually stunning and bright atmosphere. In the fashion-floor corridors, securing minimum-required light levels involved consideration of the light coming from each tenant. To preserve the night view from the large sixth-floor atrium, fixtures were installed near the floor surface to minimize light levels. A dimmer system is programmed to run various scenes according to the time of day, and a manual scene setting switch is used to make adjustments based on weather, season and events.

Judges say..."The lighting shows respect of materiality; a unified relationship."

Illumination Award for Interior Lighting Design

Citation for Attention to Detailing & Sensitivity to the Architecture

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Designers: Yanzhi Wang, Hui Ren, Tim Cheng, Xin Qi – Grand Sight Design International Limited

Photos: Zhi Xia

Unlike traditional hotels, this high-end, five-star property stresses layers of lighting in a space. Consideration of the façade’s visual effect prompted the number of downlights under the ceiling to be reduced and replaced by a large amount of indirect light. Furniture complements the lighting, with the reflection and refraction of light on materials utilized to create the illumination and color of the entire space. Alongside necessary highlighted horizontal lighting, the hotel presents a theatric visual experience. The team studied and calculated details to design many metal, wooden, stone and special-material structures and nodes for concealing lamps, and selected the best solution through testing. Consulting with interior designers about installation, maintenance and hiding of electrical equipment also ensured the simplicity and beauty of the finished project.

Judges say..."The lighting is well integrated into the architecture."

Illumination Award for Interior Lighting Design

Citation for Internal Backlighting of Sculptural Elements

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Designers: Patrick McCollough, Dave McCarroll – KGM Architectural Lighting

Photos: Westfield Design

The airport terminal was renovated to improve the passenger experience, create a boutique feel, meet energy requirements and evoke the notion of “L.A. in Motion” using shapes and fixtures that add interest and reflect a modern, if not futurist, aesthetic. The most critical lighting choice was to allow as much daylight into the terminal as possible without being offensive to visitors. The massive metal “wave” structures are internally illuminated using a rhythm of linear LED wall grazers. The fixtures rest on the screens’ structural frame and graze the interior acrylic panels, highlighting the metal panels’ irregular pattern. The acrylic transparency screens out excess natural light during the day, and creates a dynamic lighting element in the evening. Underneath an illuminated staircase is a cozy lounge space with furniture that echoes the shapes of pendant light fixtures above.

Judges say..."The design is not overpowering, but a thoughtful, balanced incorporation of daylight."

Illumination Award for Outdoor Lighting Design

Award of Excellence

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Designers: Chiming Lin, Xin Tian, Ming Zhong, Yinting Huang, Tao Qu, Yaru Wang, Jinke Qian, Jianxin Li – Brandston Partnership Inc.

Photos: Fang Jia, Ming Zhong

The “Rising Ray” concept makes a bold statement and encourages potential Olympians to strive for success. The symbolic twin towers with their sophisticated façade design appear as a weaving ray toward the infinite sky. Sky beams have been added for special occasions to create an iconic and timeless image. In contrast, the sculptural base is lit with simple floodlights, forming a “still” base for the vibrant towers. Some 700,000 small LED fixtures—integrated with the perforated metal panel façade—are individually controlled to create the kinetic effects. A special channel housing both LEDs and wiring can be easily mounted onto the perforation so there is no visual obstacle. In order to control the enormous number of LED fixtures, an intelligent control system using an Internet platform was installed to achieve the seamless lighting movement, energy savings and real-time monitoring. As a result, the cost for electricity is only $120 per night during normal operation. Nearby, flood lighting on the structural rings of a footbridge guides people into the venue. Finally, an adjacent administration building with special façade patterns is backlit to create an image of the planet to echo the Olympic spirit.

Judges say..."It's a powerful and sensitive application of light on a façade.

