Lighting designers celebrate 20th annual Ready Steady Light competition

2nd November 2023

(UK) – The Society of Light and Lighting (SLL) held its annual Ready Steady Light competition on 17 October, in partnership with Rose Bruford College and the International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD), in London.

Hosted at Rose Bruford College, the competition attracted a range of lighting designers from students to company directors. 15 teams competed against each other to design and create an exterior installation with a limited range of equipment in 180 minutes. The teams were tasked with lighting their site in its natural state with the equipment provided. Each team had to overcome challenges without a budget and within the time constraints.

The Technical award was judged by Andrew Bissell from Ridge and Partners, SLL’s Immediate Past President, and Kael Gillam and Juan Ferrari from Hoare Lea. The artistic reward was judged by Emma Cogswell and Beatrice Bertolini from the IALD, alongside Sofia Alexiadou, the Programme Director BA Creative Lighting Control, Programme Director MA Light in Performance and freelance Lighting Designer. The much-coveted Peer Prize award was judged by the contestants taking part.

Xavio Design was awarded the Artistic Award and the Peer Prize for its installation, which took inspiration from the Mexican holiday Day of the Dead. The team lit the façade of one of the oldest college buildings, accentuating its cross-like anchor plates and window frames in the shape of a cross. They used playful colours to create a joyful message to reflect the colourful Mexican celebration.

Senior Lighting Designer at Xavio Design, Alessandra Bertolini said: “We were thrilled to win. I was so proud of my colleagues and the way each individual contributed to the project. It was the most amazing piece of teamwork I’ve ever experienced. To win the Peer Prize was particularly rewarding as there were some great installations from the other teams, so we really didn’t expect to win.”

The SLL Technical Award was presented to Arup, for its installation representing the four seasons. Graduate Lighting Designer at Arup, Coleman Deady Ridge, explained: “Rather than creating one large lighting installation we decided to use our luminaires to form four small scale, theatrical installations based on the four seasons. We used different lighting techniques and colours to express the feelings and emotions of each scene.”

Ridge continues: “Our team was made up of early careers people from Arup, with four of the five team members having only joined the company in September, so we were really proud to win the Technical Award. It was a really fun chance to explore how lighting can be used and a fantastic team building experience for us all.”