June 21, 2024   

Lighting Designs Shine at 2024 Lumen Awards Gala

2024 06 lumen awards.jpg

Above (L to R): Studio Atomic team, 8-foot tall dragonfly lady, Cooley Monato studio team

IESNYC celebrates excellence with 11 awarded projects at annual gala


The New York City Section of the Illuminating Engineering Society (IESNYC) announced the winners of the 2024 Lumen Awards at its 56th annual gala Thursday night. The event, held at Pier 60 in Chelsea Piers, drew lighting professionals from across the industry to celebrate excellence in design and innovation.

Above:  Asher Schoenberg, SDA (left), Zachary Pearson, Fisher Marantz Stone

Despite temperatures soaring above 90 degrees on Thursday, attendees donned their finest attire, with many embracing the event's all-white dress theme to mark the summer solstice. The heat may have impacted outdoor mingling, but the air-conditioned interior of Pier 60 provided a cool respite for networking and celebration.

This year's gala may have experienced a slight dip in attendance, with 85 tables set for dinner. As some guests opted to attend only the cocktail reception, foregoing the banquet and awards ceremony, it’s possible that attendance was similar to past years with fewer opting for the dinner and awards portion of the evening.

The IESNYC honored 11 projects in total, with two receiving special citations and nine earning merit awards. The winners showcased a range of architectural lighting design excellence. As the Hudson River provided a picturesque backdrop, the event reaffirmed its status as a premier gathering for the lighting design community, offering a platform for professionals to connect, celebrate achievements, and forge new relationships in the field.


Eleven Outstanding Lighting Projects Recognized

"The Lumen Awards highlight the brilliance and creativity within our field, bringing exceptional projects into the spotlight," said Christine Hope, IESNYC Board Member, Lumen Committee Chair, and Principal at Focus Lighting. "Each winning project showcases the transformative power of lighting design in enhancing architectural spaces and experiences."

This year, eleven lighting design firms received Lumen Awards in two categories: the Lumen Award of Merit and the Lumen Citation. These awards recognize projects that demonstrate outstanding and innovative use of lighting in architectural applications and art installations.

2024 Lumen Award Recipients:

"The Lumen Awards program not only celebrates individual achievement but also underscores the collaborative nature of lighting design," said Shoshanna Segal, President of IESNYC and Principal at Hartranft Lighting Design. "This year's awardees exemplify the innovative spirit and technical expertise that drive our industry forward."

The 2024 Lumen Award Jury, comprised of distinguished professionals in the lighting industry, rigorously evaluated all submissions. The jury included: Kalynn Amadio (Managing Principal at Goldstick Studio, Erin Devries (Partner and Associate at Tillotson Design Associates), Emile Dubuisson (Studio Dubuisson), Andrew Fastman (Senior Associate at Cuningham), Linda Laucirica (Senior Director, Global Design US and Canada at Marriott International), David Seok (Senior Lighting Designer and Studio Leader at The Lighting Practice) and Leela Shanker (Sustainability Director, Design Lab, WAP Sustainability).

"The Lumen Awards are a celebration of the best in lighting design, from permanent architectural applications to innovative art installations," said Christine Hope. "These projects exemplify the creative and technical excellence that our industry strives for."


CITATION for Urban Revitalization

The Omaha RiverFront, Omaha, NE
Atelier Ten

Designers: Joshua Spitzig, Chad Groshart, Chelsea Kreielsheimer, Lucas Wihlborg, Miranda Waldron, Gustavo Sanchez, Nick DeSordi, Shengzi Vivien Gu, and Gillian Wright

Photo: Buck Christensen, Ryan Fischer, Joshua Spitzig

A series of three parks that were once underutilized and overshadowed by safety concerns, has transformed into a model of urban revitalization. The lighting preserves the park’s daytime character after dark, with lighting treatments tailored to each area’s use and activity level.

Visitors are led through the parks by a series of colorful illuminated features that act as visual anchors. Lit with RGBW fixtures, the programming of the Skate Ribbon, Performance Pavilion, and iconic Farnam Pier is inspired by the colors of specific flowers and plants used in the park’s landscape design.