Illumination Award for Outdoor Lighting Design

Award of Excellence

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Designers: Nick Puopolo – Salex Inc., Paul Boken – Mulvey & Banani

Photos: Light Monkey Photography

After winning a global bid, a consortium of lighting specialists, engineering and design firms has delivered the first new lighting and control system in 20 years for the landmark waterfalls. The team was challenged to deliver the project within a $4 million budget. Using online mapping technology and AGI simulation, designers spent more than a year prototyping a new LED concept, and another year testing the technology, including on-site and at remote airstrip locations. All testing had to be completed in secret so as not to alert the public. The new LED lighting and control system boosts lighting levels up to 14 times higher than the previous Xenon system. Using 1,400 individual luminaires with a 2.5-deg beam arranged in RGBA clusters across 350 zones of control increases the color palette spotlighted onto the water to more than 16 million options. Scenarios range from ocean waves to rushing lava. The LED design reduces energy output by 60-80 percent and is projected to last 25 years—a significant leap from the previously installed lamps’ life span of 1,900 hours.

Illumination Award for Outdoor Lighting Design

Citation for Applying Restraint While Balancing the Emotional Aspects of a War Memorial

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Designers: Mirjam Roos, Emrah Baki Ulas, Simm Steel – Steensen Varming

Photos: Rohan Venn Photography

The thoughtful design of this monument applies darkness equally to light, creating a place for exploration as well as quiet reflection, and allowing visitors to take in the solemnity of the space. The lighting concept enhances the history, heritage and architectural form of the building, but also embraces the night sky and surrounding environment. Concealed sources allow light to radiate from the inside out, coming through stained glass windows, the gate and other openings. The importance of the dome is intensified by lighting—precisely aimed and with careful beam control—that enhances shape and material through striking contrast at night. The inner courtyard houses the Roll of Honour featuring engraved names of the fallen. Names projected in light on the façade create a personal and intimate connection for visitors who have sent loved ones to war. The Eternal Flame’s warm glow is balanced by sensitively adjusted lighting levels, bathing the courtyard in a soft uniform glow from within cloistered walkways.

Judges say..."The Lighting is soft and not overstated."

Illumination Award for Outdoor Lighting Design

Citation for Artful Illumination of a Unique Glass Envelope Responsive to the Architecture.

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MOCAPE SHENZHEN, Shenzhen, China

Designers: Wolf D. Prix , Markus Prossnigg, Quirin Krumbholz, Jörg Hugo, Mona Bayr – COOP HIMMELB(L)AU – Wolf D. Prix & Partner ZT GmbH, Wilfried Kramb, Klaus Adolph – agLicht Yanzhi Wang, Hui Ren, Tim Cheng – Grand Sight Design International Limited

Photos: He Shu

The project consists of two museums that are independent in function yet skillfully combined. The architectural surface consists of glass, punched plate and stone, interconnected by a steel structural system to create an architectural expression of discovery. Due to the building’s unusual shape, a two-dimensional drawing could not express the design in a complete and precise way. Therefore, the team used BIM for lighting design and made revisions in real time by 3D VR , updating the design in concert with updates to the architecture and curtain wall design. Ultimately, the skillful installation and hiding of lamps led to evenly distributed interior lighting that adds to the mystery and arouses the visitor’s desire for exploration.

Illumination Award for Outdoor Lighting Design

Citation for Coordinated Large-Scale Integration of Dynamic Lighting

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Designers: Xin Yingjie, Deng Yunshan, Li Yutian, Xie Yuping – Shanghai Grandar Light Art & Technology Co., Ltd.

Photos: Zhang Jun

The sports center’s design is simple and gentle—a nod to the ocean culture of Fuzhou City. The main stadium features conch lines; the gymnasium resembles a dolphin emerging from the sea; and the tennis and swimming center design calls to mind seagulls. All luminaires match the architecture, and scenes can be programmed so the façade represents golden sunlight emerging from the clouds, for example, or a new moon rising from the sea horizon. With its advanced controls, lighting for the four individual stadiums can be coordinated or run separately.

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