June 26, 2023   

Lumen West 2023 Lights up the Stage

The 50th SoCal Illumination Awards cast their glow


Sara Schonour lumen west cropped.jpgLumen West 2023, a prestigious Southern California event honoring exceptional lighting design, took place on Saturday night at the Novo in L.A. Live. Approximately 400 lighting professionals attended the event organized by the Los Angeles and Orange County sections of the Illuminating Engineering Society. Alongside recognizing design excellence with the 50th rendition of the SoCal Illumination Awards, Lumen West also presented individual Section Service awards and announced the winners of the Russell Cole Memorial Student Lighting Design Competition.

Four projects, designed individually by Ann Kale Associates, Lighting Design Alliance, LPA Inc. and WSP, earned Awards of Excellence. Additionally, twenty other projects received Awards of Merit. Lighting Design Alliance and eSquared Lighting Design each went home with four awards.


Sara Schonour, the emcee for the evening, provided insightful commentary and clever insights while adeptly guiding attendees through the program. In a memorable moment, Schonour initially took the stage with a large rainbow umbrella, later using her microphone to wish everyone a happy Pride month and to encourage attendees to embrace equity and diversity. She also highlighted the challenges faced, stating that over 500 anti-LGBTQ pieces of legislation have been introduced since the last Lumen West event in 2022.  Schonour’s comments were met with applause and audible support from the audience.



Event organization and implementation

Mindy Cooper of Performance Lighting and Sabra Clark White of Designplan Lighting, supported by numerous lighting professionals including section Presidents Fitz FitzGerald (LA) and Victor Garcia (OC), worked behind the scenes in recent months exerting tireless efforts in organizing the show.  The event sold out forty 10-top tables each with an asking price of $5000.

The event's structure differed from previous years. After the initial cocktail hour, attendees were directed to the mezzanine level of the theater, causing attendees to stop drinking while minimizing crowd chatter – something that has interfered with past events. This created a bit of a disconnect for attendees since the only people within 40 feet of the stage were those on it.  This also meant that attendees had to remain seated for an extended period of one hour and forty-five minutes as Schonour guided attendees through the extensive, “longest ever” list of Lumen West award recipients.

The evening's other elements were filled with spirited camaraderie and celebration. The theater provided an elegant setting, featuring two distinct bar areas that promoted socializing and networking. A live band added to the festive atmosphere, providing entertainment during and after dinner as attendees mingled and lauded the Southern California lighting community.


Chip Israel, Patrick Quigley and Busta Rhymes

One particularly notable project of the evening was the Lighting Design Alliance's work on the impressive Jio World Centre project in India. Chip Israel, the firm's principal, discussed the immense scope of the 8.5 million square foot project, which involved over one million lighting fixtures and a decade of work. In a lighthearted moment, Israel expressed his gratitude to all lighting agents and manufacturers involved, jokingly stating, "I also want to thank probably every rep out there as well as every manufacturer because you probably all worked on this at one time or another and never got any spec credit because it was in India."

Among the notable awards presented was the Beacon Award, also known as the Lifetime Achievement Award, which went to Patrick Quigley. Like Israel, Quigley paid homage to one of his lighting design mentors, Ray Grenald. Quigley's family attended the ceremony and witnessed presenters laud the notable career of one of Southern California’s more accomplished lighting designers. A common theme emerged, highlighting Quigley's dedication to mentoring, supporting, and encouraging others in the lighting design profession. It was mentioned that working at his firm, Patrick B. Quigley + Associates (PBQA), meant attending PBQA University.

Coinciding with Lumen West, the BET Awards 2023 were taking place next door at the Microsoft Theater, where Busta Rhymes also received a Lifetime Achievement Award. Interestingly, and unlike Quigley, Rhymes somehow achieved his lifetime recognition without ever earning a SoCal Illumination Award.



Above:  David Komonosky holds the traveling trophy for the Los Angeles Section Service Award honoree


Section Service Awards

In addition to the project awards, Section Service Awards were presented to Dale Karjala (Orange County) and David Komonosky (Los Angeles). Komonosky, who displays the vanity license plate "RGBW" on his luxury car, shared anecdotes from his career, including his initial expectation of a less advanced lighting design community in Southern California after founding lighting agent sixteen5hundred in San Francisco. Komonosky soon discovered the region's impressive sophistication and the talented lighting professionals specializing in architectural lighting, theatrical lighting and TV/film production, making Southern California a one-of-a-kind hub of diverse expertise in the art and science of lighting design.

Congratulations to all of the SoCal Illumination Award winners and honorees. A special thank you to Acuity Brands for generously hosting inside.lighting staff at the event.


The winning projects


Awards of Excellence
Ann Kale Associates Steinmetz Hall, Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center
Lighting Design Alliance Jio World Centre
LPA Inc. West Hollywood Recreation Center
WSP - Formerly Studio K1 College of the Desert Central Campus Redevelopment



Awards of Merit
Banks Landl Lighting Design Twitch LAX
BRC Imagination Arts Talisker Distillery
Wolcott Architecture Alteryx
eSquared Lighting Design Techstyle
eSquared Lighting Design AMA Sushi
eSquared Lighting Design Culver Pointe
eSquared Lighting Design Getty View Residence
HLB Lighting Design Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television
John Levy Lighting Productions, Inc. AREA 15
Lighting Design Alliance Nusr-Et Steakhouse
Lighting Design Alliance Cantina Monarca
Lighting Design Alliance Culture Kings
LPA Inc. Tide Academy Interior
LPA Inc. Tide Academy Exterior
Oculus Light Studio CSULA Student Services Building
Oculus Light Studio Confidential Technology Company
P2S Inc. University of California, Riverside - Student Success Center
Pratt Lighting Design Porta Via Palm Desert
Sean O'Connor Lighting Confidential Tech Company
WSP - Formerly Studio K1 Wilshire Boulevard Temple