Watch a Video of the
2016 Winners


Browse Images from the 2016 Student Competition

2016 Committee

Erin Gussert, Regency Lighting

Board Advisor:
Shaun Fillion, RAB Lighting

Sofia Arredondo, Kugler Ning Lighting Design
John Delfino, Available Light
Brigid Hardiman
Linda Leconte
, Edison Price Lighting
Kass Negash, W. Allen Engineering PLLC
June Park, Horton Lees Brogden

2016 Judges

Rick Hurst, Director of Sales, Enterprise Lighting Sales
Jackson Ning, Principal, Kugler Ning Lighting Design
JR Krauza, Vice President Product Management, Amerlux
Kai Sheng, Managing Principal, Archilier Architecture

Student Competition
Frequently Asked Questions

Click Here

Winners of The 2016 New York City Student Lighting Competition


Photography by Naomi Castillo
Shown left to right: Elena Ryu (honorable mention); Serena Kim (honorable mention); Zhijian Xiong (second place); Samuel Powers (first place); Leela Shanker (first place); Diana Tsoy (third place); Annie Ma (honorable mention); Audrey Krumenacker (honorable mention); Ye Lee Kim (honorable mention). Not pictured: Esther Chang (honorable mention)

Grand Prize Winners
Leela Shanker and Samuel Powers
Project Title  “12:04:24 – 12:04:50 AM”

Leela Shanker and Samuel Powers are enrolled in a dual-degree program combining the Master of Fine Arts in Lighting Design and a Master of Architecture in the School of Constructed Environments at Parsons The New School for Design. The team received a cash award of $2,000.

Pratt Institute’s Zhijian Xiong’s “Tail Away” and Diana Tsoy’s “Space, In Time” won Second and Third Prize respectively and received cash awards of $1,000 and $500. They, as well as the six students recognized as Honorable Mentions, are attending Pratt Institute and are pursuing a Bachelors of Industrial Design.

The competition challenged students to apply their education, skills, and imagination in order to take an elusive concept and transform it into a three-dimensional illuminated visual experience. This year’s theme — “Temporal Illuminance” — challenged students to construct a 3D study  that explores the interaction between Light and Time. Whether slow and subtle, quick and intermittent, or entirely random, variations in quality of light change our perception of the world around us.

The Student Competition is dedicated to the memory of Patricia DiMaggio (1964-2014), the IESNYC’s 85th president, who founded the competition. A mere eight students entered the competition in the first year, and this year, over 200 students from New York City area colleges and universities participated, and 170 students attending New York School for Design (NYSID), Parsons The New School of Design, and Pratt Institute exhibited their installations.

Adding to the excitement of the evening was keynote speaker, theatrical lighting designer Donald Holder, Tony Award winner for The Lion King and South Pacific.

Congratulations to our 2016 Winners!


Project Title: 12:04:24 – 12:04:50 AM

Leela Shanker and Samuel Powers
Masters of Fine Arts - Lighting Design / Masters of Architecture
Parsons The New School for Design
Instructor: Glenn Shrum

26 seconds is the brief amplitude of time for a single rise and fall of a swell. Capturing the measured amplitude of time for a single wave to return to gentle equilibrium, 12:04:24 - 12:04:50 AM captures a singular moment in light. The viewer triggers the swell of a wave and then observes it as it settles. The installation simulates the unique, yet infinitely repeated action of the tides that have followed the moon for eons.


Project Title: Tail Away

Zhijian Xiong
Bachelor of Industrial Design, Pratt Institute
Instructor: Jonathan Thayer

TAIL AWAY is a lamp that evokes thoughts about how things around us change and are reshaped by the seasons. Light glares above the water and projects a pattern on an indented solid form, highlighting the process of water as it erodes stone. Any movement around the installation causes the water to vibrate and the light pattern oscillates.


Project Title: Space In Time

Diana Tsoy
Bachelor of Industrial Design, Pratt Institute
Instructor: Willy Schwenzfeier

SPACE, IN TIME creates a temporal lighting experience by focusing the viewer on the play of light within a series of infinite reflections. The illusions created inside simulate the way light travels across dimensions, providing a hyper clarity that makes each dimension/reflection just as real.


Project Title: Aura

Audrey Krumenacker
Bachelors of Industrial Design, Pratt Institute
Instructor: Erika Doering

AURA is inspired by the glowing illuminance of the Northern Lights.  Multi-colored LED lights and iridescent plastic is used to create an abstracted piece that creates a glowing effect. The goal is for the viewer to become entranced by the soft transience of the piece and for time to become practically irrelevant.


Project Title: Horizon

Serena Kim
Bachelor of Industrial Design, Pratt Institute
Instructor: Erika Doering

HORIZON aims to transport anyone at any time to a calming and soothing environment with its colored shadows of light resembling the illuminance of sunsets and sunrises. The geometric shape of this installation is inspired by the shapes of clock hands. The shadows and colors that installation casts are constructed to mirror the shadows of people, buildings or trees during sunrises and sunsets. A sunset and sunrise is something that is so naturally beautiful, and this is a captured moment of this.


