Congratulations to Alfred Borden, our new LIT Lifetime Achievement Recipient for 2019!

2019 LIT Lifetime Achievement Recipient Announcement

December 13, 2019

Alfred R. Borden, FIALD, CLD


Al Borden is a principal and the founder of The Lighting Practice. After years of designing temporary shows for a variety of theater groups and rock bands, Al founded ‘The Lighting Practice’. He opened the Philadelphia office in 1989 to create a place where like-minded designers could work in a collaborative environment dedicated to design excellence and client service. In 2018, Al spearheaded The Lighting Practice’s expansion to New York, becoming managing principal of TLP’s second location. Al was motivated to open the New York office to support the firm’s growth and provide a second home base for local and national clients.

Inspired by his desire to create lasting designs that will positively impact people for years to come, Al continues to use light as his medium to make a difference around the world. Throughout his 30+ year career, Al has collaborated with building owners, facilities managers, government agencies, local communities, and architect-led design teams on projects spanning a variety of market sectors. Al’s personal and professional mission is to create lighting solutions that meet clients’ needs, respect and highlight architectural forms, and transform the ordinary into extraordinary spaces people want to spend time in.


Empire State Building, New York, NY Client: Empire State Realty Trust Photographer: Photographs courtesy of ESRT


Trinity Centre at 111-115 Broadway, New York, NY Client: Capital Properties Photographer: Alan Schindler Photography

Al’s background in theatrical lighting taught him the importance of story and the powerful role light can play in how individuals experience an architectural space. He has taken on the major task of relighting many iconic buildings and landmarks, including the Empire State Building, Madison Square Garden, Philadelphia City Hall, Thomas Edison Memorial, and Trinity Centre. He was part of the project team that completely replaced all vertical circulation within the Statue of Liberty’s stone pedestal and created life-safety egress paths across the pedestal’s terreplein and through the walls of Fort Wood. In 2016, he designed the lighting system for the conversion of the historically landmarked Temple-Tifereth Israel into Case Western Reserve University’s Milton and Tamar Maltz Performing Arts Center. When the Empire State Building’s tower lighting became outdated, Al was tasked with changing the existing metal halide lighting system to color-changing LED. From arts and entertainment to hospitality to transportation environments and more, Al’s designs have provided comfort, safety, and breathtaking beauty to hundreds of buildings and landscapes.

Al’s inclusion in several authoritative lighting design organizations is a testament to these successful projects and his leadership in the field. A Fellow of the International Association of Lighting Designers, Al has served the IALD in a variety of capacities and made significant contributions to the organization’s growth and resources. His work as a former Board member and Director of Marketing was characterized by his deep understanding and experience of the needs of the lighting design community. As a practitioner of considerable standing, Al demonstrated an ability to initiate and support ideas that were of practical worth to the IALD’s members. He also played a highly supportive and active role in the advancement of the IALD’s international development. Other significant contributions to the Association were writing the first Standard IALD Contract templates, overhauling the IALD Awards program, and establishing a relationship with an international lighting magazine to represent the IALD.


The Milton and Tamar Maltz Performing Arts Center at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH Client: Case Western Reserve University Photography: Halkin | Mason Architectural Photography


In addition to his Fellowship with the IALD, Al became a Certified Lighting Designer in 2016.  At the time, he was one of 12 CLD-certified professionals in the world. The CLD program is the first ever evidence-based lighting design certification. The certification processes challenge a lighting professional to prove their professional knowledge and proficiency. Al is also a member of the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) and previously served as past President of its Philadelphia Section.

In addition to his active engagement with local, national and international lighting and architecture communities, Al has looked for ways to support his local community in Philadelphia. Since 2002, he has worked with ‘Lights for the Cure’ to illuminate various Philadelphia buildings in pink to raise awareness during October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Working with Joanne Calabria, former Vice President of Public Affairs at CBS 3 and visionary of the ‘Lights for the Cure’, Al helps building owners find the best way to turn their building facades pink expressing unity for the Susan G. Komen cause.


Trinity Centre at 111-115 Broadway, New York, NY Client: Capital Properties Photographer: Alan Schindler Photography


Understanding that lighting design is a service business, Al designs lighting not for self-aggrandizement, but to serve his clients’ needs and their businesses and allow the beautiful architecture to shine both day and night. He has applied this philosophy to hundreds of projects over the course of his career. His work does not exhibit a particular style, nor is it focused on a single project type. Al approaches each project with the same enthusiasm and the same goal to deliver a fresh, creative lighting solution that will give each client the best value for his or her lighting dollar.

Al’s 30-year legacy of lighting is woven into the fabric of buildings across the United States. He continues to be a role model for new designers, setting the standard for work ethic, creativity, and philanthropy in the field at large.

Congratulations to our 2019 Lifetime Achievement Recipient for his illustrious lighting design career and recognition by our panel of LIT Judges, we are all ecstatic to see what Al will do next!

Sagamore Sprit Distillery, Baltimore, MD Client: Sagamore Development Photography: Alan Karchmer


The Logan Philadelphia, Curio Collection by Hilton, Philadelphia, PA Client: Host Hotels & Resorts Photography: Andre Bordwin Studio


The Milton and Tamar Maltz Performing Arts Center at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH Client: Case Western Reserve University Photography: Halkin | Mason Architectural Photography