Last month, the Farmani Group announced their recipients of the 2020 LIT Awards™. Headquartered in Los Angeles with 2 global offices in Budapest and Bangkok, the Farmani Group was founded in 1985 with the goal of discovering and promoting the world’s best photography, design, and architecture. In addition to LIT, they organize a number of awards throughout the year, including the International Design Awards (IDA), the DNA Paris Design Awards, and the International Photography Awards ™.

The Lit Awards™ were created in 2017 to honor lighting product designers and lighting implementers across the globe for their creativity and innovation. Believing that lighting is both an art and a science, the Farmani Group seeks to award those that show they can skillfully fuse the two. Every year, 5 awards are given out: Lifetime Achievement, Lighting Designer of the Year, Lighting Product Design of the Year, Emerging Lighting Designer of the Year, and Emerging Lighting Product Design of the Year.

Lifetime Achievement

Sally Storey

Both Sally Storey and Wout Van Bommel received Lifetime Achievement awards this year. The Design Director of both Lighting Design International and John Cullen Lighting, Storey earned this awards for her lengthy and successful career in lighting design. Storey founded Lighting Design International in 1986, assembling a first-rate team of professionals from a diverse range of backgrounds, including engineering, theatre design, and architecture.

In line with LIT’s view of lighting as an art and a science, Storey combines both design and technology to ensure that every aspect of her work is exemplary, from aesthetics to functionality and maintenance. Storey and her team take on a number of projects across different industries. 2 projects of note in 2020 include the Harrods Men’s Contemporary Department in London and the Four Seasons Avra Lounge in Athens.

Wout Van Bommel

Awarded for his success in lighting application research, Van Bommel currently serves as a lighting consultant. In his 50 years of lighting research and application, he has held an array of titles serving for 20 years as the Dutch Representative of the European Normalization Committee CEN TC 169 and for 4 years as the President of the International Lighting Commission, CIE. He is also currently a Consulting Professor at the Fudan University of Shanghai.

Throughout his career, Van Bommel has authored several books and over 150 papers. He also owns several patents. At the forefront of Van Bommel’s research is finding a balance of using light to improve the natural processes of living things without negatively impacting the environment.

Lighting Designer of the Year

Union Station Great Hall, Chicago Photo Credit:  CharterSills

CharterSills, an architectural lighting design firm based in Chicago, won the award for Lighting Designer of the Year for their work in the Union Station Great Hall Restoration. Erin Held led the lighting design. The $22-million restoration was prompted by the years of water damage and deterioration caused by the building’s aging skylight. With nearly 120,000 travelers passing through the Windy City’s Union Station every day, the goal was to make the space much more inviting without losing its historic integrity.

Wanting the revamped skylight to remain the station’s main focus, the CharterSills team sought to complement rather than distract from it. They accomplished this by installing new LED cove lights, restoring the station’s original chandeliers, balancing the hall’s light levels with column uplights and discreet downlights, and making all lighting dimmable and controllable. Today, the Chicago landmark offers a completely different and much brighter experience for Chicago residents and visitors.

Lighting Product Design of the Year

Dublin’s internationally recognized Niamh Barry received the Lighting Product Design of the Year award for her suspended light sculpture Artist’s Hand. Barry opened Niamh Barry Studio after graduating from the National College of Art and Design. She started off producing commissioned commercial work for restaurants and hotels before branching out to create her own art.

Working entirely by hand, Barry converts rapid line drawings into 3-dimensional lighting products. Artist’s Hand is no different, one sculpture in a series based on “the concept of drawing with bronze in midair.” Changing shape depending on the viewer’s perspective, Artist’s Hand uses bronze, glass, and LED to marry art and lighting.

Emerging Lighting Designer and Emerging Lighting Product Design

The Emerging Lighting Designer and Emerging Lighting Product Design awards go to entries designed by university students. This year, Swathi Madhi, a student at Politecnic Di Milano in Italy, won the Emerging Lighting Designer award for her conceptual project for an office in Stockholm. When designing the building’s interior lighting, Madhi drew inspiration from the curvature of the Northern lights. Madhi further pays tribute to these polar lights by only placing light sources above office goers, imitating the feeling of natural light.

Conceptual renderings by Swathi Madhi, winner of Emerging Lighting Designer Award.

Neeraj R. Jawale of the National Institute of Design in Gandhingar, India, was named the winner of the Emerging Lighting Product Design. HUE, a mood light lamp designed by him and Samriti Gosain, was inspired by the sun. Not only does it draw its shape from the sun, but it also gives the appearance of daylight, as if the sun is shining on every surface in the room. Recognizing the strong connection between lighting and mood, Jawale designed HUE so that the user can control with time of the day it imitates, with its ring acting as a touch panel.

Because the LIT 2019 winners’ reception was postponed due to the pandemic, the 2019 and 2020 winners will celebrate together sometime this year.

This article originally appeared in the February issue of designing lighting