The Edge Social Lounge, Kempinski Hotel Ishtar Dead Sea, Jordan

Nestled on the shores of the Dead Sea, Kempinski Hotel Ishtar Dead Sea stands as a beacon of elegance and luxury, offering guests an unparalleled experience of refinement and relaxation. Among its many treasures lies The Edge Social Lounge, a sanctuary of sophistication where guests are invited to indulge in a world of culinary delights, captivating entertainment, and breathtaking views.

The Edge Social Lounge's new lighting project was the result of a collaboration with LICLLAB. This project represents a fusion of innovation and tradition, seamlessly integrating modern lighting technology with the timeless beauty of the Dead Sea landscape.

The history of Kempinski Hotel Ishtar Dead Sea is as rich and storied as the land it occupies. Situated in the heart of Jordan, overlooking the lowest point on Earth, the hotel is steeped in ancient history and cultural significance. The Dead Sea itself has long been revered for its therapeutic properties, attracting visitors from around the world seeking rejuvenation and healing.

Against this backdrop of natural splendor and historical significance, The Edge Social Lounge emerges as a beacon of modern luxury, offering guests an oasis of refinement amidst the timeless beauty of the Dead Sea. With its sleek design, impeccable service, and unparalleled attention to detail, The Edge sets a new standard for elegance and sophistication in the region.

The collaboration with LICLLAB represents a natural evolution of this commitment to excellence. Founded in Italy, LICLLAB is renowned for its innovative approach to lighting design, blending cutting-edge technology with artistic vision to create lighting solutions that transcend the ordinary.

For The Edge Social Lounge, LICLLAB has crafted a lighting scheme that complements the hotel's natural surroundings while adding a touch of contemporary flair. Soft, ambient lighting creates an inviting atmosphere, while strategically placed fixtures highlight architectural features and accentuate the stunning views of the Dead Sea beyond.

But the true magic of The Edge Social Lounge lies not just in its exquisite design or state-of-the-art lighting, but in the experience it offers to guests. From the moment you step through the doors, you are enveloped in an atmosphere of warmth and hospitality, where every detail is carefully curated to ensure your comfort and enjoyment.

Casa Del Mantegna, Italy

In Mantua, at the 15th-century Casa del Mantegna, (Mantegna’s House) an exhibition was held in June 2023 dedicated to the work of the 'Mantuan painter' Andrea Mantegna (1431-1506).

Considered one of the architectural masterpieces of the Renaissance designed according to the principles of classical architecture, Mantegna lived and worked at Casa del Mantegna for several years.

This exhibition was part of the Mantovarchitettura 2023 event - promoted by the Mantua Territorial Pole of the Milan Polytechnic and the UNESCO Presidency, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the festival.

The exhibition Andrea Mantegna: 'painter from Mantua' (curated by Elisa Boeri and fitted out by Filippo Bricolo) offered a wide-ranging consideration on Mantegna's work and life. The outfitting, in which the reference to Renaissance wooden machines is echoed, consisted of an itinerary made of images, details and words where the spectator was asked to act and physically interact with the artefact.

The exhibition itinerary went on through six rooms of the (almost) square House, each of which was assigned a specific theme, developed with the help of 'critical devices' designed by Filippo Bricolo, objects with cylindrical and square shapes that refer to certain Renaissance wooden machines, but they are small and precious architectures.

The six architectures were 'invitations to look slowly; they are strategies of slowing down', which made people interact with them: pausing, observing, reading, but, above all, thinking and discovering some aspects, perhaps unknown or little-studied, of the Renaissance world of Andrea Mantegna, the 'Mantuan painter'.

Light was a decisive element for the fitting out of the exhibition, since it had to be absolutely consistent with the exhibition route. Thanks to the lighting contribution provided by QU, an emerging Italian company that designs, produces and markets its own standard and custom-made products, it was possible to make the exhibition completely immersive, allowing the visitors to walk around freely without being bothered in any way by the lighting fixtures. The latter ones were also customised by QU to allow them to adapt to the wooden structures of the exhibition. As light sources QU decided to opt for ED POLE floor lamps and ROCCHETTO spotlights.

ED POLE is a floor lamp characterised by a minimalist design and great versatility, making the lighting equipment be ideal for museum and residential spaces. At the top end the touch switch system is installed and by it, it is possible to manage the on/off functions and the regulation of the light flow up to a maximum of 60W. Various finishes are available, from standard Black and White to Bronze and Copper to Gold, Burnished and Corten. Now it is also possible to have the fixture elegantly upholstered in leather.

The ROCCHETTO series is a broad and diverse category of wall and ceiling spots ideal for spotlighting indoor and outdoor spaces. The variety of perspectives makes it perfect for recreating different settings. The luminaire can be rotated 360° along the vertical axis and 90° along the horizontal axis.

In outfitting the exhibition dedicated to Andrea Mantegna, QU chose Rocchetto 9W with different optical beams to better suit the environment. The support was customised by means of a modular anchoring system, a fabric strap, capable of adapting perfectly to different wooden structures.

Phos win King’s Award for 2024

(UK) – Phos has been honoured in the 2024 edition of the prestigious King’s Award, in recognition for its outstanding achievements and contributions to the lighting industry.

One of a select list of winners, Phos has been commended for its unwavering commitment to excellence, innovation, and international market growth.

