THE MERIT OF AWARDS
Awards do several things, beyond honouring hard work and talent. They hold up a mirror
to a particular field, revealing the state of play, the level of achievement to which everyone
must aspire. And judging by the winners of the Lighting Design Awards 2019, the focus
of this special issue, the benchmark is high.
As someone who remembers lighting design as something of a nascent profession
(despite the fact that its progenitors date back to the middle of the last century), its
development has been extraordinary and exponential. Not only is the recognition of the
importance of good lighting now widespread, so too is the explosion of talent around
the world that can deliver it.
The 40U40 awards, which are presented the same evening, also demonstrate that there is
no shortage of young gifted professionals who are taking up the mantle. Those original
lighting pioneers were often much preoccupied with explaining what they did and why
their design peers should recognise the importance of their role. The new generations are
more free to develop the profession in new ways, not least through research.
Two of those pioneers, arguably the most prominent, were Stanley McCandless and
Richard Kelly, both of whom worked closely with Finnish-American architect Eero
Saarinen, the subject of our profile. Like other leading US architects such as Kahn and
Wright, he immediately grasped the essential role that lighting played in architecture and
sought to collaborate with those who specialised in this field.
It is perhaps ironic that this lesson has apparently been lost and rediscovered over the
decades. That is another role of these particular awards: to promulgate that message and
to show what can be achieved when lighting and architecture come together.
Jill Entwistle, Editor
13 COMMENT LIGHTING MAGAZINE
ING LIGH T ING
The Lighting Design Awards 2019 took place at the Troxy in London in May