The winners of the LIT Lighting Design Awards 2023 have been unveiled, showcasing designs that not only redefine the present but also offer a glimpse into the future of cutting-edge lighting trends.
Switzerland, November 28, 2023 – The winners of the highly anticipatedLIT Lighting Design Awards 2023 have been unveiled, showcasing the brilliance of international lighting product designers and implementers. The 7th edition of the LIT Lighting Design Awards attracted over 800 submissions from 58 countries, with notable debuts from the Dominican Republic, Uruguay, and Venezuela. A distinguished panel of 45 professionals, including architects, interior designers, academics, and media representatives in the lighting industry, evaluated the entries, selecting those that exemplified outstanding creativity and innovation.
The Architectural Lighting Design of the Year 2023 award went to ERRELUCE with the lead designers Ryan Salim and Mitha Audina for their exceptional work on IronPlate Restaurant. Highlights include a dramatic entrance featuring a strategically placed zig-zag mini spotlight and a central kitchen illuminated by narrow-degree spotlights (2700K, CRI95) to authentically showcase the colors of cooking meat. Other notable mentions in the Architectural Lighting Design category included Ambient Lighting‘s 301 Hillsborough Street Lobby, dpa Lighting Consultants‘ Duck & Waffle – Edinburgh, Vermilion Zhuo Design Group’s Intercity BAR, L’Observatoire International‘s Tin Building by Jean-Georges, Kris Lin International Design‘s LIGHT PATIO, and Tiffany House Interior by Lichtvision Design GmbH.
The prestigious Lighting Product Design of the Year 2023 award was claimed by Hydrel for their FLAME Lighting Technique. FLAME is a unique lighting technique with two beams in one luminaire – a central beam and an outer beam that blends harmoniously. Other outstanding entries in the Lighting Product Design category included LDE – Light Design Exporlux‘s Luminarias NOON, Sean Eichelberger’s Voltik, Edison Price Lighting‘s Infinity: Sculpture in Light, Rousseau Design Ltd‘s Tempus, and Meteor Lighting‘s REV Flex.
In a new category introduced this year, Entertainment Lighting Design of the Year 2023, Eleftheria Deko & Associates claimed victory for the lighting design for the “Persephone Reconsiders Her Fate.” The dance performance seamlessly integrated light and projection to create an atmosphere representing the in-between world of the living and the underworld. Other notable entertainment lighting projects awarded include AMA-KO by Yoko Seyama Art & Scenography, THE METAROOM by Kabluka Light And Digital Sculptures, RESPIRAMOS – interactive light sculpture by Rizomatique, and Interwoven by Lawrence Liang Public Art.
The emerging talent categories saw Tokyo University of The Arts’ student Takatoku Nishi winning the Emerging Architectural Lighting Designer of the Year 2023 for Ripple, while Arash Abbaszadeh, a student of Hochschule Wismar, received the Emerging Lighting Product Designer of the Year 2023 for the enchanting “Moist Sparkle” light art installation.
Introduced in 2018, the Lifetime Achievement Award honored Roger Narboni for his exceptional contributions to landscape, urban, heritage, and architectural lighting over more than 35 years. A true pioneer, Narboni’s work has left an indelible mark across the globe.
DarkSky received the esteemed Spotlight Prize for its outstanding commitment to preserving the darkness of the sky. Recognized by the discerning jury, DarkSky International’s mission involves restoring the nighttime environment and protecting communities from the harmful effects of light pollution.
“The winning entries of the LIT Lighting Design Awards 2023 showcase extraordinary creativity, amplified by the addition of the Entertainment Lighting category. Additionally, this year, we introduced a ‘Sustainability Approach’ section, providing companies with a platform to showcase the eco-friendly aspects of their projects or products. The Gala in spring 2024 will not only honor outstanding talents but also serve as a networking hub for industry leaders and a gateway for emerging talents to step into the limelight and connect with industry luminaries,” commented Astrid Hébert, Director of the LIT Lighting Design Awards.
All winners will receive extensive global publicity over the next year and will be celebrated at a Gala in spring 2024, where they will receive their well-deserved trophies. To explore the full list of LIT Lighting Design Awards 2023 winners, please visit litawards.com/winners.
In a shining moment for the world of lighting design, DarkSky has emerged as the winner of the esteemed Spotlight Prize at this year’s LIT Lighting Design Awards 2023. Nominated by the discerning jury, DarkSky received the award for their outstanding commitment to a mission: preserving the darkness of the sky.
“We are honored to receive this recognition from the lighting design community, with whom we have much in common. Well-designed outdoor lighting and responsible, dark-sky friendly lighting are synonyms. Both are sustainable, energy-efficient, environmentally responsible and pleasing to the eye,” says Tom Reinert, President of DarkSky.
The Spotlight Prize was introduced in 2020 aiming to put the “spotlight” on an organization, association, project, or initiative carrying out outstanding work for its community. At the same time, this winner has to be a contributor to the Lighting industry. In the past years, the LIT Lighting Design Awards honored different projects including the LUCI Association and Women in Lighting.