Speaking of the award, James Cadisch, CEO of Phos, said: “We’re thrilled and humbled to receive the prestigious King’s Award for 2024. This recognition is a testament to the hard work, passion, and incredible talent of our entire team. Their relentless pursuit of innovation and growth has been the driving force behind our success.”

At the core of Phos’ philosophy is a deep reverence for the transformative power of light and its impact on human wellbeing. The company’s biophilic luminaires seamlessly integrate natural light into built environments, fostering a profound connection between people and nature.

“We take immense pride in this achievement, which would not have been possible without the trust and support of our valued clients and partners,” Cadisch added. “Their belief in our vision has been instrumental in propelling us to new heights, and we are extremely grateful.”

The King’s Award celebrates companies demonstrating exceptional performance, innovation, and positive impact on their communities. Phos’ recognition underscores its position as a trailblazer in the lighting industry, delivering cutting-edge solutions that elevate the lighting experience while promoting wellbeing and sustainability.

Cadisch continued: “This award is a testament to our team’s hard efforts, our partners’ support, and our clients’ trust in our products and services. We are honoured and motivated to continue our pursuit of excellence, shaping the future of lighting with groundbreaking solutions that inspire, heal, and transform.”

LAPD and Hertford Town Council host Dark Skies event

(UK) – Despite some torrential rain, a successful Hertford Dark Skies event took place for the first time on the 22nd February 2024. The local community were treated to a tour of the night sky as clouds parted to reveal the stars, one by one. The event was conceived to raise awareness of light pollution and to provide people with the opportunity to come together as a community, experiencing the night sky without glare or local upward light within the centre of town. Simon Thorp from LAPD lives in Hertford and suggested the event to the town council, who fully embraced the concept.

The event took place in Castle Park in Hertford town centre, with the intention to switch off all lighting in the park, on the castle, and as many lights as possible that are visible from the castle grounds. By removing as many sources of light from people’s field of view, it meant that attendees could fully appreciate the moon and stars. The duration of the switch off was over an hour, allowing time for full adaptation to take place.

Bayfordbury Observatory: University of Hertfordshire, welcomed the opportunity to take part, along with Hertford Astronomy Group, who were all presented with extremely challenging set-up conditions. There was heavy rain all day ,with the forecast of clear skies not until 7pm. The event had prepared for a cloudy sky too: Bayfordbury Observatory provided a mobile planetarium housed in a large marquee, enabling shows to occur every 30 minutes. Hertford Astronomy Group had projections, demonstrations, virtual reality, and slide shows for everyone inside the castle itself.

Educational talks took place inside the castle, clouds or not. Simon Thorp gave a talk on light pollution, what people can do about it, Dark Sky International and the ecological effects of artificial lighting at night. There were other talks on topics such as an introduction to astronomy, amphibians and their nocturnal behaviour and Dark Matter Halos from the University of Hertfordshire: Bayfordbury Observatory.

Lighting before the switch off was provided by Stoane Lighting in the form of miniature Tadpole spotlights to provide light within the various vendors gazebos around the lawn. Mushroom luminaires on ground spikes were also used for areas in and around the castle with steps or uneven ground. These lights used CREE LEDs with pc amber spectral distributions, 1830K to minimise their impact on surrounding wildlife. All exterior lights were battery operated to avoid significant power cable runs across the site. Any other lighting was covered with red or amber gel filters to limit their brightness and spectral distribution. This helped people to adjust more easily to the darker light levels at 7pm, when as many lights as possible were switched off.

The full extent of the switch-off was limited by the torrential rain occurring during the day and up to 6:30pm that evening, but enough was achieved to allow people glare-free views of the castle and the night sky as intended. Bayfordbury Observatory began its talk of the night sky at 7pm, at which point the cloudy sky only allowed feint visibility of the moon to everyone. As the talk commenced the cloud thinned out, the moon brightened, and Jupiter became clearly visible. One by one more stars were seen until a cloudless sky prevailed with plenty for all to observe; it was a special occassion.

The darkness created by the switch off gave good visibility of the stars and real prominence to the moonlight, which felt very bright across the lawn and onto the Castle façade. People visiting from London commented on the marked difference in the clarity of the night sky despite being so close to the capital. Without nearby glare the moonlight provided plenty of light for people to move around the site and the atmosphere was very relaxed.

Based on visibility of stars within different constellation, the stellar magnitude of the sky was just about a magnitude of 4.5, equating it to a Bortle Scale just within the category of 7. Impressive for a location so close to London but something to improve upon over time. Given such good feedback the hope is that the event will be repeated next year on a larger scale.

NEO Architectural Lighting launches The Flindt Project contest

(USA) – NEO Architectural Lighting, Louis Poulsen’s exclusive partner for commercial lighting in North America, has launched a contest inviting designers and students to envision any of Christian Flindt’s award-winning Louis Poulsen designs in a conceptual installation project for an indoor or outdoor setting. These designs include the Flindt Bollard, Flindt Garden, Flindt Plaza, Flindt Wall, LP Grand and LP Xperi.

The public will then be invited to vote online for the best project in each of the six categories of the contest, pertaining to each of Flindt’s six products designed for Louis Poulsen. In addition, NEO Architectural Lighting will select an honorary winner from the votes for their participation.

The contest opened for submissions on Monday 29 April, and will remain open until 26 May. Following this, the public voting period will be open from 27 May to 2 June, before the winners are announced on 3 June.

