An intimate gathering of lighting designers, architects, and students gathered on October 24, 2006, in Wollman Hall at Parsons the New School for Design to celebrate the recipients of this year's A|L Light & Architecture Design Awards and partake in a discussion about the collaborative relationship between the professional practice of lighting design and architecture. Panelists included both lighting designers and architects involved in the winning projects and included: Derek Porter, Derek Porter Studio; Stephanie Goto, Goto Design Group; Jeff Gerwing, SmithGroup; Meejin Yoon, MY Studio; David Singer, Arc Light Design; Michael Cummings, Focus Lighting; and Josh Shelton, El Dorado Architects.
The evening's activities began with an award presentation and review of this year's projects. Derek Porter, who is also Director of the MFA Lighting Design program at Parsons, with whom the event is co-organized, served as panel moderator.
Porter began the discussion by asking what are the expectations when a lighting designer is hired? The participants agreed establishing a relationship of trust, and early collaboration was the key to success for any project. Additionally, it was acknowledged that lighting designers have a certain skill set, which they bring to a project. "There is a science involved," said Josh Shelton. "Lighting designers are immediately in the space." The technical knowledge lighting designers can offer architects is increasingly important. "The role of the lighting designer is becoming more defined as energy codes need to be addressed," stated David Singer. Michael Cummings suggested that one of the often, overlooked benefits of codes is that they push designers and manufacturers to innovate.
Stephanie Goto asked in turn how lighting designers feel about working with architects. "It is the ability to bounce ideas off one another," added Josh Shelton. And in a similar fashion the roundtable's goal is to foster lively and insightful dialogue between architecture and lighting professionals.