Previously known as the International Dark Sky Association (IDA), DarkSky is a United States-based non-profit organization established in 1988 by founders David Crawford and Tim Hunter. The mission of the IDA is “to restore the nighttime environment and protect communities and wildlife from light pollution”.
The Birth of DarkSky
For one of the founders of DarkSky, Tim Hunter, observing the Milky Way was something natural that he could do through the trees surrounding his home. Gradually, he became aware that the stars started disappearing from urban and suburban areas due to increased light pollution.
In 1985, he received an unexpectedly large tax return. He decided to buy a piece of land in a dark-sky area for a large telescope. One thing led to another, and soon he was the owner of 20 acres of land 40 miles southeast of Tucson, Arizona, on a high grassland plateau at an elevation of 5,000 feet. This is how the Grasslands Observatory was born. During this time the Dark Sky Office at Kitt Peak National Observatory had been headed by Dr David Crawford. Hunter and Crawford met several times to discuss their concerns about lighting recommendations. What started off as a contentious discussion developed into friendship and a mutual goal of protecting night skies.
According to Hunter, light pollution is a relatively easy environmental problem to solve but no one is doing anything about it. He then suggested forming a non-profit organization devoted to combating light pollution.
What is light pollution?
Most of us are familiar with air pollution, water pollution, and soil pollution. But there is something else that can be a pollutant, namely light. While electric light at night can be a great thing, guiding us home, keeping us safe, and making our homes cozy, it also has another impact on the environment. Light pollution is the excessive or inappropriate use of outdoor artificial light. Furthermore, it is the human-made alteration of outdoor light levels that occur naturally.
It affects human health, wildlife behavior, and our ability to see stars. In this context, DarkSky educates the public and certifies parks and other places that have worked to reduce their light emissions.
When we over-light, fail to use timers or sensors, or use the wrong color of light, we can negatively affect so many parts of our world, including migratory birds, pollinators, and mammals. Research suggests that artificial light at night can negatively affect human health as well as increase the risk of depression, sleep disorders, obesity, and more. According to a recent paper, “There is an increasing number of research underlining the complexity of the correlation between light pollution and Alzheimer’s disease; however, additional studies to enhance the key tenets are required for a better understanding of this relationship.” Wasted light wastes money. Outdoor light emissions represent at least one percent of global energy use – contributing to the climate crisis. Globally we spend at least $50 billion in energy costs to produce light that escapes into space.
Components of light pollution include glare (excessive brightness that causes visual discomfort), sky glow (brightening of the night sky over inhabited areas), and light trespass (ligh falling where it is not needed). Unfortunately, light pollution is a side effect of industrial civilization. Fortunately, there’s a growing awareness that the ways we stave off the dark can actually have detrimental effects too. Most of the light pollution comes from cities, outdoor lights, streetlights, electronic advertising, parking lots, sports lighting, factories, greenhouses, gas production, and rural places.
Some of the ways to attempt to solve the problem of light pollution are following responsible lighting practices, passing dark sky-friendly legislation, and advancing scientific research in this field. These are also some of the practices that DarkSky has undertaken on their journey.
DarkSky – Who are they and what do they do?
DarkSky’s goal is to tackle these issues and create a better environment not only for the wildlife but also for us, humans.
Currently, DarkSky has more than 190,000 supporters, members, and advocates in more than 70 countries. They provide tools and resources for individuals, policymakers, and industry to reduce light pollution and promote responsible outdoor lighting that is healthy and functional.
“DarkSky looks forward to future opportunities to work with lighting designers and lighting manufacturers to develop and to deliver lighting solutions that restore the nighttime environment and protect wildlife and communities from the harmful effects of light pollution,” states Ruskin Hartley, CEO and Executive Director of DarkSky.
What made DarkSky stand out in comparison to the other nominees for the spotlight prize at the LIT Lighting Awards are some of their main practices. Their professional methods amongst others include education and advocacy efforts, building a strong sense of community through various events, and impacting the world by reducing light pollution. DarkSky tries to achieve this by certifying and conservating starry sky parks, communities, and other places around the world. Moreover, they certify commercial, industrial, and residential outdoor lighting that reduces light pollution.
The first method implemented to handle light pollution is certifying conserving the dark sky places. Currently, there are over 160,000 square kilometers of protected land and night skies in 22 countries on 6 continents, and the list grows every year. The night sky and the nocturnal environment are naturally and historically important resources worthy of conservation. Certified places are therefore required to use quality outdoor lighting, effective policies to reduce light pollution, and ongoing stewardship practices.
DarkSky has also been spreading the word about light pollution since 1988. They often organize conferences and trade shows that bring together a variety of policymakers, scientists, and government representatives amongst others to discuss night sky preservation. The DarkSky staff and volunteers also give talks, presentations, and exhibits at events such as the annual Light Fair, the European Symposium for the Protection of the Night Sky, and more.