The lighting design focuses on safety, community interaction, and simplified maintenance. So numerous customized fixtures control glare and ensure visual comfort. Lighting was integrated into the parks’ expansive playgrounds and play structures to extend their accessibility after dark and encourage family engagement. The presence of a large flood plain presented a significant challenge, solved by fixtures with special warranties for flood resilience.

Light shapes the park into a safe, welcoming nighttime destination, fostering a lively community. It is now a beloved destination that welcomes diverse crowds both day and night.

  • Landscape Architect: OJB Nathan Elliott, Kyle Fiddelke, Scott Blons, and Andrew Miller
  • Architect: Gensler David Epstein, Michelle Nam and Seth Waldman
  • Pier Architect: Safdie Rabines Architects Ricardo Rabines and Eric Lindebak
  • Site Structures: adbc architecture Benjamin Corotis
  • Prime Consultant + Engineering: HDR Chris Koenig and Chris Cain
  • Client/Operator: Omaha Metropolitan Entertainment & Convention Authority Katie Bassett, Vice President of Parks


“The RiverFront project has transformed a formerly underutilized downtown area, turning it from a poorly used and crime-ridden space into a vibrant hub of activity. It's a testament to the power of urban renewal, creating a safer and more welcoming environment while fostering a sense of community.”

— Kalynn Amadio, 2024 Lumen Awards Jury


CITATION for Creative Use of Shadows

Touro University Flagship Campus Lobby at Times Square, New York, NY

Designers: Anita Jorgensen, Joe Ballweg, and Katherine Lindsay

Photo: Alexander Severin

Touro University’s new flagship campus in the heart of Times Square needed a bold, dignified presence. Inspired by a performance where a soloist danced within a followspot of shadow on an illuminated stage, the design utilizes continuous ribbons of 3500K light to stencil the university’s name in complete shadow against a brightly illuminated 27 ft–tall identity wall.

The process began by surveying the existing evening light levels, which ranged from 200 to 650 lx measured at the ground. To compete with the highly animated environment, static white LEDs face a matte-white wall, and the reflected light creates a luminous lobby. Delicate custom stand-offs disappear into the wall, doubling as wireways terminating at remote programmable drivers. Computer modeling and a series of mock-ups helped determine the optimal spacing for even illumination.

By employing a high contrast ratio of light and shadow, Touro’s identity stands out in counterpoint to the lively lighting that skins neighboring buildings. The campus’ visual identity is a distinctive new lighting feature to the area’s nightscape.

  • Architects: Michielli + Wyetzner Architects Frank Michielli, Michael Wyetzner, Jason Pogorzala
  • Owner: Touro University Alan Kadish, MD, President


“The Touro University Flagship Campus at Times Square stands out for its imaginative lighting design, reminding us that shadows are just as powerful as the light. In a neighborhood where everyone is competing to be bigger and brighter, the design team here draws our eyes towards the letters created by the contrasting darkness. This innovative approach not only sets it apart but also earns it the well-deserved Award of Citation for creative use of shadows.”

— David Seok, 2024 Lumen Awards Jury



% Arabica Union Station Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada

Designers: Alina Ainza, Pai Benchahiransak, and Yangyang Lu

Arabica Union Station Toronto
Photo: Erik Petschek

Situated in Toronto’s historic Union Station, % Arabica’s flagship store in Canada celebrates the founder’s passion for global coffee.

A dramatic floor-to-ceiling, faceted wall was inspired by glaciation and the surrounding terrain. In total, only four luminaire types illuminate the backdrop and entire café, echoing the brand’s minimalist aesthetic. A continuous, recessed linear slot of light outlines the perimeter, casting a soft wash of light and shadow while also illuminating the bulk coffee bags display.

Approaching the cafe, the crisp white geometric surfaces have a monolithic, welcoming glow juxtaposed against the black architectural storefront. Reflected ambient light from recessed downlights and linear accents heightens the contrast. The baristas and coffee machinery are illuminated by a backdrop of edge-lit floating shelves and white Corian counters lit from above.

