"Dal Beat" by Sejung Oh
IESNYC "Dal Beat" by Sejung Oh

Now in its 12th year, the Illuminating Engineering Society's New York City Section's annual student competition continues to promote a greater awareness of lighting by engaging with New York–area students who are enrolled in design programs. Each year, the competition brief focuses on a specific property of light and asks students to interpret the idea by designing a 3D-built model. The 2012 competition, titled "Fraction/Refraction," challenged students to think about light in terms of texture, directionality, and contrast. "The competition is designed to be an exercise in exploration," says Shaun Fillion, chair of the Student Competition Committee.

The grand prize was awarded to Pratt Institute student Sejung Oh for his entry "Dal Beat." Oh constructed an acrylic drum filled with water and an LED striplight. When tapped, it mimicked the effect of moonlight reflecting on water. "The name Dal Beat is derived from dal bit, which is Korean for moonlight," Oh explained in the IESNYC's press release. "I changed the name of my project as an invitation to viewers to tap or beat the drum to see the movement of light." For winning the competition, Oh received a $2,000 cash prize and a trip to Paris courtesy of sponsor Debbas International. There, he will meet with lighting engineers and designers at Debbas International's new Paris showroom and visit the company's factory.

Second prize went to another Pratt student: Sang Yoon-Lee received a cash prize of $1,000 for his project "Ivre." Yoon-Lee configured two wine bottles to each house a light source. When the bottle corks were rotated, light passed through overlapping lenses and created a kaleidoscope effect. Third prize and a check for $500 was awarded to New York School of Interior Design student Farnaz Hamedanchian. Her untitled project was a tableau of natural materials—branches, twigs, and glass—that produce a dual refraction of light. In all, seven prizes were awarded, including four honorable mentions, from a pool of more than 100 entries.

Students, faculty, and guests were able to view the projects during an evening event on Feb. 29, which also featured a keynote lecture given by Dietrich Neumann, the Royce Family Professor for the History of Modern Architecture and Urban Studies at Brown University. Neumann discussed the work and impact of legendary lighting designer Richard Kelly. Students were also invited to attend a panel presentation and listen to lighting industry professionals discuss the lighting designer's role on a project.

The competition is supported by a number of sponsors: Bartco Lighting, Enterprise Lighting Sales, Osram Sylvania, Philips Lighting, A&L Lighting, Amerlux Lighting Solutions, the Dulanski Group, Edison Price, GE Lighting, Nulux, Universal Lighting Technologies, and USAI. For more information about the competition program, go to iesnyc.org.