Furthermore, DarkSky hosts an annual virtual conference each fall. It takes place over a 24-hour period, connection advocated and supporters of the dark sky movement for around the world. There is another event, called the International Dark Sky Week which will be held in April 2024. It aims to invite people from over the world to reconnect with he benefits of a dark, star-filled sky and learn how to reduce the negative impacts of light pollution on human, wildlife, and ecosystems.
One of the most important lessons that DarkSky teaches is adopting responsible means of lighting and illuminating spaces. It is no surprise that light brings huge benefits to modern society. It has revolutionized how we live and work outdoors. The modern society of the 21st century requires outdoor lighting for many reasons including safety and commerce. Therefore, DarkSky advances responsible outdoor lighting through policy solutions, public education, and scientific research. In this sense, responsible outdoor lighting allows people to see at night, conserves energy, and avoids harmful effects on wildlife. It is also useful, targeted, controlled, and warm-colored.
Last but not least, DarkSky‘s approved program provides objective, third-party certification for products, designs, and completed projects that minimize glare, reduce light trespass, and don’t pollute the night sky.
“DarkSky International strives for and promotes lighting practices that reduce the negative impacts of light pollution on wildlife, biodiversity, climate change, and human health. This recognition from the lighting design community beautifully illustrates the relationship between good lighting design and responsible dark sky-friendly lighting. Through responsible practices and innovative design we can combat the alarming trends of lighting pollution together,” concludes Hartley.
DarkSky’s receipt of the Spotlight Prize at the 2023 LIT Lighting Design Awards speaks volumes about their steadfast commitment to combat light pollution and champion responsible outdoor lighting practices. Their dedication to education, advocacy, and the certification of dark sky places positions them as leaders in the pursuit of sustainable and environmentally responsible lighting solutions. As DarkSky continues to light the way toward a harmonious coexistence of light and nature, this prestigious recognition underscores the crucial link between innovative lighting design and the promotion of responsible, dark-sky-friendly practices.
Text: Polya Pencheva
LIT Lighting Design Awards™ stands as a distinguished platform, acknowledging brilliance in lighting design across the globe. Celebrating innovation and creativity, LIT annually recognizes outstanding contributions to the field. This year, the Awards spotlight the recipient of the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award 2023, Roger Narboni, whose exceptional work has left an indelible mark on the world of lighting design.
Roger Narboni is not just a designer, he is a pioneer. Trained as an artist and an electronic engineer, Narboni has realized a number of landscape, urban, heritage, and architectural lightings. With more than 35 years of experience, he has worked across the globe including locations such as Paris, Jerusalem, Sao Paolo, and Hangzhou, China.
Narboni began working with light in 1981 after spending a few years traveling abroad and 3 years in New York. When he came back to Paris he wanted to use light as a way to bring interest together. For him, it was easier to work at the scale of public space so he started putting his ideas together.
In the late eighties, Narboni coined the term lighting designer in French and paved the way for the practice of lighting design in France. He used this word to convince people to pursue the field and to create urban spaces affecting the city’s nighttime atmosphere.
Not only did Narboni invent the field of light urbanism but he also came up with the concept of the lighting master plan methodology. The lighting master plan (LMP) is a discipline that describes the main aspects of urban lighting in a city.
The primary purpose of the lighting master plan is to define the aesthetic and functional lighting criteria, to increase the efficiency, and quality of city lighting, and finally to achieve a secure, comfortable, and well-structured and -lit environment. As a consequence, crafting a lighting master plan has benefits that include saving energy, avoiding light pollution, reducing maintenance costs, creating a unique character for the city, and more.
For Narboni, throughout the most densely populated cities in the world, there have been different policies to reduce carbon emissions. These include and are not restricted to reducing the number of cards in the cities and encouraging other types of transportation such as bicycles. Consequently, these urban developments encourage us to change the way we perceive public lighting in cities. This idea includes lighting for vehicles and street lighting during the night.
The luminous city established a relationship with public spaces and allows us to open up to new innovations and ways to change how we live. This is also another way according to Narboni to introduce lighting in our daily routine.
Later, in 1988, he founded Concepto, a studio whose heart lies in realizing innovative lighting designs that tackle societal issues. The studio works in planning and construction to foster the use of space at night and properly deal with nighttime, which represents 50% of our yearly time.
Moreover, the company is committed to reducing climate change and signed the Manifest of Lighting Designers Sustainable Lighting Projects.
In buildings, Concepto reveals materiality and volumes through plays of natural and artificial light and creates atmospheres that serve the architecture and the public. One of the main goals of the studio is to adopt an approach that is respectful of darkness. Furthermore, Concepto is moving forward with its commitment to reconciling light and darkness and intends to become a reference company when it comes to light ecology.
It is of utmost importance to note that Concepto has initiated and contributed to the development of multiple design strategies such as integrating the lighting component in multiple urban projects, staging city centers, foreshadowing urban mutations, defining nocturnal identity, valuing local cultural customs, developing dark infrastructures for its lighting design strategy, and more.
The company has always kept an eye on the quality of its projects and has honed the balance between expertise and curiosity in its practice. Additionally, some of the core values of the team are sharing and collective smarts as well as professional ethics and talent appreciation.