Despite a crowded ceiling cavity, luminaires were precisely located to transform the space into an expansive, glowing oasis within the bustling train station.

  • Architect: Tacklebox Architecture, PLLC
  • Owner: % Arabica Canada, Accencis Group
  • Architectural Fabricator: digifabshop


“The % Arabica Union Station project in Toronto epitomizes clean and austere design, yet maintains a warm, inviting atmosphere. It celebrates minimalist aesthetics while transforming the space into an expansive, glowing oasis within the bustling train station. For this remarkable achievement, we proudly present the Award of Merit.”

— Andrew Fastman, 2024 Lumen Awards Jury


Award of MERIT

712 Fifth Avenue Atrium & Lobby, New York, NY

Designers: Suzan Tillotson, Shan Jiang, Chandni Azeez, and Mark Kubicki

712 Fifth Avenue Atrium & Lobby, New York, NY
Photo: Michael Moran/OTTO

The integration of lighting with the sculptural quality of glass creates a stunning image, inviting users in from the street and encouraging them to linger. The large central cove has a knife edge, which required careful blending of light strips of varying optics and aiming.

A three-sided cove behind the concierge pulls focus, while accent lights provide the necessary punch on the counter. A glowing light cove at the back wall, visible upon entry, draws visitors into the elevator lobby. Carefully integrated coves mark each elevator door threshold.

The adjacent light-filled atrium features a four-story, street-facing façade of original Lalique art glass. The glass has beautiful depth and texture, but it is clear, making illumination technically challenging. Linear uplights with narrow optics were carefully concealed in the façade. This approach subtly emphasizes the texture and sparkle of the glass without reflections.

The steel support structure of the interior balcony contains integrated spotlights to illuminate each frosted-glass bridge surface. Illuminating these translucent bridges and the four-story stone wall – all while minimizing visible sources – proved key to the success of this striking, visually comfortable environment.

  • Architects: Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates Hugh Trumbul, Gregory Mell, Stephen Fan, Victoria Dushku
  • Owner: Paramount Group Inc. Matthew Bautista, Vice President


“The sophistication of a minimal palette of limestone and glass implemented in a sinuous and sculptural way is brought to life by the thoughtfully integrated lighting that bends and flows with the new interior architecture; Rendering a warm and immersive experience in what is otherwise a landscape of hard materiality – so elegant!”

— Linda Laucirica, 2024 Lumen Awards Jury



Christ Church United Methodist, New York, NY

Designers: Suzan Tillotson and Amanda Arikol

Christ Church United Methodist
Photo: John Muggenborg

A custom family of decorative fixtures celebrates the soaring scale and glittering materiality of this historic sanctuary. The design of these 6 ft–tall bronze luminaires responds to original lanterns found in the smaller chapel.

The large-scale lanterns are the realization of a historic watercolor painting. The team honored that concept while integrating LED technology to provide four layers of individually addressable sources. Shielded lights within the top of the glowing fixture body provide soft uplight, revealing the spectacular gold leaf ceiling. A central downlight and four satellite components, containing carefully aimed accent lights, provide even downlighting. Concentric-ring louvers reduce luminaire brightness, redirecting focus to the architecture.

At the South Gallery columns, discreet accent lights uplight the night-sky mosaic ceiling. Custom pendants in the Transept bridge the Sanctuary and Chapel. These are replicas of original fixtures, designed with an added uplight to highlight the ceiling medallions. Refurbished lanterns in the side chapel include accent lights to provide light for speakers and add layers of architectural lighting.

A theatrical system, discreetly mounted in the balconies, softly illuminates the altarpiece and mosaics of the Sanctuary. Individually dimmed, they create a hierarchy of brightness among the intricately adorned architectural surfaces, further curating the experience.

  • Architect: Thomas A. Fenniman, Architect Thomas A. Fenniman, Kate Groob
  • Owner: Christ Church United Methodist


“This project truly stands out. The expertise demonstrated in custom-designing light fixtures to suit the precise requirements of this project is truly remarkable. The lighting design as a whole is completely transformative of the space, particularly with the captivating illumination of the ceiling. Achieving a great balance, the overall atmosphere embodies a remarkable fusion of theatrical and architectural elements.”