Kent Pederson, Co-Founder and CEO of NEO Architectural Lighting, said: “We are excited to celebrate Christian Flindt’s talent and success with this unique competition. We can’t wait to see all of the projects and visions from our incredible design community.”

Christian Flindt has become known for his fresh and daring designs in conventional constructions, proving that he is a designer with the courage to experiment. Through his work with LEDs, he has succeeded in blending disparate fields such as lighting and furniture design.

Flindt began working with Louis Poulsen in 2006, when he developed the Flindt Bollard, the LP Xperi, the LP Grand, and the Flindt Wall. The latter won the Danish Design Award in 2019. His lighting designs have garnered multiple awards including the Bo Bedre Design Award in 2005 and the Bolig Magasinet Design Award for the Louis Poulsen Flindt Collection, as well as the ELFORSK Prize in 2014 by the Danish Department of Energy and Electricity for the Louis Poulsen Flindt Bollard.

More information on how to enter the contest can be found here.

TM Lighting - MasterLight

Patent-pending, the TM MasterLight is a high-performance miniature LED picture light capable of illuminating four-metre-high canvases from a minimal profile. With an uncompromising optical performance, the MasterLight features targeted light distribution, front cowl to provide excellent glare control, trim adjustment to remove spill light above canvas, and high colour rendition CRI 97+. The MasterLight is available in three slender profiles - Classic, Square and Round.

DALI Alliance launch Test and Certification Specifications for DALI+

(Worldwide) – The DALI Alliance has unveiled much-anticipated certification details for its wireless specification: DALI+ over Thread.

As lighting specifications increasingly seek smarter, sustainable, and interoperable solutions, DALI+ emerges as a crucial enabler of standardised wireless or IP-based lighting systems. The alliance's collaboration with partners such as Thread Group has resulted in the integration of enhanced security and encryption solutions, ensuring the integrity and confidentiality of data transmission within DALI+ networks.

Key features of DALI+ with Thread include:

  • Wireless Mesh Network: Thread creates an Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) based wireless mesh network. Off-the-shelf Thread border routers can also be used to connect multiple Thread networks through IP technologies such as Ethernet or Wi-Fi, allowing a highly scalable lighting control system.
  • Extended Addressing: In addition to the standard 64 control gear and 64 control device addresses, DALI+ with Thread IPv6 routing allows almost unlimited addressing capability. The usual DALI broadcast, group and short-addressing methods are included, together with IP unicast and multicast capability.
  • Interoperability: DALI+ certification includes all the benefits of the existing DALI-2 and D4i certification programmes with extensive testing, independent verification, and listing of every certified product in a publicly searchable product database to ensure a high level of product interoperability. Furthermore, DALI+ bridge devices will allow DALI-2 wired devices or systems to connect with and operate with the products in a DALI+ wireless system.
  • Device Support: DALI+ supports a wide array of control devices, including occupancy sensors, light sensors, switches, sliders, rotaries, and pushbuttons. Control gear support currently includes LED drivers with the three optional data parts: luminaire data, power and energy, and diagnostics data.

Paul Drosihn, General Manager of the DALI Alliance, expressed enthusiasm about the launch, stating: "This represents a significant advancement in DALI-enabled technology. Our members and users will experience the benefits of enhanced wireless interoperability and strengthened sustainability credentials.

“Moreover, this milestone underscores our steadfast commitment to driving innovation and nurturing eco-conscious solutions within the industry. By leveraging the potential of DALI technology, we are not only revolutionising lighting controls, but also laying the groundwork for a more sustainable future for generations to come."

Commenting on the collaboration, Klaus Waechter, VP Commercial Buildings at Thread, added: "We are proud to collaborate with the DALI Alliance in utilising Thread technology in the DALI+ specification. This partnership underscores our commitment to advancing wireless connectivity and interoperability for commercial grade markets and the lighting industry in general."

Programme announced for Net Zero Lighting

(UK) – Taking place on 2 May, the inaugural Net Zero Lighting conference will aim to help lighting manufacturers on their Net Zero journey.

Organised by The LIA and Recolight, the conference will place emphasis on the practical steps that lighting manufacturers can take to reduce the carbon emissions of all parts of their operations, to contribute to the low carbon economy.

The programme will look to address seven vital areas:

  1. Strategy: Tim Bowes and Oliver Wallace of Whitecroft share their roadmap for achieving Net Zero by 2045. Taran Rai from Epson will present the approach taken by a leading IT company to attain Net Zero. Nigel Harvey CEO of Recolight will share the organisation’s measures to minimise its carbon footprint, its successes – and the challenges it has faced.
  2. Metrics and Measurement: Bob Bohannon Head of Policy and Sustainability at The LIA will give a summary of the differing metrics, (including B Corp, LEED, EcoVadis, SBTi, Earthly, Cradle-to-Cradle and TM65.2) Anton Borovy, Certification Manager for The LIA, will explain how low carbon operations can drive great TM65.2 scores.
  3. Materials: Speakers include a representative from Wieland Nemco who will discuss how the incorporation of recycled metals into lighting products can reduce embodied carbon.
  4. Energy: This topic includes Angus Rose, of Ineco Energy, who will guide delegates through their successful implementation of a solar project on a lighting factory.
  5. Packaging: Two case studies, a packaging materials supplier and a lighting manufacturer, will explore the world of sustainable packaging, and the steps taken to reduce plastic use and incorporate sustainable materials.
  6. Transport: Andreas Adam, of Ledvance, will deliver a case study highlighting their pioneering sustainable transportation of both its luminaires to customers and its intake of raw materials.
  7. Best Practice: The Manufacturer's Perspective will be presented by Irene Mazzei of Stoane Lighting, a pioneer in sustainable manufacturing. Rebecca Hatch of WSP will explore the lighting specifier’s perspective in consideration of Net Zero credentials.

