Interior Design Student Wins Second Place in National Lighting Competition

Ringling College interior design student, Andrea Lynch, took home second place in the Robert Bruce Thompson Lighting Competition this year. This competition, the largest Lighting Fixture Design competition in the United States, invites work from the best of the best in Interior Design, with its own committee recommending entrants be of undergraduate senior or graduate level. Students from myriad programs compete, including architectural engineering programs, architecture programs, interior design programs, theatre, and industrial design programs.

On top of that, this year they selected only three projects for awards: the first, second, and third place winners. 

Only a junior, Andrea Lynch seized second place for her design, Skyspan, earning her $2,500 award and a plaque. Discover her processes and inspiration below:

This year we were challenged with creating a vanity fixture for a high-end sushi restaurant in California. Part of the challenge was creating a fixture that was not only aesthetically appealing, but also produced light that would flatter the face and reduce glare.   

My design, Skyspan, was inspired by the image of the Sun setting over a glittering ocean. I noticed that there is a very specific and flattering light cast by the low angle of the Sun and the light reflected upward by the ocean.  I tried to recreate that light with a fixture that emits task lighting from a mobile LED unit and provides general lighting using recycled polycarbonate chips that reflect the light of LED units hidden behind the mobile base.  The fixture is totally recessed, floor to ceiling height, to give the impression of it spanning the entire vertical visual range.  The mobile LED unit is faced with a proximity sensor, so it self-adjusts to the face level of the user. As the user gets closer, to touch up makeup, for example, it narrows the focus of two parabolic mirrors to provide more intense illumination. 

My instructor, Seongwoo Nam, did an excellent job of preparing us for this competition. We brainstormed dozens of ideas before landing on one that seemed like an elegant solution to the design problem.  Seongwoo took extra time and care with each of his students to make sure we all designed a luminaire that we could be proud of. I think the challenge this year was more about addressing the specific task lighting needs than creating a stand-alone sculptural piece. 

I am exceedingly pleased to have won second place in the RBT luminaire design competition. The high quality of work exhibited in this competition is a credit to Ringling students and instructors.  

Ringling College Interior Design students have dominated this competition since 2005, when Ringling students began participating, producing more winners than any other school. Ringling students have won at least one award for nine out of the last 11 years participating. 

See Andrea's winning design!

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