Edited by Elizabeth Donoff
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has selected five recipients for its Institute Honors for Collaborative Achievement, the highest form of recognition bestowed by the institute on allied professionals and organizations who work in the field of architecture. This year's recipients are the Active Design Guidelines, a multiagency, interdisciplinary collaboration with the New York City Dept. of Design and Construction; the Dallas Architecture Forum, a nonprofit civic organization; landscape architect Peter Lindsay Schaudt; professor and landscape architect Walter J. Hood Jr.; and lighting manufacturer Louis Poulsen Lighting. This is the first time in the award program's history that a lighting company has been recognized.
Louis Poulsen Lighting was founded in 1874 in Copenhagen as an electrical company. In the 1920s, however, when the company began to work with Danish architect Poul Henningsen, it began its shift to design. In a prepared statement, Kent Stilling Pedersen, president and CEO of the company said, “Since the company was founded over 100 years ago, we have believed that beautiful and functional lighting fixtures cannot be designed in a vacuum without the input of the people who actually design buildings. To receive such a prestigious accolade for collaboration is a great and very proud moment in Louis Poulsen history and it validates our company's mission.”
Some of the most iconic light fixtures belong to the Louis Poulsen portfolio of luminaires, including the PH Artichoke. Designed by Henningsen in 1958, the pendant fixture is known for its overlapping leaves—72 in total—that shield the lamp source and that redirect and reflect the light.
“Over about a century, Louis Poulsen has evolved into a design firm with the talent to rival Apple, but with roots deep in Danish culture and ethics. At Poulsen, the culture of the firm has always been overwhelmingly about design. … This ethos permeates everything they do.”
— Buzz Yudell, founding partner Moore Rubell Yudell
Another of the company's other notable luminaire designs include architect Arne Jacobsen's AJ Table Lamp, with its distinct asymmetrical lamp hood, originally designed in 1960 for the SAS Royal Hotel in Copenhagen. The company has continued its tradition of collaboration and design and technical excellence with a new generation of talent, such as Danish designer Louise Campbell.
John Small, head of product design at the internationally recognized architecture firm Foster + Partners, wrote in support of Louis Poulsen's nomination, “I cannot imagine a more fruitful partnership between ourselves as architects and a design/manufacturing firm that contributes an essential design element to light itself.” The Collaborative Achievement Awards will be presented at the 2011 AIA National Convention and Design Exposition in New Orleans, May 12–14.