Celebrating Excellence: Highlights from the 50th IES Illumination Awards

by | Aug 4, 2023 | News

Award of Excellence - Cathedral Church of St James

Credit: Tom Arban Photography

Last night the the IES held its 50th Illumination Awards which recognizes individuals for professionalism, ingenuity, and originality in lighting design based on the individual merit of each entry. The judging system is entirely based on how well the lighting design meets the program criteria. The Illumination Awards program is not a competition.

Final judges were: John Delfino, Available Light; Paula Ziegenbein, Hartranft Lighting Design; Josh Gordon, Reveal Design Group; Stacie Dinwiddy, HLB Lighting Design. Jana Owens, Luminii, the IA Committee chair served as the Master of Ceremony and was helped by Megan Carroll, Lighting Services, Inc., the previous chair.

Acuity Brands served as the Title Sponsor of the IA Awards and the afterparty.   The event kicked off with a video presentation from Acuity.

The Illumination Award for Outdoor Lighting Design sponsored by Cooper Lighting Solutions.

Hallgrimskirkja Exterior Lighting

Photo Credit: Orn Erlendsson

Designers from Liska elf

Designers from Liska elf

  • Excellence: Hallgrimskirkja Exterior Lighting, Reykjavik, Iceland. Designers: Orn Erlendsson, Guojon L. Sigurosson, Katerina Blahutova—Lisa ehf.
    • We wrote about this job in the current issue of designing lighting global (dlg)
    • The lighting design comprises exterior lighting that grazes the façade, roof and tower with color, including options to use colder tones to offset the warm lighting of the interior and clock tower. Carefully planned placement of the light fixtures with considered positioning has enhanced the three-dimensional surface and added contrast to the beautifully flowing texture of the façade. Pharos Architectural Controls was specified for color control.
Award of Excellence - Novartis Pavillon - Zero-Energy Media Facade

Photo credit: art–Studio for Media Architectures, Lauurids Jensen

  • Excellence: Novartis Pavillon—Zero Energy Media Façade, Basel, Switzerland. Designers Valentin Spiess, Reto Weijatschek, Michael Stucki, Gesine Gennrich, Erik Eggeling, Iva Schussler, Oliver Heyerick—iart Studio for Media Architectures
    • A striking design by the team at iart Studio for Media Architectures incorporated 10,000 diamond-shaped solar modules with 30,000 LEDs that mirrored through a solar skin, ensuring the design consumed no more energy than it produced.


Award of Excellence - Cathedral Church of St James

Credit: Tom Arban Photography

Andrew Mackinnon Receives an Award of Excellence for the Cathedral Church of St. James

Andrew Mackinnon Receives an Award of Excellence for the Cathedral Church of St. James

Excellence: Cathedral Church of St. James.   Designers:  Andrew Mackinnon, Stephen Wolba—Gabriel Mackinnon

    • Gabriel Mackinnon’s design team masterfully integrated luminaires controlled over existing power lines, emphasizing the church’s historical significance (built in 1853) and ensuring community involvement in the process.

The Illumination Award for Interior Lighting Design sponsored by Edwin F. Guth.

Award of Excellence - SUMMIT One Vanderbilt

Photo credit: Arup

Arup Team receives an IA Award for Summit One Vanderbilt

Arup Team Receives Award of Excellence

  • Excellence: Summit One Vanderbilt, New York City.  Designers:  Brian Stacy, Chris Rush, Tanner Chee, Xena Petkanas, Joe Chapman, Cibele Romani, Carin de Beer—Arup
    • Mirrors with high reflectance in a white corridor were used to maximize the visual impace and immersion.  The mirrored experience awakens with color at sunset.  Tanner Chee stated that as an emerging professional, this was the first job he started and completed. He encouraged the audience to visit when in New York City.
Award of Excellence - Lingang Top Scientists Forum-Shanghai

LEOX design partnership

  • Excellence: Lingang Top Scientists Forum—Shanghai.  Designers:   Jason Yang, Anny Dai, Tina Wang, Fox Xu, Xinjie Cai, Janice Zhang—LEOX Design Partnership
Award of Excellence - NVIDIA Voyager Interior

Photo Credit: Jason O’Rear

  • Excellence: NVIDIA Voyager Interior, Santa Clara, CA.  Designers:  Brandon Thrasher, Vasudha Rathi, Venna Reserreccion, Prianka Girdharadas, Abraham Benguigui—HLB Lighting Design
    • The HLB Lighting Design team’s ingenious use of daylight harvesting complemented the numerous living walls inside the multi-level building.
Award of Distinction - Hallgrímskirkja Interior Lighting

Photo Credit: Orn Erlandsson

  • Distinction: Hallgrimskirkja Interior Lighting, Reykjavik, Iceland. Designers:  Orn Erlendsson, Guojon L. Sigurosson, Katerina Blahutova—Lisa ehf.
    • Lisa ehf’s design emphasized minimal structural interventions while offering a vibrant play of colors, especially with the tunable white spotlights illuminating the altar.
DAR Constitutional Hall Renovation

Photo Credit: Ron Blunt Architectural Photography & Joseph Romeo Photography

  • Special Citation: DAR Constitution Hall Renovation, Washington, DC. Designers: John Jacobsen, Joshua Grossman—Schuler Shook
Award of Citation - Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser

Photo Credit: Mike Puncher/Walt Disney Imagineering

Walt Disney Imagineering Receives Special Citation for Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser

Walt Disney Imagineering Receives Special Citation

  • Special Citation: STAR WARS: Galactic Starcruiser, Orlando. Designers: Josh Iscovich, Michael Carter, Joey Reynolds, Ashley Jenner, Paul Beasley, Ed Zeigler, Harrison Haug, Marihan Mehelba, Zara Bucci, Taylor Maurer, Jason Badger, Matt Mckim, Dennis Bayot, Kevin Phillips—Walt Disney Imagineering
    • This was a cool design, and no natural light entered the Starcruiser, which was completely redefined by the lighting. The design also supports circadian rhythms.

The 50th IES Illumination Awards were not merely a celebration of milestones, but a resounding tribute to the boundless creativity and commitment of lighting designers across the globe. The evening spotlighted exemplary projects that not only illuminated spaces but also redefined the very essence of design.