When ARCHITECTURAL LIGHTING magazine was launched in November 1986, there was no publication like it—a magazine focused solely on architectural lighting. The question at the time was: Would there be an audience to sustain it? Turns out there was then, has been for the past 25 years, and continues to be. It might have seemed to some like a risky endeavor, but it proved to be right on target. In fact, lighting has never been more prevalent in public discourse than it is now.
Our work on this anniversary issue started almost two years ago. Figuring out how best to commemorate an anniversary is not as easy as it might appear. There were many discussions with my colleagues, and many more with respected members of the lighting community, as to how we should approach this challenge editorially. My greatest concern was to strike the right balance when looking at the past, present, and future, and to do it in a way that would add something new to the conversation.
Then, there was the complexity of figuring out how to connect the new content created especially for this issue back to the magazine's rich archive, much of which is not online. (AL did not launch its website, archlighting.com, until 2004.) To address this problem, we have formatted a number of interviews that appeared in the magazine in the past so that they can be read in conjunction with the People section. These articles will now be accessible online for the first time. In time, we hope to be able to add other important content from years past to our website as well.
Over the past several months, there hasn't been a day that has gone by that I haven't looked at some back issue of the magazine and found something interesting. That's a testament to the commitment of the editors in whose footsteps I follow—Charles Linn, Wanda Jankowski, Craig DiLouie, Christina Trauthwein, and Emilie Sommerhoff. The editorial mission of ARCHITECTURAL LIGHTING has always been about promoting lighting and fostering dialogue, and to upholding the highest editorial standards while doing so. The magazine's content has always been diverse and far reaching, addressing the issues of the time and looking at the projects, the people, and the lighting technologies that make the greatest impact.
“At its core, ARCHITECTURAL LIGHTING's success is because of all of you, our readers. Because of that, I can't think of any better way to celebrate AL's 25th anniversary, and to celebrate light, than by celebrating you.”
As you will see when you flip through these pages, this issue departs from the magazine's normal structure. Instead of the usual series of departments and collection of lighting projects, here we focus on a series of essays and special sections, including a pull-out poster that diagrams the profession's lighting lineage. (Members of the architectural lighting design community can contribute names of firms and individuals, including their own. Email ARCHITECTURAL LIGHTING at ALemail@example.com.) To do all of this, we've reached out to many in the profession and beyond.
What we discovered during this process is that the gathering of all of this information has been as much an exercise in assembling a history of the lighting-design profession as it has been telling the history of AL. In many ways, the history of lighting design, especially as it has come into its own over the past 25 years, is also the history of this publication. And yet this anniversary issue is by no means an end point, but rather a beginning.
I hope you will spend some time with this issue. And, as we ask you on the poster of lighting's lineage, I hope you will all continue to provide your thoughts and opinions about who and what has influenced the profession. Consider it homework in preparation for our 30th anniversary.
At its core, ARCHITECTURAL LIGHTING'S success is because of all of you, our readers. Because of that, I can't think of any better way to celebrate AL'S 25th anniversary and to celebrate light, than by celebrating you.