For the seventh consecutive year, New York area lighting design, architecture, interior design, engineering, and art students were asked to explore light's potential as an artistic medium. The 2007 Annual Illuminating Engineering Society New York Section (IESNY) Student Competition garnered 47 entries, which were displayed for three days at Lotus Space, a gallery venue, in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood. The theme of this year's competition—Immersive Landscapes—asked students to envisage an “immersive sensory experience” through the creation of a three-dimensional space.

First place went to Chung-Jung Liao an MFA candidate in the lighting program at Parsons. His project, Mandala in Light, used salt distributed through funnels to create Mandala patterns—“a Tibetan Buddhist representation of the cosmos characterized by a concentric configuration of geometric shapes.” Lit from below, depending of the density of distribution, the salt crystals emit different color values. Patterns can be redrawn without limit. Liao received a $3,000 cash prize and all expense paid trip to the European Lighting Design Workshop and Conference in Alingsas, Sweden.

Sara Elizabeth Foley was awarded second prize for her entry, The Light Prism, a human-scale kaleidoscope. The bachelor of engineering student at Cooper Union used 15, 1W color-changing LEDs as the illumination source, along with different patterned screens to change the “mood” within the linear tent-like structure. Foley received a $1500 cash award.

Undergraduate architecture student Ross Guntert, received third prize for his project entitled, Refracted by Levers. Consisting of a black box with a series of levers and a light source, manipulating the levers altered the intensity of the refraction of light. Guntert received a $500 prize for his efforts. Three honorable mentions were also awarded. The recipients were Wanlop Chantarakolkit, an MFA candidate at Parsons, Siriphot Manoch, also an MFA candidate at Parsons, and Ian Lotto a BFA candidate in the Architecture program at Parsons.

This year's jury included Frank Conti, president of Enterprise Lighting Sales and IESNY board member; Dennis McKee, director of special projects and corporate affairs at Bartco Lighting; Molly McKnight, associate lighting designer at the Brandston Partnership; Allison Ritter, educator and director of ELDA; Joachim Ritter, editor in chief of Professional Lighting Design magazine; and Coren Sharples, principal of New York-based ShoP Architects. Awards were presented on March 14, 2007, at an evening event that included presentations by artist Ben Rubin (See “Visual Communication,” Jan/Feb 2007) and Joachim Ritter. For more information about the IESNY Student Competition visit