The day ends with a panel discussion addressing "Commercial Imperative or Environmental Responsibility?”

Commenting on the programme, LIA CEO, Ayça Donaghy said: “I am delighted that so many leading experts in this field are willing to share their knowledge and prowess with us all. It is already clear that the event will be filled with essential information to help lighting companies as they collectively work towards Net Zero.”

And Nigel Harvey, Recolight CEO, added: “Achieving net zero is without doubt challenging, with input and change needed right across an organization. The broad range of presentations will address many of the challenges, giving delegates the tools they need to decarbonise their operations.”

Register for the event here.

The LIA's Spring Technical Forum a resounding success

(UK) - The Lighting Industry Association (The LIA) recently hosted a member-only Spring Technical Forum, bringing together industry leaders, and experts, to explore the latest trends and advancements impacting the future of lighting. The event, held on 18 April 2024, was labelled a “huge success”.

Attendees were introduced to topics such as Building Regulations, Lighting Controls, and Government Updates. Presentations by Juan Ferrari and Bob Bohannon were exceptionally thought-provoking, focusing on the areas of "Would you trust your Lighting Designer if they used AI?" which challenged the conventional notion about artificial intelligence (AI) in lighting design, emphasising the importance of embracing technological advancements as a tool for innovation rather than fearing its implications. Bob Bohannon provided insights into upcoming legislation changes, offering attendees a clear path to track and monitor industry developments and an impactful presentation on "Sustainability Driven Operations" setting the foundation for the upcoming Net Zero Lighting Conference. (

Additionally, the forum highlighted the key role of the LIA's Technical Committees in shaping the direction of the lighting sector, and LIA members were encouraged to actively participate and contribute to these groups, underscoring the collaborative spirit that drives progress within our community.

One of the highlights of the event was the three university student award winners, who had the opportunity to present their innovative ideas on lighting design. Testament to the high-quality of their work, member representatives provided advice, guidance, and offers of additional support, as they embark on their professional career paths.

Ayca Donaghy, LIA CEO, expressed her gratitude to all speakers, the LIA team, members, and university students for their contributions to the success of the forum. "Our industry thrives on collaboration and innovation, and this event exemplified the remarkable potential that arises when we come together to share knowledge and expertise," said Ayca. "I extend my heartfelt thanks to our speakers for their presentations, our dedicated team for organising a seamless event, our members for their active participation, and our talented university students for inspiring us with their passion and creativity."

LMPG expands Fluxwerx to European Market

(Canada) – LMPG, formerly known as Lumenpulse Group, has announced the launch of its brand Fluxwerx Illumination in Europe.

Established in 2011 in British Columbia, Canada, the move is the first international expansion phase for Fluxwerx as it will simultaneously unveil its offerings in key European markets including the UK, Sweden, France, and Italy. Leveraging the robust sales network of its sister brand, Lumenpulse, Fluxwerx’s introduction has been meticulously orchestrated in collaboration with local partners in each territory, ensuring that its features and benefits resonate strongly with European lighting professionals.

François-Xavier Souvay, Founder, President and CEO of LMPG, says of the expansion: “It’s an incredibly exciting year for Fluxwerx and LMPG. We have worked hand-in-hand to bring this renowned brand to Europe, and it answers exactly what the lighting professionals are looking for – a perfect balance of aesthetics, innovation, comfort, and optical quality.”

Reuben Bartlett, President of Fluxwerx Illumination, adds: “The past years have shown an increasing demand from overseas, and Fluxwerx has felt a special connection to lighting professionals in Europe – perhaps because our products adhere to international design principles and have consistently earned accolades such as the Red Dot Awards from design juries worldwide. We’re very optimistic and strongly believe that the introduction of Fluxwerx in Europe will be highly successful.

“We look forward to collaborating with our incredibly passionate and knowledgeable European partners to meet the distinct needs of projects in the communities they serve.”

In the UK, Fluxwerx will have an exclusive partnership with Atrium. Ulysse Dormoy, Strategic Director of Atrium, says: “We are delighted to be at the forefront of introducing Fluxwerx to the UK market for the first time. This collaboration marks a significant milestone, bringing together our commitment to quality and innovation with Fluxwerx’s cutting-edge solutions.

“Together, we look forward to illuminating spaces in the UK with unparalleled brilliance and efficiency, setting a new standard in lighting technology and design with the common objective of enhancing the ambience and functionality of any environment.”

Marking the launch, Atrium’s showroom will showcase for the very first time in the UK a selection of designs, including Profile in black, a continuous lighting system with virtually seamless runs, Aperture Round in silver, a high performance suspended fixture with two unique breakthrough aesthetics, Lines Suspended in black, minimalist and ultra-thin in profile providing beam control with no view of the LED sources, and View Max, the ultimate transparent, vertical optics engineered specifically for LED.

Andrea Hartranft

Ahead of IALD Enlighten Europe, taking place in London this June, arc editor Matt Waring sits down with the IALD President, Andrea Hartranft, to discuss her career to date, and the ongoing evolution of the IALD.

