Brian Belluomini

August 2014

Brian Belluomini
Principal, Shimstone Design Studio

Q: How did you first get started in the lighting industry?
In high school, I saw a school play which inspired me to join the theater tech crew. I had a wonderful mentor who taught each me about the magic and power of lighting and soon I was leading the crew and designing the shows. During college I stumbled across an article talking about this "new emerging field" called architectural lighting design, which I found quite intriguing. I think what appealed to me most was the sense that this would be a challenging discipline that is technical in nature and incorporates some engineering aspects. I also liked the idea that I could be working on permanent buildings and installations which would far outlast the temporary amusements we were creating in the theater. I studied at Parsons and upon graduation, I began my professional career at Brandston Partnership, where I continued learning and working for about seven years. I then became a lighting consultant and for about a year and a half, I focused on collaborating with the largest possible cross-section of different lighting design firms. In January 2012, when I joined forces with the immensely talented Rachel Eichorn to form our new lighting design firm, Shimstone Design Studio.

Q: How did you first get involved in the IESNYC?
It's kind of a funny story actually. A co-worker of mine, Ricky Vargas, was involved with the Student Lighting Competition. He asked if I would join the committee and I politely declined as my younger self wasn't sure that's how I wanted to be spending the little free time I had. He didn't give up and I  finally I agreed to attend one meeting so I could see what it was like and make a more informed decision. So the meeting starts and Ricky said he had an announcement to make - "I'm moving back to Venezuela, and Brian has agreed to be my replacement." Fortunately, I actually did enjoy that first meeting and working with a wonderful group of people. Eventually I became chair of that committee and that’s where my ascent up the IESNYC ladder began and today I am vice president of the section. 

Q: In your opinion, what are the best assets of the IESNYC?
Our best asset is the diverse group of members who believe in our mission and go out of their way to help make a contribution to our efforts. First and foremost are those who are volunteering their time and energy to participate in our various committees. These are individuals who are not content to just show up at their job, collect a paycheck and go home. Rather, these are inspired people who love lighting, and whose aspirations to grow, learn new skills, and to give back to the lighting community will help them in their journey to become leaders in our industry. Also, we must recognize the many companies that step forward to become Section sponsors. Roughly 95% of the dues our members pay each year goes towards the national efforts of the IES, which means only about 5% gets filtered down to the local Section, so we are hugely dependent upon our sponsors to help us to amass the necessary funds to achieve our goals every year. So if we say we like having such things as the Lumen Gala, monthly programs, an LC Study course, a Student Competition, the TALK project, Thesis Prizes, sponsored membership for our local students, an Emerging Professionals group, and other programs and initiatives,  then it is abundantly clear that our volunteers and sponsors are our most important assets.

Q: How do you see your role as a member of the BOM?
I guess you could say I've been the champion of bringing formalized structure to our organization. Over the past decade or two we have seen a massive flurry of growth as our members bring in new ideas and new energy to expand the breadth of what it is that we do. Right now I believe we have 14 different committees, plus at least 4 additional "task forces. “Right now I am focusing on two projects. The first is the restructuring of our various committees to optimize their efficiency, simplify the workload, and preserve the lessons learned in the past so that we are not trying to reinvent the wheel every few years when there is a new chairperson. The second project is to continue these efforts within the BOM itself, so that we create the best possible conditions for us to be able to fully understand and manage our expansive activities within the short time we have together as an assembled group at our monthly meetings.