Hangzhou, Grand Canal, China
Located 200 kilometers South of Shanghai, the city of Hangzhou is crossed by a large network of canals. The Hangzhou government decided to transform the industrial image of the Grand Canal over a 10-kilometer span in the city center, by renovating not only its waterfronts but also initiating diurnal and nocturnal cruises and creating a nighttime landscape attracting visitors.
The aim of the Lighting Masterplan was to reveal the beauty of the site, its monumental nature, identity, characteristics, and the richness of its traditional architecture as well as of its landscape. The waterfront landscape has been unified and emphasized through a blue-green-toned light.
The new nighttime landscape has transformed the site for tourists’ enjoyment, but it has also shaped a pleasant, one-of-a-kind luminous atmosphere that locals fully enjoy as well. This project has received the 2nd International Prize “City People Light” presented by the LUCI association in 2009.
Sèvres, Facade of the National Ceramics Museum, France
Located on the domains of Saint Cloud Park, the National Ceramics Museum is among the 23 buildings designated Historical Monument of the Sèvres City of Ceramics. The city of Sèvres planned the illumination of the main facade of the museum to be part of the public lighting renovation Public-Private Partnership for the cities of Sèvres and Boulogne-Billancourt.
This lighting design has been conceived in reference and in reverence to ‘Sèvres blues’ that are characteristic of Sèvres ceramics. Completed in 2012, the lighting design plays an important role in the nocturnal landscape of the Seine riverfront and asserts its presence from far away.
Terrasson-Lavilledieu, Pont-Vieux (Old-Bridge), France
The Old Bridge is a 130-meter-long, arch-shaped work, which has been declared a historical monument. It underwent restoration in 2017 for which a lighting design project has been required. In this context, Concepto has worked together with the Ponsot ACMH office to finish this design.
The Pont Vieux (Old Bridge) is at the center of the exceptional nighttime landscape setting. It is located at the foot of a cliff and its fortifications, bordering woods, and the city center of abrasion-Villedieu in the Dordogne region. Because the bridge is simple, the studio had chosen to enliven the materiality through a play of lighting beams. A grazing light highlights the texture of the stone on the vertical axis. Crossed and inclined beams of light create a yellow, white, and amber light trail on the surface, whose vibration can be felt even from afar, and whose detail becomes legible from close-up.
Lighting Masterplan, Jerusalem, Israel
Israeli authorities in charge of Jerusalem’s development decided in 2010 on a Lighting Masterplan for the old town and its vicinity, in order to promote the cultural and touristic development of this pilgrimage town at night.
The plan aimed to define the role of the fortified wall in the future nighttime image and silhouette of the old town. Another goal was to imagine the greater landscape at nighttime, focusing on the luminous atmospheres of the streets as well as the architectural lighting of the main monuments.
The plan included a lighting strategy for the six teams of architects in charge of the studies of the renovation of the public spaces in the Old Town. Concepto supported the planning of the Jaffa Gate and the Omar Ibn El-Khattab plaza.
The master plan and Jaffa’s Door were both completed in 2012.
Although Concepto’s work in lighting design is exceptional, Narboni has done more outstanding work. He has written a large number of articles and is the author of many known books and science-fiction novels.
Academic Work and Publications
Narboni has been invited as a keynote speaker in congress, seminars, and conferences in many countries. In addition to this, he teaches Lighting Design Master classes and leads international professional workshops about light urbanism in France and abroad.
Narboni’s teaching career starts as early as 1999 and extends to current days. He was a teacher at Superior National School for Nature and Landscaping in Blois from 1999 until 2007 and in Versailles from 2003 to 2015. During the period between 2014 and 2018, he was a guest teacher in Russia and Italy where he taught various courses.
Since 2017 Narboni has been an associate lecturer on Light Urbanism at the WINGS University in Wismar, Germany, as part of the master’s degree in architectural Lighting Design with workshops in 2023 and 2024 in Bangkok, Thailands which have been in collaboration with the Royal University of Bangkok (KMUTT).
During the past three decades, Narboni has received multiple lighting awards including the Best Heritage Lighting Award for the Lumi-R night route in Rennes, France, the City People Light Award, for the Valenciennes Lighting Master Plan in France, the Architectural Lighting Award for Rion Antirion bridge in Greece, Nocturnal promenade « The metamorphosis » in Château de Chambord in the USA, and more.
From 1988 to the present day Narboni has partnered with the following lighting companies: Abel, Aubrilam Chrysalis, Philips Lighting,Ragni, Schreder, Selux, Targetti, Technilum, Thorn Zumtobel, and Valmont.
Besides this, Roger Narboni has been a member of different organizations. In 2017 he was a member of the Paris Professional Lighting Design Convention (PLDC) steering committee. This biannual Convention was created for the global lighting design market. Lighting designers, architects, researchers, universities, and clients use the PLDC as a platform to meet and learn about the latest developments in lighting design and discuss the future of the lighting profession.
