Interior Design Students Win National Light Fixture Design Competition

Interior Design Students Win Awards in 2015 Robert Bruce Thompson Annual Student Light Fixture Design Competition

Ringling College interior design students Chelsea Brukardt and Rose Sigona both received awards from the Robert Bruce Thompson Annual Student Light Fixture Design Competition. Brukardt was awarded 1st place in the competition and Sigona won the Special Citation award, securing two of the four awards of the competition for Ringling College students.

Both Brukardt and Sigona were students in this year's Interior Design Lighting class for interior design juniors. The students in this class have participated in this competition since 2005 and have dominated the competition by producing more winners than any other school.

Chelsea Brukardt, Interior Design, 2016
Chelsea's design, Surrealist, won 1st place in the competition, gaining her a $5,000 cash award, trophy, her design featured in a future issue of Architectural Lighting magazine. 

Her Surrealist design focused on the surrealist nature that evolved through revolt and the human subconscious.  It features forms and clusters that are mobile, so the fixture itself lets each person have the chance to sculpt it so that they can be the artist and create different moods for the environment.

Chelsea told us, "I am honored to receive first place in the 2015 National Robert Bruce Thompson Lighting Competition, an independent student design competition for the purpose of promoting education and awareness of light fixture design. The RBT Lighting judges also stated that they are always impressed with the work from Ringling College, especially at the level we are when entering the competition. I am privileged to be a student at Ringling College of Art + Design for its outstanding instructors and opportunities."  

This competition is open annually to full time students across the country in the fields of architecture, industrial design, engineering, and interior design. Due to the high level of competition, it is recommended that only senior and graduate level students apply. I am elated that my design, Surrealist, won first place as a junior interior design student. The competition sponsor was Seongwoo Nam, our professor for interior design third year lighting class. He encouraged my design from the beginning and consistently gave constructive critique and support. He truly cares about each and every student and their progress in design. The judges of the competition said the Surrealist lighting design was, “sculptural but functional, creative, innovative, sexy, and unique.” 

The judges also commented that Chelsea's design is fashion forward and well developed.  They also appreciated the flexibility and unique configuration provided by the modular components and liked the fusion of art and light.  

See Chelsea's winning concept and design

Rose Sigona, Interior Design, 2016
For her design, Bioluminescence, Rose won the Special Citation award and earned $500 cash and a plaque.  

Rose's Bioluminescence concept was created after “Arachnocampa Luminosa,” or “Glow Worms," in which both the fly and the larval are luminescent, and found in caves, ocean and grottoes. The definition of Bioluminescence is when a living organism makes light as a chemical reaction.  Her design imitates the elegant form of the organism and expresses its structure and movement.  

According to Rose, "The Lighting class prepared me for this competition by allowing me to explore different concepts/ideas and my instructor, Seongwoo Nam, also prepared me by giving me constructive criticism while being supportive and motivating. I learned a lot on how to use layers of light to create an atmosphere. This helped me with my prospect that showcased my light fixture design." 

The judges said that Rose's design was a poetic representation and if the magnetic field idea worked it would be magical.  

See Rose's winning concept and design 

About the competition
The RBT National Student Light Fixture Design Competition is the largest student lighting fixture design competition in US and requires that entrants must be full time students, enrolled in an accredited academic degree program in the United States.  Approved programs include architectural engineering programs, architecture programs, interior design programs, theatre, or industrial design programs. Because of the high level of competition, the competition sponsors recommend that entrants be undergraduate seniors or graduate students. 

Bruce Thompson was a twenty-five year veteran of the lighting industry.  He had a broad background in the profession having worked in theatre, retail, as a factory representative, and concluding his career in manufacturing as vice president of sales and marketing. Throughout his career Bruce emphasized design and innovation. He was also an accomplished light fixture designer. He established this independent competition to encourage creativity and education in light fixture design and manufacturing.  The competition is administered by The Robert Bruce Thompson Trust, which was formed solely for the purpose of conducting the competition. 

To learn more about this competition and this year's design problem, visit

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