This issue represents an exciting milestone for ARCHITECTURAL LIGHTING; it is our 5th Annual Light & Architecture Design Awards. The program was started in 2004 because the editorial team believed there was the need for an additional outlet to showcase outstanding examples of architectural lighting design. In establishing the program, the editors wanted to create something that would appeal to architects and lighting designers alike. Our instincts were right. In five years, the number of project entries each year has steadily increased, as has the program's appeal to an international audience.

The 12 projects that grace this year's pages join a select group of works that have been scrutinized and debated by juries of esteemed architects and lighting designers. The caliber of projects entered this year was by far of the highest level the program has ever received, and required a full two days of review and discussion. What always amazes me as I look through the projects, after the jury has made their selection, is how effortless all the designs appear to be and the extraordinary amount of skill that is required to implement them. In marrying aesthetic and technical requirements, the projects achieve a level of craftsmanship.

In his new book, The Craftsman, Richard Sennett argues that craftsmanship is more than just “skilled manual labor.” Rather, it applies just as equally to the violinmaker as it does the computer programmer, the doctor, the artist, even the parent and citizen. Craftsmanship for Sennett represents “the desire to do a job well for its own sake,” and the ability to combine skill with commitment and judgment. Sennett writes, “The craftsman represents the special human condition of being engaged.” This distinguishing feature of the craftsman certainly is the case with this year's A|L Light & Architecture Design Award winners. Without the level of engagement these projects exhibit in unifying space and form with light, the projects at hand simply would be ordinary. Instead, the architects and lighting designers behind this year's work have created something extraordinary, a feat that becomes even more of an accomplishment against the backdrop of stricter energy codes, rising costs, and unstable markets. There will be plenty of time in the next several months to talk about the economy and the impact of upcoming political changes (see “Uncharted Territories,” p. 80). For the moment, though, I prefer to celebrate amazing work. Craftsmanship, like good design, is not something that ever goes out of style.


SEPT/OCT 2008 EXCHANGE QUESTION With the slowdown in the current U.S. economy, what effect is it having on your firm/company's workflow and projected workflow for the next 12 to 18 months? To be considered for print, responses are requested by August 26, 2008.