Brigid Hardiman

May 2020

Brigid Hardiman, MIES
Lighting Designer, Lightcraft

Q: How did you first get started in the lighting industry?
When I was completing my BS in Architectural Technology at the New York Institute of Technology in 2013 and looking for internships, I wasn't even aware that lighting design was its own field. A friend was in the midst of a marketing internship at RAB Lighting and it was through him that I found out RAB had a whole team, then called Applications Engineering, dedicated just to lighting design. What I thought was just an internship that could utilize my CAD skills ended up being two-year full time job and a springboard for a unique and rewarding career. RAB Lighting was where I met IESNYC Board of Manager Shaun Fillion, who introduced me to the IESNYC through Student Lighting Competition. That opened a gateway into the lighting community at large. After RAB I did some freelance lighting and also worked under Mark Simpson at Celano Design Studio doing hospitality lighting. With some encouragement from Shaun, I went back to school and got my Masters in Lighting Design from the New York School of Interior Design last year in 2019. I now work at Lightcraft with Susannah Gilbard and a fabulous team of lighting designers housed inside AKF Engineers. It has been a great experience coordinating with and learning from in-house MEP designers. I have been able to work on a diverse set of lighting challenges while focusing on my love for healthcare lighting. I am so grateful to have an office that feels like a family. While speaking at the IESNYC Student Lighting Competition (SLC) this year, seeing Susannah and my other colleagues (some of whom are not even lighting designers!) in the audience was amazing. They are all so supportive.

Q: How did you first get involved in the IESNYC?
I had attended several IESNYC events when I was new to lighting but I really became involved when Shaun, who has served as both co-chair and advisor to the SLC, told me the SLC needed volunteers for their committee. After joining, I quickly saw the potential the competition had to enrich the student design community and knew I had to continue to be a part of it. My fourth year on the competition committee was also my first year as co-chair, and I was working full-time at Lightcraft while also enrolled at NYSID. It was a crazy year! I had to design a lighting piece relating to the competition theme for my Luminaire Design class but opted out of competing so that I could stay on as co-chair. That was a bit of a turning point for me. Through that action and writing my essay to apply for the IESNYC Scholarship I saw how much good we can do in the world as lighting professionals and knew I had to continue to volunteer my time as much as possible.

Q: How do you see your role as member of the IESNYC?
I feel I have a really personal connection and drive to volunteer with the IESNYC. At the Lumen Awards in 2019, I was honored with the IESNYC Emerging Professional Award. And this year, our wonderful Section President, Mike Barr, recognized me at the Student Lighting Competition with a proclamation that March 3rd, 2020 was Brigid Hardiman Day!
This kind of recognition really inspires me to pay it forward. I just completed my second year as co-chair of the Student Lighting Competition, and I am committed to helping the event grow and to invite more design students to be part of the experience. Through the IESNYC, I hope to explore new avenues of leadership through lighting to help benefit our communities. I am currently running for a seat on the IESNYC Board of Managers, so, fingers crossed!

Q: In your opinion, what are the best assets of the IESNYC?
Having won the 2019 IESNYC Scholarship means I have felt the effects of the section's commitment to education and community firsthand. IESNYC events have always been an incredible place to connect with a diverse range of industry members and to learn in new and creative ways. The section also goes above and beyond in recognizing industry professionals for their achievements. It’s a wonderful landscape to be a part of.