Project Title: Travelight

Ye Lee Kim
Bachelors of Industrial Design, Pratt Institute
Instructor: Erika Doering

TRAVELIGHT interacts with the user so that they can feel like they are travelling in time. When the illuminaire is activated, the light source inside moves vertically and the light effect moves, reminding the user of a wormhole. It gratifies our fantasy of time travel and offers an adventure through a light effect.


Project Title: Submerge

Esther Chang
Bachelor of Industrial Design, Pratt Institute
Instructor: Jonathan Thayer

SUBMERGE is a lightbox that imitates light refracting underwater and creates an undulating effect of light. The warped pieces of hanging acrylic help refract the different colored lights onto the walls of the box. As one touches the hanging pieces, the lights on the wall changes, similar to the effect of rippling water.


Project Title: Tumble Cube

Elena Ryu
Bachelor of Industrial Design, Pratt Institute
Instructor: Erika Doering

TUMBLE CUBE exhibits the essence of natural light in various ways that demand attention. It is a playful reminder for people to stop to think about how light affects the world we live in and to appreciate the complexities of light. Warm light was selected to remind us how fragile life is. The enclosed loop showcases that life/time is not endless but stops at different points no matter how one turns.


Project Title: Touch

Annie Ma
Bachelor of Industrial Design, Pratt Institute
Instructor: Erika Doering

TOUCH is inspired by the organic forms of vines and plant pods and it creates a response to human contact by mimicking the sequence of responses found in the natural world. The wave of light that spreads through the pods becomes the visualization of both the physical and emotional energy that arise from the act of touching while simultaneously exploring both the emergence and evanescence of those energies.

Keynote Speaker

Donald Holder has worked extensively in theatre, opera, dance, architectural and television lighting in the US and abroad for over 25 years.  He has designed almost 50 Broadway productions, has been nominated for eleven Tony awards, winning the Tony for Best Lighting Design for ‘The Lion King’ and the 2008 revival of ‘South Pacific.’  His recent and upcoming Broadway projects include the 2015 revivals of ‘The King and I’ and ‘Fiddler On the Roof,’ ‘She Loves Me,’ ‘The Father’ (2016), ‘The Bridges of Madison County,’ ‘Golden Boy,’ ‘Spiderman Turn Off the Dark,’ ‘Bullets Over Broadway,’ ‘Come Fly Away,’ ‘Ragtime,’ and ‘Movin Out.’  Projects at the New York Metropolitan Opera include this season’s ‘Otello,’ Julie Taymor’s production of ‘The Magic Flute,’ and ‘Two Boys.’ He has worked at most of the nation’s leading resident theatres, including Center Stage, Arena Stage, The Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Mark Taper Forum, Denver Center, Seattle Repertory, La Jolla Playhouse, Huntington Theatre Company, Chicago Shakespeare, Cincinnati Playhouse, South Coast Repertory, Old Globe Theatre, and the Williamstown Theatre Festival.  Don has designed over 100 Off-Broadway productions, including premieres of ‘Whorl Inside a Loop,’ ‘Jitney The American Plan,’ ‘Spunk,’ ‘Three Days of Rain,’ ‘A Man of No Importance,’ and many others.  His television work includes the theatrical lighting for seasons one and two of ‘Smash’ (NBC-Dreamworks). Mr. Holder’s Architectural Lighting projects include Sony Plaza’s public spaces in Manhattan, Dance Theatre Workshop and numerous restaurants, including Bond 45, Florian, and The Redeye Grill.  He was head of the lighting design program at the California Institute of the Arts from 2006-2010, has an ongoing teaching/mentoring relationship with the Korean Arts Council (ARKO), and has been on the faculty of the Broadway Lighting Master Classes for many years. Mr. Holder is a volunteer fireman and member of the Chemical Engine Company in his community of Croton on Hudson, NY, where he resides with his wife Evan Yionoulis, son Josh and daughter Sarah. He is a graduate of the University of Maine and the Yale School of Drama.

Don Holder © Mike Stog Photography

About the IESNYC Student Competition

One of the goals of the IESNYC is to promote education and greater awareness about the importance of lighting and the Student Competition is one of the contributors towards these efforts. Since 2000, they have invited students from New York City Art and Design schools to participate in a city wide design competition. The competition empowers students to explore light as an art form, demonstrate light as a stimulus, and prove light as a valuable medium. Every year, students in lighting, architecture, interior design, art, product design, photography and electrical engineering programs have submitted projects, resulting in a diverse showcase of ideas and interpretations on a single theme. The IESNYC Student Competition has been incorporated into the curriculum lighting classes in several area schools and has piqued an interest in lighting design of close to a thousand design students to date.