— Kalynn Amadio, 2024 Lumen Awards Jury



David Zwirner Office Headquarters, New York, NY

Designers: Artemis Papadatou, Jung Eun Ra-Lee, Anne Roca, and Sam Powers

David Zwirner Office Headquarters, New York, NY
Photo: Colby Edwards

Gallerist David Zwirner commissioned a renovation of 36,000 sqft of office space across two floors, creating a uniquely flexible workspace environment. Seamless architectural lighting meets the meticulously minimalist design language of the project.

The lighting provides general, soft and uniform illumination throughout all space typologies, while meeting desired light levels. Lenses, louvers, and small-scale apertures achieve optimal glare control to provide a visually comfortable environment. The focal point of the interior architecture is the end-to-end, floor-to-ceiling bookcases. Concealed, suspended linears wash this design element and amplify the depth of the large-scale open space. In the kitchen, the colorful bookshelves add energy.

The different ceiling types demanded various strategies. For the exposed tall ceilings, direct-indirect pendants provide task lighting. And in acoustical dropped ceilings, minimalist recessed downlights illuminate furniture and tables. Likewise, circulation spaces use small-aperture downlights for a quiet ceiling, while avoiding harsh direct lighting and shadows.

On the outdoor terrace, in view from the Highline, lush greenery is softly illuminated at night to create a cozy, visually enclosed environment. Catenary downlights evenly light the dining and working tables. Minimal lighting layers throughout still create versatile workspaces and amenities, to accommodate expected growth in staff over time.

  • Architects: Selldorf Architects Annabelle Selldorf, Oliver Link, Wells Megalli, Thomas Soldiviero, Kristen Newman, Yongwoo Park, Kahlil Lashley, Lori Weatherly, Isabel van der Linden, Reymond Jimenez
  • Owner: David Zwirner


“The Davids Zwirner HQ Office project showcases exceptional execution in lighting design. It's clean, beautifully lit, and maintains a seamless balance between natural and artificial light sources. The uniformity and consistency of illumination are remarkable, with a harmonious blend that effortlessly enhances the architecture of the space without making it about the lighting. This achievement is exemplary of masterful execution of basic lighting design principles.”

— David Seok, 2024 Lumen Awards Jury


Award of MERIT

Hotel AKA NoMad, New York, NY

Designers: Gabriele Negro, Paola Pietrantoni, Julieta Hernandez Quijas, and Ruyao Wei

Hotel AKA NoMad
Photo: Jeffrey Totaro

Positioned at a vibrant intersection within the dynamic NoMad district of New York City, Hotel AKA breathes new life into a historic, 1930s structure. The lighting design unfolds, seamlessly integrated into the minimalist architecture, with subtle influences from Japanese and Scandinavian traditions.

The interplay of light and shadow transitions from rich dark textures to carefully curated spotlighted moments. This chiaroscuro effect guides visitors from the entrance into the bar area, culminating in the reception lobby lounge. Visible from the exterior an illuminated floating shoji wall spans the space, lending a gentle and welcoming radiance. This shoji wall flows through the mezzanine restaurant, creating an intimate ambiance.

The backlit bar is marked by a towering chandelier, which accentuates the verticality of the double-height space. The chandelier’s layers of fluted and textured glass suffuse a warm glow throughout the room. To complement, oversized, Japanese-inspired pendants adorn the meeting tables.

Note the glint of light on the curving bronze stair. Several mock-ups ensured consistent lighting effects throughout, taking into account the varying ceiling heights within the same space. Diffused lighting and precise dimming soften the interior experience: a peaceful escape from the city’s energy.

  • Architects: Lissoni Architecture New York Stefano Giussani, Stephanie Rieger, Christine Napoli
  • Architect: Sawicki Tarella Architecture + Design Joseph Tarella, Edward Bowser
  • Owner: Korman Communities Larry Korman, Co-CEO
  • Owner’s Project Manager: Alex Henry
  • Client’s Representative: David Fields
  • Custom Chandelier Design: Axon Design Inc. Kacper Dolatowski
  • Electrical Engineer: Holstein White Inc.