Within the close-knit community of the lighting world, we are all very aware of the value of good quality lighting design, and the benefits that this can bring to a piece of architecture, a space, and most importantly, the users of the space.

However, it wouldn’t be unfair to say that outside of our lighting community, that awareness isn’t quite as strong. But this is something that Andrea Hartranft, Principal of Hartranft Lighting Design and President of the IALD, is hoping to change.

“Inside our lighting walls, we’re roaring to each other,” she tells arc. “But when you are standing outside of the walls of the lighting industry, it’s more of a meow. We need a louder voice. We need to be able to sing the values, roar the values of what quality light brings to the built environment, and to help and improve people’s lives in all the ways that we’re able. We need that voice, and my hope for the future of the IALD is that our voice strengthens, and that we can send our message outside of those walls loudly and clearly.”

Hartranft took over as President of the IALD earlier this year, succeeding Monica Luz Lobo – the culmination of a journey that began at Penn State University in the 1980s, although it was one that almost didn’t happen at all.

“I started at Penn State in journalism, because I thought I was going to write,” she recalls. “But after about a year, I wasn’t bored with Penn State as such, but I was bored; I wasn’t taking journalism classes yet, it was a lot of liberal arts that was interesting, but it wasn’t challenging. My grades didn’t show it that way, but it wasn’t challenging like I thought something like engineering might be. My dad was an engineer, but I had never really thought about it as a career. But one morning I woke up and had the words ‘architectural engineering’ in my head, and that afternoon I transferred into architectural engineering. I didn’t even know what it was, I had no clue what I was doing, but something told me that it was the path that I ought to take.”

After a couple of years, Hartranft had the opportunity to work with Craig Bernecker in the lighting lab – an experience that she feels showed her “the power of light in the human existence, how light can benefit people”. An experience, she says, that was powerful enough to guide her onto the path of lighting design.

“For the first 10 years or so of my career, I worked in engineering and lighting, working for architectural engineering firms, learning everything. But with every year that went by, it became clearer and clearer that I really wanted to just do lighting.”

With that, Hartranft began working at CM Kling + Associates, under the tutelage of her mentor, Candace Kling. Hartranft explains how the two met, and how they came to work together: “I’d had to have a hard conversation with somebody in the lighting industry, and I didn’t really know Candy at the time. We were at an event, and another person in the lighting industry came up to me and just railed into me, and Candy stood up for me. She didn’t know me, but she knew it wasn’t right, and stood up for me, and I thought ‘this is somebody that’s going to always have my back, and she always did. That in itself was a good enough reason to come work with her.

“She was probably the most generous boss a human could have,” she continues. “I got great training from someone who was super generous with their knowledge, and everything that she did communicated how much she loved being involved with lighting. And it rubs off on you – it’s hard not to get excited about it.

“Her ability to see the space three dimensionally and understand the architecture and the opportunities, just by closing her eyes – very few people have the skills that she had. She started on Broadway, and worked with Jean Rosenthal, made the transition to architectural lighting working for Howard Brandston and then Jules Horton, and ultimately starting her own firm, so she had some pretty good mentors as well, but she didn’t study lighting. She didn’t go to college for lighting, she learned by doing it. She just had an extraordinary vision; she was a great person to learn from. She gave me the opportunity to be creative and to have a voice.

“You learn from bad bosses, and believe me I learned plenty from others that were not good managers or not kind people, but she put her ego at the door and understood that we are here to serve the people whose needs we meet. We don’t do this for us. Any time I had a question, of course I got a good answer, or I got sent to a place where I would get a good answer. She taught me a lot about how to be.”

This kind of leadership meant that throughout her career since, Hartranft has always tried to stay humble and grounded, continuing to look at ways to improve her knowledge and skillset. “You never want to think that you’ve learned all you can learn. I don’t ever assume that I’m the smartest person in the room because I’m not by a long shot usually, especially with my team, I have some really smart people around me.”

Hartranft worked at CM Kling + Associates for 18 years, before branching out on her own in 2013 and forming Hartranft Lighting Design. When setting out, she sought to continue with a design philosophy that she developed while working under Kling. “Always remember that you’re doing this for others. That’s a really good place to start,” she says.

“It doesn’t matter what you think, it matters what you do. In our firm, we went through the ‘why’ of it all, and our ‘why’ was to support all, so others may thrive. I’m paraphrasing, but the idea is that from within the firm, you want people to thrive, but also in the environments that you create, you want the people to thrive.

“Even the clients that we work with, we try to educate. Anything that we touch, we want to make better, that’s not a bad place to start. Do your job, try to do it as well as you can, keep learning, and always remember that you’re doing it for other people.”

Across its portfolio of work, Hartranft Lighting Design has covered a broad spectrum of projects, covering fields as varied as retail, places of worship, infrastructure, workspace, transport, and stadiums. But across this scope, Hartranft feels that the firm’s specialism is simply “people”.

“We light for people; wherever they are, we light for them. We’re in pretty much every sector, and depending on the person in the firm, they’re going to have their preference. Everyone has their thing. We have folks that are theatrically educated, so they bring that to the table; some are architecturally educated and focus on wellbeing and sustainability and those conversations. But if it’s a good project, it’s a good project. I’m looking for good clients that really do care about how the lighting is in the spaces that they’re building.”

As a thriving business owner, Hartranft has spoken at a number of lighting events already this year – including Light + Intelligent Building Middle East in Dubai, and the Women in Lighting anniversary celebrations at Light + Building in Frankfurt, on the subject of business ownership, but she admits that running her own firm is not something that was originally in her plans. However, she is hopeful that her story can be an inspiration to others.

