On March 3, the Illuminating Engineering Society New York City Section (IESNYC) announced the winners of its 10th annual student lighting competition during an award exhibit and reception in New York City. This year's competition, titled “Liminal Luminosity,” asked students to interpret how light “facilitates, defines, or bridges a point of transition, while exploring the spatial, psychological, physiological, and temporal realms of their chosen concepts.” The competition is open to students in New York area schools and is not limited to those enrolled only in lighting programs.

This year, the competition received one of its best showings. Sixty-five students from a diverse range of programs including environmental policy, product design, and electrical engineering submitted projects. The students represented seven schools: Parsons the New School for Design, the Fashion Institute of Technology, Columbia University, Pratt Institute, Fordham University, the New York School for Interior Design, and New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. Overall, the judges—a team of five professional architects and lighting designers—were impressed with the range of ideas expressed in the projects and the variety of materials used to represent light.

Three principal awards were given out. There also were two honorable mentions, one for craftsmanship and one for use of materials. First place went to J. Parkman Carter, a student enrolled in both the architecture and MFA Lighting Design programs at Parsons the New School for Design, for his project “Edge: Problems and Promise.” Presented as an internally illuminated box with different exterior treatments, the piece explores how light, in combination with edges, can lead the human eye to perceive different levels of darkness. As the first place winner, Carter received a $2,000 award and a trip to the 2010 Professional Lighting Designers' Association workshop in Alingsas, Sweden.

New York School of Interior Design student Suerrisa Blecher received second place for her project called “Cusp.” She explored the point of transition using two intersecting arcs outfitted with red and blue LEDs. When the arcs meet, the colors combine to create purple light. Blecher received a $1,000 prize and a trip to the GE Lighting & Electrical Institute at Nela Park in Cleveland.

The third place winner, Megan Pfeffer, also an MFA Lighting Design student at Parsons the New School for Design, explored the competition brief using psychological theories on luminality. Presented as a series of reflecting planes within an enclosure, perception of space transforms as light refracts off the different planar surfaces. Pferrer received a $500 award. As with the second place prize, Pfeffer also received a trip to the GE Lighting & Electrical Institute in Cleveland. For further information about the IESNYC student competition, go to iesnyc.org.