Additionally, he has been an expert member of the French-Chinese association SFACS from 2016 to 2018 and a member of the editorial committee of the French Internet portal Lightzoom since 2015.
Another of his life achievements is that he is the founding chairman of the humanitarian association Lighting designers without boarders. It brings together over 50 volunteers from across the world from the lighting sector. The association aims to promote lighting design in humanitarian projects and help the establishment of the lighting design profession in countries where it does not exist by providing appropriate training. Furthermore, the goal of the establishment is to encourage local initiatives for a better environment at night and to develop innovative proposals that address the economic difficulties, lack of energy, and sustainability.
Not only is Roger Narboni a winner of prizer and the writer of books, but he is also an innovator. He was the expert responsible for the study and diagnostics of Lighting and nocturnal ambience in the districts for the Ministry of Integration and Fight agains Exclusion, Inter-ministeria Delegation for the City and Urban Social Development in 1995. He is also the person behind the first seminar of the ecology of light organised by AFE and the City of Lyon in 2002.
Roger Narboni‘s extraordinary journey in lighting design has earned him the distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2023 LIT Lighting Design Awards™, solidifying his status as a true luminary in the field. From coining the term “lighting designer” to pioneering the concept of lighting master plans, Narboni’s influence has been transformative. His commitment to sustainable lighting projects through Concepto, along with his dedication to education and humanitarian efforts, further showcases his multifaceted contributions to the world of light. As we celebrate Narboni’s outstanding achievements, it is evident that his impact continues to shape the future of lighting design worldwide.
Text: Polya Pencheva
In a remarkable gathering of lighting innovation, the LIT Lighting Design Awards took center stage at LEDforum.23 from August 16th to 18th, 2023, at the Tivoli Mofarrej Conference Hotel, in São Paulo, Brazil.
LEDforum is renowned for its high-quality lectures and technical expertise, attracting influential figures from the Brazilian and global lighting communities. This gathering serves as a critical platform for product launches, business collaborations, and extensive networking. The record-breaking attendance of 500 participants solidified LEDforum’s position as a must-attend event for lighting design enthusiasts.
Introducing regional winning projects, Astrid Hebert, the Program Director of LIT Lighting Design Awards, invited the winners on stage. Among the awarded companies were Mingrone Iluminação, Limarí Lighting Design, Artec Studio, Atelier Ten Lighting Design Collective, Stella Imp. e Exp. de Luminárias LTDA, OMEGA LIGHT, LEDVANCE GmbH. and Interlight Iluminação. These companies received recognition for innovation in lighting design and implementation.
“This event celebrates the spirit of innovation, dedication, and collaboration within the lighting design community. LEDforum.23 showcased a fusion of art, technology, and design that transcends boundaries, creating a brighter future for all,” commented Astrid Hebert.
As we celebrate the success of this remarkable event, we are already looking forward to the 2024 edition.
New jury members enhance the LIT Lighting Design Awards mission of acknowledging global lighting design excellence and nurturing innovation within the design community. Designers worldwide are urged to submit their work by the final deadline on October 22, 2023.
Zurich, Switzerland, September 28, 2023 – The LIT Lighting Design Awards, a globally recognized competition dedicated to honoring and promoting excellence in lighting design and innovation, proudly announces the addition of five distinguished industry leaders to its esteemed jury panel. The newly appointed jury members are:
Sooner Routhier, CEO of The Playground, is a two-time Parnelli Award winner, Live Design Achievement recipient, and a multi Top Dog award-winning Designer. Her work has graced major screens worldwide, including The AMA’s, The Ellen Show, and The Billboard Music Awards. In 2020, she co-founded EVEN, an organization dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion in the live events industry.
Andrea Siniscalco, an Assistant Professor at the Politecnico di Milano, is an expert with a rich academic background. In 2007, he obtained his Ph.D. with a thesis focused on optimizing production processes in the lighting sector. Since 2003, he has been deeply involved in research and teaching at the Laboratorio Luce of Politecnico di Milano.
Claudia Paz, Founder and Design Director of Claudia Paz Lighting Studio, established her independent studio in 2001, specializing in architectural, retail, and interactive lighting design. Her unique approach blends architecture, technology, and art, earning international recognition.
Yenchih Wang, President and Chief Designer of GD-Lighting Design, founded GD-Lighting Design in Hong Kong in 2004, a comprehensive lighting design company with a strong international presence. Under his leadership, the team has completed numerous well-known projects.
Kasper Hammer is a lighting designer and product director with extensive international experience in architectural and urban lighting design. Based in Denmark, Kasper now runs his own studio, offering creative and commercial direction in the high-end lighting industry and operating an architectural lighting design practice. He is actively involved in the field, serving as a board member of the Copenhagen Light Festival and delivering talks on lighting and design.
