Thirty years doesn’t seem like a long time, but when you consider all that has occurred in architectural lighting design since this publication was launched in November 1986, it’s incredible how much has come to pass. This special 30th Anniversary issue presented an opportunity to think about lighting in a new way—in terms of the key moments that have contributed to shaping the contemporary practice of lighting design as we now know it.

On the following pages, you will find our attempt to look at all facets of the profession: design, manufacturing and business, technology and product developments, education, and research. This is not a list of a specific number of influential people, projects, or products. (That was in part how we approached the 25th Anniversary issue.) Instead, what you’ll find on the ensuing pages is a different way of looking at lighting by connecting ideas and trends that have weaved themselves across the years and through each generation of lighting practitioners and manufacturers.

Determining which “30 moments” to pick and how to order them was a challenge. The organization of this issue stems from the many conversations and meetings I’ve had with all of you over the past 13 years. The information, knowledge, and experiences that you have shared with me personally, and with our publication, has been critical to architectural lighting’s capacity to document the profession. architectural lighting and the lighting community have grown up in tandem.

Most importantly, this issue’s list is not meant to be an endpoint, but a starting point. As I set out on this project, I was reminded, as I was when we prepared our 25th Anniversary issue, of the complexity involved in attempting to map out lighting design’s significant moments. There is no single entity in the lighting community that serves as a historical repository for the profession’s many accomplishments. Now, having gone through the process of putting together two anniversary issues, I am more convinced than ever that one of the critical tasks for the members of the lighting community going forward is to document the industry’s important ideas as well as the people, projects, and technologies that have made those ideas possible. It’s time for the lighting community to build that repository and my challenge to all of you is this: Help architectural lighting continue this list. My goal is to expand it to include 100 moments, and I am eager to hear your thoughts on the “first draft” you’ll find in this issue. What would you add? What would you omit? How would you change the order?

Over the course of the next year, as we celebrate this latest anniversary, we will be connecting with you on a series of special projects as we continue to expand the list and do a deep dive on each moment. It’s not just critical for the practitioners of today but also for the next generation of lighting designers.

In my editor’s comment for the 25th Anniversary issue, “Celebrating Light,” I wrote: “I hoped you would spend some time with this issue and continue to provide your thoughts and opinions about who and what has influenced the profession, that it would be your homework in preparation for our 30th anniversary.” My wish five years later is the same, I hope you will spend an equal amount of time with this anniversary issue, as you did with it predecessor. So, have you done your homework? I look forward to hearing from you.

Elizabeth Donoff

Explore all 30 Moments in Lighting from our 30th Anniversary Issue here.