“I have to say, until I started my firm, I didn’t have any interest at all in running a business. It wasn’t on my radar. Candy was well aware of that. The business side of things can be a real slog, it’s hard. It is good for people to see that someone with no business background can find their way, but it’s not for the faint of heart. You have to be a risk taker, or maybe in my case be so oblivious to the risk that you jump in with both feet and hope for the best, knowing that you’ve surrounded yourself with really smart people, really good people. There are definitely some skillsets that are necessary.

“I’m thrilled that I get calls and emails from young designers wanting to have a conversation, and I want to follow Candy’s path of being as generous as I can with my experiences. They’re not necessarily their experiences, but I can share some pitfalls that I learned from. But until you experience them on your own, it’s like anything else; you don’t really get it until you have to pay your first tax bill or whatever. Then, you realise all of the things that you need to learn.”

To help prepare the next generation for potential business ownership, whether it is on their radar or not, Hartranft adds that she actively encourages the young designers on her team to read proposals, get involved in business-centric conversations, and be a part of the business management process. “We’re not perfect, but we’re trying to figure it out so that they have a voice, and they start to understand some of the things that go into at least managing a firm.

“My job now, with my partners, is making the decisions that keep the firm strong, competitive and moving forward, so I’m not as day-to-day on the design part of it, but for the younger members of the team, even if they’re not interested, even if they never want to run a practice, it’s really important for them to understand what can make or break a firm.”

Hartranft’s position as a leader and mentor now extends to her role within the IALD as the current President of the association. She has been a member of the association for more than 30 years, getting involved as soon as she heard about it. In recent years, she has served as Awards Chair, overseeing the IALD Awards process, before sitting on the Education Trust board and serving as Treasurer and then Trust President, most recently being nominated and elected to the Presidency.

“A couple of years ago, it seemed like the IALD was changing and evolving, and it was exciting. So, in my mind, I thought ‘if I’m going to do this, now would be the time’. I’d been on the board for a bit, and I felt like I had my paw in a lot of the different sectors of the IALD, and I really appreciate what I’ve gotten from it.  So, when I thought about it in those terms, I wanted to be able to give back as well.”

After spending a year as President Elect, Hartranft began her term at the beginning of this year, and she is hopeful that during her stint as President, she can continue to lead the evolution of the association.

“I feel like it’s a new day,” she says. “My predecessors worked really hard, figuring out how best to move the IALD forward, and I’m thrilled that the membership agreed with their vision for the future of the association.

“In my mind, all the pieces are in place to have open minds, and a willingness to see beyond the boundaries that had been set for the IALD in the past, and now take the conversation with membership to a whole new level.”

“Having Monica [Luz Lobo] as the President and learning from her has been invaluable – knowing that she is there to share her experience is comforting – Monica is such an incredibly kind, patient soul and I hope to learn to listen as well as she does. Working with Christopher [Knowlton, IALD CEO], who I think is absolutely brilliant and a visionary and Brandon Thrasher [IALD Treasurer], who is super smart and so pragmatic is an absolute gift – not just to me, but to the membership as a whole. Having Jill Cody at the helm for the Education Trust, Rachel Fitzgerald leading the Membership Committee, our unbelievably hard-working staff, the support of the LIRC and our incredible network of volunteers gives me great confidence in the future of the association and the profession.

“It’s a really good time for the IALD to grow and to be as inclusive as possible,” she continues. “For so long, our conversation has been about independence and what you can and can’t do, rather than being about what you can do to make things better and what you should do as a lighting designer. And now we have this opportunity to really focus on the quality conversation – how we can make things better using all the tools that are available to us and all of the knowledge that we have accrued. That’s the conversation, how do we add quality.

“That’s where I think lies the opportunity to educate our clients. It doesn’t mean that we can’t voice pride in being an independent lighting designer. I’m proud of the fact that I’m totally objective, but I’m aware that there are other ways to do lighting design, and do it at a very high level, and that’s been demonstrated by others. For me, it’s having the opportunity to move things forward, to be able to talk about lighting design and what quality lighting design really can do across the board.”

One such opportunity to talk about good quality lighting design is the IALD’s Enlighten conference. A popular fixture in the lighting design calendar, the next edition of Enlighten Europe will take place in London this June, and Hartranft is looking forward to getting the lighting community together again.

“I am so excited,” she says. “Berlin was fantastic last year, and I know London will be as well. It’s so inspiring to go to any of the Enlighten events, whether it’s Enlighten Europe, Enlighten Asia or Enlighten Americas, which will be in San Diego this Fall. It’s such great conversation.

“As a North American, I really relish the opportunity to chat with people who are not North American and get those perspectives and understand the different business models, and all the different things that people are focusing on that maybe aren’t necessarily the same exact focuses in the United States. That’s how we grow. And above all, the events are fun.

“I’ve said this before, but for me, the IALD is a home, and my great hope for it is that more and more people are able to see it as a home, a place where you go because your family is there, the people that share the things that are important to you, your values. We have that in our personal lives, but it’s nice to be in a profession and an industry where it transcends just the workday part, to becoming some of your closest friends. I consider some folks in our industry as my family, and that means that when you go to these conferences, whether they’re local, regional, national, or international, you’re getting to have conversations that matter and learning from others and maybe imparting your own knowledge to others.”