These new jury members will join the esteemed jury that already includes prominent names like LeRoy Bennett, Owner & Partner, Seven Design Works and Dakana Design, Roland Greil, Lighting Designer & Director, Roland Greil & 360 degree collective, Bahare Yaghar, Design Manager, MOMA International, Cosmo Wilson, President and Lighting Director, Cosmo Enterprises, Inc., Thiago Gaya, Founder of the LEDforum, Publisher of L+D Magazine, Craig A. Bernecker, Founder, The Lighting Education Institute, Professor, The New School, New York, Annie Block, Executive Editor, Interior Design Magazine, Amit Gupta, Founder & Editor-in-Chief, STIR, Waleed Fakousa, Director, CD+M Lighting Design Group & The Lighting Institute, Sally Storey Creative Director at John Cullen Lighting, Founding Director at Lighting Design International, and many other renowned experts, ensuring that the LIT Lighting Design Awards continue to recognize and celebrate the very best in lighting design worldwide.
Astrid Hebert, Program Director, expressed her pride in the growing design community and the involvement of industry leaders, stating, “We are proud to see the LIT Lighting Design Awards continue to attract big names in the lighting design field. This strong and diverse jury panel reflects the ever-expanding reach of our platform and its commitment to celebrating exceptional design, and we look forward to recognizing outstanding contributions in the upcoming awards.”
The final deadline for submissions to the LIT Lighting Design Awards is October 22, 2023. For more information about the LIT Lighting Design Awards and the esteemed jury members, please visit litawards.com.
Hero picture From top left: Sooner Routhier, The Playground, Orlando Marques, OMstudio Lighting, Yenchih Wang, GD-Lighting Design, Claudia Paz, Claudia Paz Lighting Studio, Andrea Siniscalco, Politecnico di Milano, Annie Block, Interior Design Magazine, Kasper Hammer, Studio Kasper Hammer, Waleed Fakousa, CD+M Lighting Design Group & The Lighting Institute.
In the world of lighting design, Roland Greil stands as a symbol of innovation and excellence. Hailing from Bavaria, his journey from lighting small club bands to collaborating with global music icons like Adele and The Rolling Stones is a testament to his unwavering passion.
As a pivotal member of the LIT Lighting Design Awards jury, Roland’s expertise extends far beyond the spotlight. His work with Woodroffe Bassett Design (WBD) has brought captivating co-lighting designs to major tours, like Rammstein’s stadium tour and Genesis’s Last Domino tour. Roland’s impact isn’t confined to music; he’s lent his creative touch to television productions like the “Eurovision Song Contest” and diverse theatrical events.
Roland’s holistic approach, stemming from his deep understanding of media servers and integration of video and lighting, has earned him numerous accolades. His lectures and the book “Show Lighting” underscore his commitment to sharing insights and methodologies with the next generation of lighting designers.
In this interview, Roland discusses his passion’s origins and how he ventured into entertainment lighting. His valuable lessons from the field, coupled with his creative philosophy, reveal a professional committed to humility and collaboration. Each project, a unique canvas, exemplifies his research-driven, visionary approach.
Roland’s remarkable portfolio and influence also highlight his role as a LIT Lighting Design Awards jury member. As he continues to sculpt immersive experiences, Roland’s legacy in lighting design remains unparalleled – a guiding light for aspiring designers worldwide.
Can you tell us about how your passion for light design started?
It all started very early in my life, even though with a little detour. As a small kid at the age of 8, I got attracted by sound engineers at live concerts and made the decision to become one later in my life as well. Fast forward over the years of my childhood and being a teenager while playing with all show-related technology on an amateur level, I more and more got drawn to the visual side of things, which finally became the stepping stone on an immersive journey into the world of lighting and visual design.
Why and how did you start work in the Entertainment Lighting industry?
After the key moment at a young age my dream has always been to work within the live entertainment industry. I have been blessed to get the opportunity to turn this dream into reality. It all started with self-built small lighting systems at my parent’s place and from there on evolved to work on local productions and for local vendors. From there on the productions got bigger, as well as the scope of my work more and more morphed into doing design work. The rest is as they say history.
What are some of the most valuable lessons you’ve learned from your vast and diverse experience? What do you find most challenging at times?
Quite honestly there are too many to list here. And every day teaches you new lessons. Possibly one of the biggest lessons has been to learn the human part of our business. The creative side obviously is the base for all our work, but how to sell it, how to communicate, as well as to stay a non-ego-driven person is the real key to success in the longevity of things. Furthermore, to understand and accept that in 98% of our work, it is never about us, as it is always about the artist, show, play or even architecture, that we light. They’re the stars and our work is “just” a supportive medium.
In terms of challenges, I love all of them, as they spice up our work and also motivate us to be a better person. I think some of the biggest challenges are still managing client’s expectations versus budget limitations and technical feasibility, as well as dealing with deadlines and tight schedules.
How do you approach a new project? Is there a philosophy you usually apply, or do you treat each new work as a blank canvas?
For sure there is a certain workflow or plan of attack, that is the baseline for every project. I think you need this to deliver the best possible result in the given time frames. That said, as every client and project is different, every project’s development is slightly different and must be treated individually as well. An important thing is, that my personal creative process always starts with research and a profound understanding of my client’s vision, needs and everything related. That leads to a purely creative step to define/ draw the image, that we want to achieve together before the first technical step comes into play, where you translate this vision into reality.
