Judges Paul Nulty, Architectural Lighting Designer; Maida Hot MD, Gia Equation; Simon Terry MD, Anglepoise; Mark Major, Director Speirs + Major and Samuel Wilkinson Designer met at One Alfred Place, London to judge the WAN Lighting Awards, 2012.
Thomas Schielke, Architect at ERCO and Archlighting was also a (remote) judge.

Welcome to the second WAN Lighting Awards, showcasing some of the best from within the international lighting industry. These awards consist of three distinct categories, and were judged accordingly: Lighting Projects, demonstrating highly innovative lighting schemes that push existing boundaries, technological expertise and design excellence; Lighting Products, encompassing cutting edge design and innovation, and Lighting Installations, illustrating ingenuity, beauty and imagination.

The first-class panel of judges were impressed with the huge range of entries and enjoyed whittling them down to worthy winners. From flamboyant installations to subtle lighting features and ingenious lighting products, the scope of work up for critique was diverse and thought-provoking. Here's a breakdown of the day:

The Loblaws Maple Leaf Gardens lighting project in Toronto kicked things off, and the jury were united in appraising it as an attractive piece of retail lighting. Mark commented: 'It fulfils its USP effectively and does deliver in terms of being different from your usual supermarket, including the lighting techniques and the approach they've adopted, but it's conventional. Which prompted Paul to add: 'I'm inclined to agree with Mark, although I do think that it's a very nice piece of retail lighting.'

The Urban Railway Station in Vienna followed next, and the overall response from the jury was that the scheme likely functioned well. Simon noted: 'I like the idea of the lighting along the edge from a safety point of view.' Paul concluded: 'It's probably a very nicely engineered lighting scheme.'

The discussion then turned to The Burlington Performing Arts Centre in Ontario in Canada. Paul, who happens to know Burlington very well, pointed out that 'Burlington is a very provincial little town, so to have something this contemporary in this context is very interesting.'

Moving onto Thyssenkrupp Quarter in Essen, the judges immediately - and unanimously - commended it for its clean, simple aesthetic. Paul felt that is was an impressive example of a well-considered, simple design and described it as 'very Germanic'. Mark commended it for being 'very simple, clean and typical of their style', while the fact that they used natural light alongside the integrated lighting greatly appealed to Simon. Overall, everyone was in agreement that Licht Kunst Licht AG 'definitely do these types of project very, very well', and it was consequently shortlisted.

The Chongquing Mountain & City Sales Office was noted for being 'technically good' by Paul, and each judge agreed that there was a lot of tension in the space. Samuel found the approach excessive, commenting: 'It's full-on architecturally and it's full-on lighting-wise.'

The jury felt that ESPA Life at Corinthia Hotel in London exemplified a very nice, well lit spa. Paul stated: 'it's a lovely piece of lighting and it has been done very well - I'd shortlist it for sure.'

With Mark situated elsewhere in the vicinity, well out of earshot, the judges' thoughts turned to The St Botolph Building in London designed by Spiers + Major. It made the shortlist due to the remaining jury unanimously agreeing that it represented 'a very, very nice piece of lighting design; what they do, they do extremely well.'

With its stately façade and wonderful architectural detailing, The Rookery is a beloved icon in Chicago. Lighting such a prestigious building required a highly judicious approach, and the jury were united in concluding that this was achieved successfully - and with tremendous subtlety. The judges - clearly all equally enamoured with The Rookery - strongly felt that it represented a wonderful lighting project, is beautifully executed and displayed an admirable appreciation for the building and its heritage. Maida commented: It's nice, very subtle and really effectively explores the depths of the façade.' Mark responded with: 'I agree. It is beautiful and very subtle. It's a precious, listed building so they had to do it extremely carefully, and they have, incredibly well. It's like candlelight.' Being the recipient of such positive feedback and appreciation, fittingly, The Rookery was named as the winner of the Lighting Projects category.

Shifting from Lighting Products to Lighting Installations, the judges turned their attention to the striking installation Reflective Flow in Qatar, which triggered plenty of discussion. The jury ultimately felt that it was worthy of being highly commended in the Lighting Installations category. Maida explained that as an installation she found it 'exciting'. Pinpointing its ostentatious appeal in light of its geographical location, Simon commented: 'It's almost like it's a bit of bling up in the ceiling, which likely sits extremely well in its environment. It's a bespoke piece of art; all about flamboyance, and no doubt it would have had an astronomical budget.' The installation was shortlisted for its technical excellence.

Next on the list was Lonsdale Street in Dandenong, which received the judges' recognition in terms of the project's location. Mark got the discussion rolling by noting: 'Contextually, getting something like this passed in Australia is impressive in itself. Paul was similarly impressed adding: 'Definitely, well done to them for getting it through in the first place.'

The Reused Bottle Christmas Tree in Spain encouraged a lively discussion and an incredible amount of praise from each of the judges. Unanimously beguiled, Mark applauded it for its ingenuity and for the fact that it was likely created using a relatively modest budget. 'There's a lot of intelligence displayed here, even down to the placing of the clear/green bottles. It's smart.' Simon thought it was a great example of one single idea, well done and commented: 'It's honest, simple and well designed. I really like it.' Paul found it to be 'beautifully simple', while Mark summed it up perfectly: 'It's a project for the age of prosperity'. Proving that humbly funded projects often come out trumps, The Reused Bottle Christmas tree was crowned the winner of the Lighting Installations category.

Finally, moving onto the Lighting Products entries, Molo's eye-catching Cloud Softlight Mobile led the way, which although 'texturally interesting' [Simon] and certainly beautiful to look at, triggered concerns regarding its longevity. However, due to its interesting and beautiful design, the judges did agree that it should be shortlisted in the Lighting Products category.

28 series glass-blown pendants by Bocci caught the judges' eye for its attractive aesthetic. Samuel commented: 'It's a category in itself - old style, filament lamps.' Paul described it as 'a dying breed', while Maida concluded: 'It's ambient lighting that's the idea. It's a nice product.'

Tray Lamp by Bsweden attracted a certain amount of positive feedback from all of the judges for its accessibility and functionality. Samuel explained:'I like the concept and friendliness of it. However, the design could be cleaner. For example, it could have feet and a slot for the wire to be tucked in out of view.' Nonetheless, the cheerful, functional aspect earned it a place on the shortlist.

The jury unequivocally agreed that the CSYS LED Task Light was a master class in engineering and a highly accomplished product, however, its aesthetic quality was questioned, as was its affordability [for your average consumer]. Simon commented: 'It does display brilliant engineering. The work that has gone into it is considerable - there's no doubt about that.' While Maida felt that 'essentially, it's a gadget.' Rounding things up, Mark said: It's very clever on many levels and a beautifully designed product.'

Next in line was Equo LED Desk Lamp with Simon saying: 'It's got a bit of personality. It also looks like it has good movement.' Maida found it 'effectively simple.' But added that it 'is a tricky one as consumers are still responding to diminishing linear LED lights, but in terms of scale, we're coming at it at a different perspective.' The entry was shortlisted in the Lighting Products category.

Blancowhite designed by Estudi Arola followed next. Lending itself as a luminous piece of shelving, a wall lamp or as a table-top bookshelf, Blanowhite's versatility and efficiency greatly appealed to the judges - hence why it also made the shortlist.

Hailed for its wonderful use of material and shape, form, movement, plus the fact that it's recognisably a lampshade, Armadillo by Luziferlamps forged forward as the eventual winner of the Lighting Products category. Samuel commented: 'I really like it even though there are a few little details that could be improved.' Mark liked that its function is instantly recognisable, plus concluded that 'crucially, it has longevity.'
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