Another aspect to these conferences, particularly the Enlighten events, that stands out to Hartranft is the social aspect. “It has always been a fascination of mine how lighting people can be up having drinks until one, two, three o’clock in the morning. And yes, we’re talking about other stuff too, but it’s amazing how much lighting we’re talking about. To me, going to the events and the talks is great, but I think a lot of us really look forward to those late evening drinks, just sitting at a table in a hotel or in a bar and talking. It’s a good thing.”

The revived Enlighten conferences come after a difficult few years not just for the IALD, but for the world, as we had to adapt to a “new normal” and a new way of working. Thankfully, it would appear that we have all emerged from the other side, but this changing atmosphere, Hartranft believes, only helped to solidify its online presence, and the idea of the IALD as ‘home’.

“Here’s a global organisation, working all the time to be global-er. We worked hard to redevelop the website to be much more functional – it looks the same, but functions a whole lot better. But the next step will be to create a place where people can go, all in one place no matter where they are in the world, and get what they need. This improved functionality provides the foundations for the new learning platform that we are launching this year. The Learning Education Resource Network, LERN is aimed at bringing high quality content to professionals of every level irrespective of geographic location. Increasing the availability and benefit of being part of the IALD family.

“The IALD has over 30 regions and chapters and is continuing to grow regionally, adding new chapters, means that we able to, at a much more local level, benefit people, no matter where they are or what their needs are. The needs in the United States are very different from the needs in India or Japan or the Middle East. There’s a learning curve, but I love how the IALD is growing and finding ways to be more for the people that it serves.”

Indeed, Hartranft is hopeful as she looks to the future that the IALD can continue in its growth and evolution, to the point that it reaches outside of the “walls” of the lighting community and into the wider architectural world.

“Humans are humans, and their needs are still their needs. The physiological, the psychological, those don’t change. Maybe they evolve, but the essence of the needs humans have, those are the things that we have to serve,” she says. “How we do that may change, how lighting designers make their money may change, the impact of AI on lighting design may force a change, but I think smart businesspeople and smart designers are agile and they evolve with the times.

“I wish I had a crystal ball, but my hope is that the people that are building spaces understand better why quality lighting is important, and seek it from the lighting design, specifically the IALD community. That is a great future. That’s what we want.”

SKP Chengdu, China

A vast new luxury retail space, spanning two distinctive underground environments and a large civic park, has been given a stunning after dark identity, courtesy of a lighting scheme designed by Speirs Major Light Architecture.

Situated within a greenbelt site in China, SKP Chengdu is a vast, luxury retail masterplan that comprises three interconnected spaces – two distinctive underground retail environments, overlaid with a large civic park – in one remarkable, harmonious scheme.

Designed by architecture firm Sybarite, the entire space has been elevated to another level thanks to a lighting scheme from Speirs Major Light Architecture (SMLA).

Activating the site at night with a stunning after dark identity, the lighting design plays an integral role in enhancing the signature SKP style, creating a vibrant atmosphere for shoppers, while also supporting intuitive wayfinding and navigation.

SMLA joined the project having previously worked with Sybarite and SKP on its Beijing superstore. The existing relationship meant that the initial brief from SKP was relatively straightforward, as Benz Roos, Associate Partner at SMLA, explains: “The client said to us ‘you’ve done this great thing in Beijing, can you repeat it?’ That was the starting point, but the scope of this project turned out to be vastly different.

SMLA Senior Partner and CEO Keith Bradshaw notes: “We were incredibly excited to work on this project as our experience was that there is something special about working with Sybarite. Their ambition and encouragement lead us to do great work together. SKP Chengdu was an extraordinary opportunity – a huge public park and retail environment flowing across multiple levels.

“Working also with our close friends at Field Operations and Fountain Workshop also meant that we were able to develop ideas and solutions that are often simple but never dull. The after dark image was on everyone’s mind from the very start, and the project was a real team effort.”

Roos continues: “It was such an unusual location for a retail space - sunken into the ground with green space on top of it. Where typically in retail you have a public-facing presence, here you can’t see it from street level.

“Our scope was initially for the retail façade lighting, but this naturally grew and evolved to include the interiors and the landscape lighting for the park, until we ended up lighting essentially everything.”

Across SKP Chengdu, the project is interspersed with standout moments, from the sprawling Towers of Life – six illuminated water towers – to the glazed Central Cube, the spectacular escalator entrances, and the ‘Supernova’ – a bespoke light feature.

Connecting each of these elements together into one fluid scheme was one of the core components of the lighting approach, as Roos explains: “We had to think of this not as individual pieces, but as parts of a larger puzzle. Within that, we honed down a strategy based around some key moves. The Central Cube is a centrepiece in the space; the Towers of Life is another centrepiece; the Supernova is another.

“So, part of the concept was built around creating these fabulous sculptures and an almost museum-like experience – that was something that we embraced.

“And on the other hand, something that Torquil Macintosh from Sybarite was very open and honest about, which I appreciated, is that it is still retail – people come to this place to buy stuff. That is what the true core is. While we aim to be poetic and experiential, it’s necessarily both a spectacle and an experience – that is what retail is about. Sybarite and SKP do retail spaces very well, so it was inspiring to work with them. As a designer you want to create amazing spaces, and that is what they do.