Genesis The Last Domino tour. Credit: Co Lighting Design and Lighting Director for WBD. Photo Credit: MHVogel
With such an incredible portfolio of shows and projects under your belt, some of them must have lingered on for longer. Is there a project you’re especially proud of that you can share with us?
I have been blessed to work on some outstanding projects with very special clients, artists and creatives. Honestly, I’m a bit proud of each and everyone regardless of their size. Possibly one of the recent ones that stick out for me personally is Genesis’s last tour, which I have been able to design together with my long-time friend Patrick Woodroffe, as this band has been always at the forefront within our industry and pushing boundaries for decades.
To share your work, you wrote a book called “Show Lighting”. Can you walk us through some of the topics you’ve covered in the book?
The book is mostly about workflows and how to approach a project to deliver the best possible result within all the restraints. Obviously, we also tried to cover helpful tools and basics to do so.
What have been your biggest sources of inspiration?
Life in general with all its aspects, like emotions, nature, art and basically all it involves. To just walk around in nature or in a city could trigger and spark so much inspiration and imagination.
Helene Fischer – Rausch Release. Credit: Lighting Design.
Are you working on something at the moment that you can tell us a bit about? What does the future hold for you?
Currently are busy times, as I’m currently working on a few new arena and stadium tours for great artists, as well as some very special one-off projects, like for instance a big and creatively ambitious ceremony in the Middle East.
What advice would you give to aspiring lighting designers who long to make an impact in the industry?
First of all, stay true to yourself at all times, seek inspiration everywhere you can and try to create your own bespoke design style/ language. And always stay a low-key, approachable human being. Never forget it is nearly never about yourself.
In the world of lighting design, few names resonate as powerfully as Sooner Rae Routhier. With an illustrious career adorned with accolades such as the Parnelli Award, Live Design Achievement Award, Live Production Summit Pinnacle Award, and multiple Top Dog honors, Sooner has established herself as a true luminary in the industry.
From captivating millions with her work on shows like Jimmy Fallon, The AMA’s, The Ellen Show, The Voice, and The Billboard Music Awards, to crafting unforgettable performance moments for renowned artists like Coldplay, Panic at the Disco, The Weeknd, and KISS, Sooner’s artistry knows no bounds. However, it is not just her exceptional talent that sets her apart. In 2020, when the live entertainment industry faced an unprecedented crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sooner took action. She co-founded EVEN—an organization dedicated to fostering diversity and inclusivity within the live events industry. Through outreach, training, mentorship, networking, and job placement, EVEN strives to pave the way for a more equitable future.
Can you tell us a bit about how your passion for light design started?
To be honest, I fell in love with scenic design and construction before lighting! When I was in elementary school, l performed in a summer stock theater. The theater where we performed was a bike ride away from my house and I would ride over to help the scenic designer build the sets for the musical. I LOVED the maker aspect of scenic design.
When I entered high school, I took up dance. However, I was a terrible dancer! My instructor, my original mentor Cheri Skurdall, gently pushed me into tech theatre. It was then that I fell in love with lighting for music, theater, and dance. I realized that I loved the feeling of operating lighting to music. The way it reacted with sound.
I saw my first large concert when I was a senior in high school – Smashing Pumpkins Melancholy and the Infinite Sadness Tour. It was then that I knew EXACTLY what I wanted to do. The colors, beats, effects, all of it…. The way the lighting affected our emotions while listening to the Pumpkins on stage was magical.
Coldplay – George Masek
Why and how did you start work in the Entertainment Lighting industry?
My parents recognized early on that I needed to attend university closer to home. I had dreams of attending Full Sail University to study concert lighting. However, they knew that I tended to get home sick easily – VERY ironic as I’m constantly traveling. They nudged me to a smaller school in Vermont called Johnson State College. It was there that Jan Herder, the tech director of the theater, had me operating the lighting console just about every day. In the fall of my freshmen year, a band came to play in the theater and rented additional lighting and audio support from a vendor hire in New Hampshire (New England Audio Tech). The lighting person that traveled with the system was named Brian Clark. He labeled his lighting console with gel color numbers instead of the typical “red,” “blue,” “green.” I was a big nerd about lighting and had studied all the gel swatch books. When I operated the console for him and he asked me to pull up the red fader, I would illuminate the fader labeled “R27.” He was shocked at my knowledge. I asked to tag along on the next few shows. I was hired 6 months later!
How do you approach a new project? Do you have a special philosophy or steady inspiration?
The process is different for every project. However, they almost always start out with research. I work hard to figure out the past, present, and future of an artist. Inspiration comes directly from the artist. I love to tailor a production to the current direction that the artist is moving in.
If all your projects wouldn’t speak for themselves, all the awards you’ve won surely would. How does it feel to be recognized in the industry?
Very weird to be honest. I think it’s ingrained in me to be behind the scenes so being recognized can be a bit uncomfortable. It’s also incredible! I used to read Lighting Dimensions magazine when I was a kid. The first time I was interviewed for it was a dream come true!