“I was truly impressed by the Hotel Aka Nomad project; it's exceptionally clean and well-designed. The bar area, in particular, stands out with its elegant ambiance. The technical prowess and precise execution of the lighting design are evident throughout the space, making it a deserving recipient of the Award of Merit.”

— Emile Dubuisson, 2024 Lumen Awards Jury


Award of MERIT

I-74 Mississippi River Bridge, Bettendorf, IA, and Moline, IL

Designers: Faith Baum, Elizabeth Johnson, Oktay Akanpinar, and Joe Spinnato

I-74 Mississippi River Bridge, Bettendorf, IA, and Moline, IL
Photo: Lauren K. Davis, Brad Feinknopf

Dynamic uplighting brings the double–basket-handled arch structure to life at night. Color-changing luminaires focus on the bottom surfaces of the arches, creating an apex of color and light on this vital infrastructure project. Custom DMX controls were pre-programmed with dozens of celebratory scenes. They use slow movement and color shifts to provide visual interest without distracting drivers.

Extreme temperatures, harsh winters, a high floodplain, and the great distance from shore required robust luminaire and control-distribution specifications. Finishes mitigate corrosion, and fixtures were located to allow accessible maintenance and prevent vandalism. Narrow-optic floodlights focus on small sections of the arch for smooth dynamic effects. Focusing was a formidable challenge, performed over five nights from river barges.

Full cutoff luminaires on the pedestrian path and soft lighting at the overlook have made walking across the bridge a popular nighttime activity. The illuminated glass oculus invites respite. And the identity-element columns cleverly incorporate reflective blue highway sign material, which evenly distributes the illumination from a single source at the bottom of each column.

After 13 years of planning, fundraising, and design, the new signature bridge uses strategic dynamic lighting and thoughtful general illumination to create a safe and welcoming landmark.

  • Architects: Shive-Hattery Jennifer Radloff, Craig Erickson, Holly Reid, Dave Tallman
  • Owner: Iowa Department of Transportation


“The I-74 Mississippi River Bridge project is very impressive. Seeing the lights reflect in the water, creating an eye-like shape, was truly captivating. It's more than just a bridge; it's a stunning interplay of light and water, beautifully executed.”

— Linda Laucirica, 2024 Lumen Awards Jury


Award of MERIT

Khaite, New York, NY

Designers: Emily Monato, Aditi Govil, and Barbara da Costa

Photo: Eric Petschek, Aditi Govil

As the first standalone store for Khaite, this Downtown NYC location carried high expectations. The brand’s fresh and feminine online image starkly contrasts with the brutalist environment.

The design team was inspired by natural light, preserving scale and openness while creating intimate spaces using concealed electric sources. Lighting is applied sparingly: each interaction is curated to guide your eye through product and path. “Sunlight,” both natural and electric, filters through ceiling breaks. At the oculus, a fabric membrane admits daylight, while hiding mechanicals. LED strips above, boost illumination during overcast days.

Linear grazers within perimeter niches mimic the harsh cutoff of sunlight. As light enters, the textural quality of varied materials is revealed. Meanwhile, adjustable ceiling accent lights highlight product with slightly warmer color temperatures. Saturated-red fitting rooms stand out vividly. Concealed LEDs flanking the full-height mirrors and dropped ceiling provide diffused light.

Full-scale paper mock-ups used lighting fixture samples to create the desired lighting points, lines, and planes. Tunable-white LED sources shift in color and intensity, mimicking the sun over the course of the day. Further, the control system alters light and sound, allowing the store to function as a sales floor, runway, or event space.