“It’s a tricky balance however, because as lighting designers you are always thinking about the experiential moments, the arrival, and using light to create space and legibility, but in retail you are by definition the background, because you can’t overshadow the shops themselves. You need to have that journey sequencing throughout."

Within the park space atop the shopping centre, the lighting design team was mindful of retaining its luxuriant green character. The lighting of the landscape elements is carefully controlled, with bespoke fixtures creating contrast that gives rise to a stylish, ‘outdoor film set’ feel.

“We designed these fixtures as Sybarite initially didn’t want to include lighting columns,” Roos continues. “We showed them a column that created an effect that looked almost like a fashion show – where the trees become the models. The columns use indirect light and reflectors, so that there is no glare. We also made smaller versions to uplight the trees – it was a much softer way of lighting and creates a sense of drama and celebration.”

The softer approach to illuminating the park space atop SKP Chengdu is punctuated by the “major moments” of the Towers of Life – the spectacular, colour-changing lighting for six water-spewing beacon sculptures that rises to 39-metres above the ground – and the stunning glazed Central Cube, which provides access to the metro network. Here, light creates a beautiful glow with gentle animation on the water-washed glass, but equally provides vital functional light for wayfinding and orientation.

Criss-crossing the park, canyon-like avenues are cut into the landscape, connecting the 500,000sqm of submerged retail environments. Apertures are encircled at park level by lit handrails, providing a buffer between the landscape and the retail, and assisting with wayfinding and orientation. The handrails, Roos explains, were fitted with a mesh detail throughout, casting the space in a soft glow, while the patterned grazing of light along the frit creates a unified aesthetic across the site.

With multiple ways to descend, each entranceway has its own character. The open stair is a grand descent, lit simply by light along the handrail, keeping the focus firmly on the retail vista ahead. Several escalator entrances feature backlit shimmering mirrored wall panels and eccentric linear roof lights, supporting a glamorous, lively transition.

These enticing features were complemented, Roos believes, using reflective materials, such as metal canopies and the aforementioned mirrored wall panels, meaning that the lighting approach could be kept relatively simple.

“It’s not always about the luminaires, it’s about the materials and how light interacts with these materials. We worked with Sybarite on what finishes should be used; in one of the retail spaces there are large copper canopies – if these are fitted with downlights, it’s a no brainer to put white paving underneath it, because then the white paving reflects, and it lights the space much better. It’s quite simple lighting but it works by the nature of reflections. Architects often forget that with metals, you should not light the metal, you should light what is opposite it to make it come to life. But Sybarite was open to this, and it has helped the overall appearance of the space, both during the night and the day.”

The collaborative approach to bring the best out of the space is also evident on one of the entrance portals – a space where the absence of light adds to the overall aesthetic quality. Roos continues: “We talked a lot about contrast. At one of the entrance portals, the elevator shaft is black. At first, they wanted to light the shaft, but we talked about it, and I said, ‘don’t light the shaft at all’. Because everything else is lit, this black, monolithic thing becomes a centrepiece; the absence of light makes it a centrepiece.“

Within the retail space, SKP Chengdu is broken down into two separate, distinct areas: SKP-North and SKP-South. The lighting design for the common spaces, avenues, and concourses is designed to reinforce the powerful branding inherent in the design language. Details are fully integrated and the lighting focuses on enhancing the signature curved surface elements, ‘folded’ textured façade details, and revealing the material qualities of key vertical surfaces.

In SKP-N, the lighting feels positive and luxurious, while allowing the merchandise to remain the primary focus. SKP-S, however, is the cutting-edge, fashion-forward zone; here, the design is more brutalist, with a lot of textured concrete, and the lighting reflects this through a more monochromatic, industrial aesthetic.

“They are like two different worlds that live next to each other,” Roos explains. “It made the project very exciting to work on, as there is the elegant, high-end retail setting of SKP-N, and then the craziness of SKP-S, which was more of an experimental, experiential shopping environment.

“What is fun about SKP-S is that it is more about the overall experience, whereas SKP-N is calmer, and the brands are more like experiences in themselves. Because SKP-S is a brutalist space, the idea was to create a lit environment that was monochrome in colour, which would contrast with the amazing colour of the shops.”

SKP-S is also home to the bespoke Supernova light feature. Inspired by stars, planets, gravitational waves and the connection of time and space, the piece spans eight metres in diameter and consists of three layers of triangular, perforated panels that move and rotate around a giant luminous hemisphere, creating a mesmerising, otherworldly effect.

With multiple spaces, each with their own requirements and unique aesthetics, Roos’ description of the project as a “puzzle” is entirely apt. Because of this approach, he says the result is “a wonderful and remarkably cohesive tapestry of different spaces and areas, each containing different experiences in light.”

Looking back on the completed project, and the culmination of each of these different spaces, he says, is “surreal, because of the scale”.
He continues: “We were often focused on all the individual details, yet in the end, all the puzzle pieces came together. Sometimes you can only imagine so much; and to comprehend something of this scale and have the overall vision, it feels like you need to be like a film director – I’m not always sure if my brain can process that volume!

“As a designer, you always design in the context; it was always about this sunken space and the dark park on top of it. There are so many details that we can talk about for hours – we constantly zoom in and zoom out, but then the finished images came in, and this is where we finally saw the full picture coming together. We saw how all the elements work together and form this language.”

By designing a lighting scheme that is perfectly tailored to the key architectural elements of SKP Chengdu, SMLA has further contributed to this great retail space, crafting a stunning, experiential after dark identity.