Muse – Todd Moffses
Working in different kinds of mediums such as live stages and television studios must come with its challenges, how do you adapt your techniques and designs to these different platforms?
We try to understand what the scope of the tour will be before we put pen to paper. If the tour includes festivals, promo, etc… we try to design elements that will fit in all the mediums. Doing this allows the artist to maintain a bit of the visual identity across all shows. For example, if an artist is beginning an album cycle they might start with television promo. If this is the case, we try to design elements that can be used in the TV setting and then transition onto a large concert stage by being altered slightly.
Although this might be a difficult question to answer, what is the project you’ve enjoyed working on the most so far? Which was The One?
I don’t have a project that is “The One.” I do have an experience however! When Coldplay released their album “Everyday Life,” they did so amongst some Roman ruins in Amman Jordan. We built a concert stage amongst the ruins in the center of the city. They performed a sunrise and sunset performance followed by a full-length concert. It was the most incredible experience to be surrounded by the ruins and the local culture. We would stop at call to prayer and watch as beautiful white birds were swooping throughout the valley in the city. It was the most stunning combination of music, nature, culture, and history.
Coldplay – Ralph Larmann
After the pandemic, you partnered up with fellow designers and created EVEN. Can you tell us more about the organization and its mission?
The founders of EVEN recognized that our industry was about to lose about 20% of its work force during the pandemic. EVEN was created to try to build the work force back in a more diverse manner. We are a team of industry professionals that recognized that there is a visibility problem with our backstage industry. We are behind the scenes by design. We make the magic happen so that the artist can shine brightly on stage! We developed a program with four distinct pillars: Community Engagement, Education, Mentorship, Paid Apprenticeship Placement. The program is a pipeline from awareness to first gig.
What are some of the major inspirations you apply to your work?
I’m inspired by just about everything! Nature, store displays, galleries, architecture, fashion. It really runs the gambit. I work with a very diverse group of artists from all different genres of music and entertainment. Inspiration for projects is just as diverse!
Which advice would you give to an aspiring lighting designer that would love to follow in on your steps?
There are so many things!!
One of the biggest things that I learned early on – thankfully – was how important it is to get finances in line. This is boring business stuff! Sorry! As freelancers, we aren’t covered by 401Ks and disability insurance. It’s important to get a plan together so that you’re covered if things get challenging. I find that a lot of younger designers struggle with this in the beginning of their careers and it really messes with them later down the line.
In line with the boring business stuff is contracting and insurance. It’s so so so so important to cover yourself with these things!
Also, the ever old cliché – “never stop learning.” I find that I learn from people of all ages, those younger AND older than me! Don’t turn someone away because they are younger or have less experience then you. Always take the meeting because you never know what you could learn!
Paramore – Todd Moffses
Do you think you should sit amongst the best Lighting Designers and Lighting Product designers of your generation?
The LIT Design Awards™ was established with the aim of acknowledging the exceptional work of talented lighting product designers and implementers from around the world. We firmly believe that lighting encompasses both artistic expression and scientific principles, making it a vital component of any design.
The LIT Awards was envisioned as a platform to recognize and honor outstanding achievements within the realms of lighting products, Architectural and Entertainment lighting designs.
LIT Lighting Design Awards is a partner of the LEDforum.23 held in São Paulo, Brazil, on the 16th and 18th of August.
LEDforum is known nationally and internationally for offering lectures and activities of high technology and knowledge level, conducted by great names in the Brazilian and international lighting universe. It presents an opportunity for launching lighting systems and Lighting products, generating new business and unbeatable networking opportunities.
The event brings together an audience of lighting designers, architects, product designers, urban planners, landscape designers, academics, developers, and providers of lighting solutions, coming from different regions of Brazil and Latin America.
The LIT Lighting Design Awards will be holding an Award Ceremony, introducing its regional winning projects and inviting winners on stage.
On Wednesday, 19th of April 2023, the annual Asia Pacific Design Center (APDC) Gala was held at the elegant Sofitel Foshan in China. Celebrating Design excellence, the Chinese winners of the 3C Awards programs – BLT Built Design Awards, LIV Hospitality Design Awards, SIT Furniture Design Awards and LIT Lighting Design Awards – have been awarded.
Among all winners, Fang Fang has honored for winning the LIT Lighting Design Awards “ Lighting Design of the Year 2019” for the Museum of International Design of China.
Zhike Wang and Xiaoshui Li from FOSHAN TOPWAY DESIGN, winner of the BLT Built Design Awards 2021 “Interior Design of the Year,” were called onto the stage.
Karl Yin received his “Product Design of the Year 2022” certificate for the BLT Built Design Awards with YiBrick.
Winner of the BLT Built Design Awards 2022 in “Architectural Design,” Eason Zhu, designer at Fununit Design, joined the celebration and received his certificate for “The Lost Garden.”
Discover the award-winning designs and designers of the APDC Gala by viewing all the photos at this link. Thanks to our partner APDC for organizing this spectacular event and honoring such talented architects and interior designers.
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