The year has gotten off to a busy start. No sooner had we wrapped the Jan/Feb issue of Architectural Lighting than we began work on not one, but two future issues: the Annual Innovation Issue that you are reading now and the forthcoming Annual Product Issue that will be released at Lightfair. Producing two issues simultaneously, I’ve been struck by a significant contradiction. On the one hand, there has been rapid and monumental change in the lighting industry over the past several years; on the other hand, the lighting industry has not fundamentally changed that much. This dichotomy between continuity and transformation certainly keeps things interesting and it serves several purposes. It’s a good way to think about how we adapt when presented with new ideas, technologies, and processes. It’s also a good way to frame the thesis of this issue.
One of architectural lighting’s priorities has always been to represent the range of work occurring across the lighting community. We meet that challenge, I believe, by presenting as many voices as we can—some who are new to lighting, some who are just establishing themselves, and others who have maintained their relevance across the decades. Finding a balance between the past, the present, and the future—and how to reconcile progress with tradition—is the eternal quest of humanity. On the following pages, you’ll find a snapshot of the design community today and those working with light as their medium.
In a world that places great importance on the newest invention, there is something to be said for longevity and consistency in the face of change. One such example can be seen in our cover story about James Carpenter. For more than 40 years, Carpenter has found a way to bring together his interests in art, sculpture, architecture, and engineering. There is a continuity to his work, as he realizes his ideas about the interaction of glass and light in each successive project. Juggling the demands of four separate practices and the interdisciplinary nature of the work is no easy feat. And yet, Carpenter never ceases to push boundaries and harness the primal qualities of light.
Next, looking to the emerging generation of lighting designers, check out our feature on Gabe Guilliams—who leads the lighting design group at BuroHappold—and his scheme for Hillman Hall at Washington University in St. Louis. The complexity of the design for the building’s forum space and its intricate wood ceiling is representative of the level of detail that is required of lighting designers today.
The complexity in executing a lighting design is also seen at Cadillac House in New York, the subject of our In Focus article. Here, the team at Brian Orter Lighting Design used a variety of sources—old and new—to reflect the automaker’s history and transformation as a brand in its quest to appeal to a new audience.
For our Products article, Blaine Brownell looks at the way light is being incorporated into new materials and techniques by innovators who are not traditional members of the lighting community.
Our Technology article asks designers about the existing and forthcoming technologies that are impacting their day-to-day practices.
And finally, in our One-on-One interview, we speak with lighting designer Domingo Gonzalez, who reminds us about the importance of history as a guide for our work.
I also want to take this opportunity to share some exciting news with you. In February, AL received word that it is a finalist in four major categories for the Neal Awards, business-to-business journalism’s highest form of recognition. The categories are: Best Media Brand, Best Website, Best Single Issue (30th Anniversary Issue), and Best Commentary/Blog. At press time, we don’t know if we won, but we’ll let you know online.
While I have the luxury of being the public face of this publication, there is an entire team working behind the scenes, and it wouldn’t be possible to bring you AL without their hard work and talent. After all, collaboration is one of the hallmarks of innovation. •