  • Architects: Atmosphere Design & Architecture Louis Loria, Alfredo Berrios, Hsiao-Ching Pan
  • Owner: Khaite LLC
  • Concept Designer: Griffin Frazen and Louis Loria
  • Owner’s Representative: Hyland Studio Jessica Hyland
  • Contractor: Michilli Inc. Robert Soto, Jason Marion, Saray Rodriguez
  • AV Consultant: JDAV Design Alex Noyola, Darwin Narvaez


“The lighting design of KAHITE is exceptional, creating a captivating and immersive retail experience. It effectively blurs the lines between natural and artificial light, seamlessly blending them to enhance the ambiance. This execution not only adds a high-end feel but also aligns perfectly with the evolving landscape of retail. The meticulous attention to detail in the lighting design is evident, earning KAHITE the well-deserved Award of Merit.”

— Erin Devries, 2024 Lumen Awards Jury


Award of MERIT

Korean War Veterans Memorial, Washington, DC

Designers: Brian McIntyre and Laura Dillon

Korean War Veterans Memorial
Photo: Anice Hoachlander, Glenn Shrum

The lighting design for this memorial to “America’s Forgotten War” uses a deliberate composition of light and dark areas to reinforce the architect’s intent for a somber, contemplative atmosphere.

New in-grade LED uplights illuminate the trees lining the memorial plaza, providing ambient light that is reflected in the central circular pool. The new granite Wall of Remembrance required extensive mock-ups, which led to a system of rail-integrated LEDs that alternately uplight the casualties’ engraved names and downlight the adjacent path.

A central feature of the existing memorial is a field enclosing 19 stainless steel statues that depict soldiers who fought in the war. Remote drivers for ground-mounted accent lights are housed in existing fiberoptic illuminator vaults. Final fixture positioning was determined on-site to ensure that each statue’s face was lit, and that much of the illumination fell on the side of each statue facing the mural wall, enhancing their reflections in the polished granite surface.

The in-grade wallwashers illuminating the mural wall are positioned to limit eye-level reflected glare. Custom security bollards light a path alongside the field of statues. Their asymmetric distribution illuminates the width of the path, while their spacing satisfies both lighting and security requirements.

  • ARCHITECTS: Hartman Cox Architects
  • OWNER: Korean War Veterans Memorial Foundation


“The statues evoke a sense of solemnity and gravity, enhanced by their stainless-steel composition, contrast and the intensified shadows. The beautiful execution of up and downlighting results in a consistent glow on the ground during the night. It's undoubtedly deserving of the Award of Merit.”

— Andrew Fastman, 2024 Lumen Awards Jury


Award of MERIT

Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine, New York, NY

Designers: Tom Gallagher, Jesse Smith, Kane Hassebrock, Sara Aguirre, Wes Calkin, and Yosuke Hiraiwa

Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine
Photo: Alan Karchmer, Kevin Reeves

From the ashes of September 11, the new Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine arose. Using light, the church appears as solid as stone by day, yet glows “from the light of 10,000 candles” by night. An envelope of light between the thermal enclosure and a translucent stone rainscreen houses 1,200 LED modules in 2700K. Directed inward from the rainscreen structure, they utilize the thermal enclosure as a reflective surface. Shadowing from the rainscreen is thus minimized, as the stone glows from within.

This same envelope of light provides the base lighting within the nave through glazed surfaces in the dome and sidewalls. A warm interior glow at night celebrates the difference with cool daylighting. Discreet 3000K fixtures highlight architectural elements and iconography. The icons are precisely lit from the springline of the dome. Each fixture is individually controlled to create unique scenes that correspond to individual liturgical moments.

The scope of lighting design work includes exterior building-mounted lighting and all interior spaces. While the prominence of the project and numerous other issues presented challenges, this beacon of hope serves as a testament to the dedication and resilience of all those involved. The Church encourages visitors to “Let the light embrace you.”

  • Architects: Santiago Calatrava LLC, Koutsomitis Architects PC
  • Owner: The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, The Rev. Protopresbyter of the Ecumenical Throne, Andreas Vithoulkas
  • Owners Rep: Pete Karamitsanis
  • General Contractor: Skanska USA Inc.


“The Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine beautifully merges tradition and innovation through its captivating lighting design. Recognizing this remarkable transformation of sacred illumination, we proudly present it with the Award of Merit.”

— Andrew Fastman, 2024 Lumen Awards Jury