Light & Culture Video

2019 Student Competition Photo Gallery

2019 Judges

Stephen Bernstein
Cline Bettridge Bernstein Lighting Design

Elizabeth Donoff
Architectural Lighting Magazine (AL)

Josh Heitler
Heitler Houstoun Architects

Student Competition Committee

Erin Gussert, RL Studio
Brigid Hardiman, Lightcraft Group

Board Advisor:
Shaun Fillion, NYSID | RAB Lighting

Founding Advisor:
Randy Sabedra, RS Lighting Design

Joseph Belfer, Cerberus Consulting
John Delfino
, Available Light
David del Rosario, WSP USA
Rinkinson Gohel, Bliss Fasman Inc
Steven Greenberg
Linda Leconte, Edison Price Lighting
Kass Negash, W. Allen Engineering PLLC



Frequently Asked Questions >


Winners of The 2019 New York City Student Lighting Competition


Grand Prize Winner

Jialun Cao, Pratt Institute

The IESNYC announced Jialun Cao—a Bachelor of Industrial Design (BID) student from Pratt Institute—as the Grand Prize winner for his lighting project "GHOST TOWN" at the IESNYC Student Lighting Competition.

On March 5th, a total of 117 student projects were judged by Stephen Bernstein, Cline Bettridge Bernstein Lighting Design; Elizabeth Donoff, Architectural Lighting Magazine; and Josh Heitler, Heitler Houstoun Architects. This year’s theme, LIGHT & CULTURE, challenged students to construct a three-dimensional study exploring the role of light in rituals, events, or rites of passage. Light can often be a critical element in a religious or national celebration, like fireworks on the Fourth of July, a lifetime milestone, like a unity candle at a wedding, or a daily observance, like a sun salutation. Light & Culture allows each individual to expand upon their own experiences of light and how it contributes to culture.

Since 2000, the IESNYC has 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.

Participating Schools
Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), Westchester Community College (SUNY), New York School of Interior Design (NYSID), Parsons New School for Design, Pratt Institute

Congratulations to all our 2019 Winners!


Jialun Cao 
Bachelor of Industrial Design (BID), Pratt Institute
Project Title: GHOST TOWN

Instructor: Scott Lundberg

Ghost Town is dedicated to the memory of the craftspeople and beautiful old times they left behind in a Chinese village of Jingdezhen in southeastern China. Ceramic rice bowls, which the town is known for are cracked and illuminated. Glow sticks illuminate linen screens.


Andrea Young Fierro, Karmen Ho, and Suji Lee
Master of Fine Arts (MFA), Lighting Design, Parsons the New School for Design
Project Title: LAYERED

Instructor: Derek Porter

The relationship to different cultures and humanity is a layered experience. Viewing through the shadowed apertures at different angles allows the observer to see the layered personalities symbolic of unique and diverse cultures and find alignments and similarities as the observer meanders through the layers, revelations come to light.


Simy Bentata Singer
Bachelor of Industrial Design (BID), Pratt Institute

Instructor: Willy Schwenzfeier

This installation expresses how we all live deepened into our own lives, wanderings and beliefs. But in a dark night of a special day, we converge in the same spot of the same sky, see the same sparks of joy, for nothing less than commemorating life.


Chenxi Guo
Bachelor of Industrial Design (BID), Pratt Institute
Project Title: BIRTHDAY CAKE

Instructor: Scott Lundberg

There is no birthday without a birthday cake no matter which culture of origin. The jury felt it worked on multiple levels and kept revealing things both concrete and abstract. It spoke to the theme and an experience that everyone can relate to.


Aysel Aziz
Master of Fine Arts (MFA), Interior and Lighting Design, Parsons the New School of Design
Project Title: DWELLINGS

Instructor: Derek Porter and Nelson Jenkins

When the sun goes down beyond the horizon, the light coming from each dwelling creates the unique paining on the canvas of the sky. Residents paint the interior of their homes with light representing their personalities, cultural backgrounds, tastes, and habits.


Simi Sanghavi
Bachelors of Fine Arts (BFA), Product Design, Parsons the New School of Design
Project Title: UJALA

Instructor: Andrea Ruggiero

Ujala means light in Hindi, is a DIY, sustainable and inexpensive luminaire. It is made of locally sourced, assembled and repurposed bowls and a solar powered battery-operated LED bulb that helps illuminate the lives and homes of rural India where power there are power cuts due to economic conditions and lack of a supply of electricity. In comparison to typical kerosene lamps which are toxic, this project uses natural plant-based materials like dried banana leaves, sugarcane, and jute strings and is safe to use. The luminaire works as a table light/lantern or as a general/pendant light.


Craig Young
New York School of Interior Design (NYSID), MPS, Lighting Design
Project Title: UNITY OF LIGHT

Instructor: Eric Chenault

One of the initial inspirations for this installation was Kokopelli dancers and the idea of sitting around a campfire and the stories that are told and been handed from generation to generation. Many events revolve around light—the torch at the Olympics, the ball dropping in times square on New Year’s Eve, and fireworks on the 4th of July—and light brings together people culturally in shared experiences.


Nathalie Rozot, CEO, PhoScope

Nathalie Rozot is a New York-based transdisciplinary designer who situated her design practice in lighting design in 2000. In 2011 she founded the think tank on light PhoScope to advance change in the practice, education, and critical study of light, and to foster lighting’s engagement in design discourse and social practice.

Rozot is the recipient of awards from the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) of North America, grants from the City of Paris, the New York State Council for the Arts, the New York State Energy Development Agency and Parsons; fellowships from the Graham Foundation for Architecture, the MacDowell Colony and the New York Foundation for the Arts; and sponsorships from NYFA and the Van Alen Institute. In 2018, she won an IESNYC Lumen CITATION for Humanitarian Action for her Solar Lighting in Martissant in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti.

She has taught lighting in Masters programs at the New School and in Versailles and Lille’s schools of landscape architecture, and she is a former education columnist for the IES publication LD+A. She has published and lectured globally on social and critical issues in lighting and has served internationally as an academic and professional juror.

Rozot holds a University Degree in Biology and a Diploma from Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Arts Appliqués Boulle. She is a member of the IES and an educator member of the IALD.

About the IESNYC Student Competition

The IESNYC Student Lighting Competition is dedicated to our founder, Patricia DiMaggio. As an NYC educator and past president of IESNYC, we uphold Patricia’s goals of education, community, and friendly competition. Having grown from 8 students in 2000 to over 200 students today, it is a legacy which will continue to grow with all your support.

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.

If you have any questions, please email [email protected]