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Lighting, design, theatre, and architecture from an NYC lighting designer.

Why Lighting Design Makes Me Happy – And Why it Might Make You Happy Too

November 19, 2011


nyc "new york" city skyline lights glow night

A few nights ago I had the good fortune to run across a good friend who I hadn’t seen since I left grad school almost six months ago. We quickly got to chatting about life updates, and I started filling him in on the details of my new job (which I started almost three months agohow time flies). As I rattled on about new projects and learning experiences he stopped me and made an observation that, unexpectedly, hit me like a ton of bricks.

“You look really happy,” he said.

I paused. I hadn’t really thought about it lately. And then there was a moment of instant clarity, as if the clouds had parted and a ray of sunshine had suddenly burst through …

I realized: I am. I’m very happy.


Why am I so happy?

I’m happy because good lighting makes me happy.

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Lighting a Modern Lingerie Pop-Up Shop – BOFFO NY

Boffo nyc fashion "the lake and stars" fashion lingerie softlab architecture design lighting "focus lighting" retail "pop-up" "pop-up shop"

Boffo nyc fashion "the lake and stars" fashion lingerie softlab architecture design lighting "focus lighting" retail "pop-up" "pop-up shop"

Who says lingerie shopping has to involve pink polka-dotted wallpaper or flashing pink neon signs?

In this modern lingerie pop-up shop that opened yesterday in Soho, the architects at Softlab found a creative way to engage shoppers by slowly revealing the product in a sort of “architectural striptease,” using viewing tunnels to reveal small details of each piece of lingerie – a patch of fabric here, a strap there – before seeing the completed garments and ensembles.

Is it getting warm in here, or is it just me?

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Lighting the Statue of Liberty (Workshop Model)

"statue of liberty", statue, liberty, "federick bartholdi", model, workshop, scale, light, lighting, design, installation, "new york", "focus lighting", architecture, architectural

"statue of liberty", statue, liberty, "federick bartholdi", model, workshop, scale, light, lighting, design, installation, "new york", "focus lighting", architecture, architectural

Lady Liberty … a New York icon … now on view at 61st and Madison!

Yes, you heard right; the famous statue has found a new home on the Upper East Side.  Well, not the actual statue, of course, but a casting of the original Frederick Bartholdi workshop model that stands just over nine feet tall.  One of only a handful of castings in the world, this statue was enlarged by the sculptor sixteen times to create the statue sitting in New York Harbor today.  It’s a little piece of New York history dropped right on Madison Avenue.  The best part: you don’t have to wait in line for hours to see her!

We recently completed the lighting installation designed to make this bronze beauty shine all night long, and it was such a fun project I thought I’d share some photos for those who can’t see her in person.

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Nuit Blanche NYC 2011

October 2, 2011


I ventured out into Brooklyn last night for the annual Nuit Blanche (“White Night”) NYC festival of light.  Started last year in New York, the festival occurs on the same night as others in (mostly European) cities around the world, and brings together artists of all different flavors to light up the night in the industrial waterfront of Greenpoint, Brooklyn.  This year’s turnout of artists and installations, unfortunately, wasn’t as strong as last year‘s (most likely due to rain early in the night), however, the attendance was just as enthusiastic.

nuit blanche festival "bring to light" nyc 2011 light art artist installation lighting design brooklyn greenpoint

What is great about this festival is its timing.  Falling on the first day of October on the first chilly night of the season, it is the essence of Fall in New York City.  The shadowy, mysterious atmosphere at the festival also serves as a great introduction to the Halloween season — wide-eyed kids run around with glow sticks in hand, the first hints of costumes start to appear, leaves crunch underfoot, and everything around you is just a little bit off.

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Fashion Meets Lighting and Architecture – BOFFO NY

light lighting design fashion architecture "new york" nyc "focus lighting"
light lighting design fashion architecture "new york" nyc "focus lighting"

Photo by Evan Joseph Images.

A quick update on an exciting new project we just opened — Focus Lighting has joined forces with the Team at BOFFO NY to light this fashion-inspired pop-up store on Walker Street downtown!

The store features the creative digitally-fabricated architecture of Marc Fornes & THEVERYMANY and the beautiful jewelry collection of Irene Neuwirth.

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Lighting up Times Square with Starbucks

September 18, 2011


light lighting design architectural "Times Square" nyc coffee retail truss theatrical "new york" fresnel LED "Focus Lighting"

It was a busy week at the office (or not at the office) as we went into final “aim and adjust” for the new Starbucks concept store opening at 47th Street and Broadway in Times Square. This was my first project opening since being hired at Focus Lighting, so it was particularly exciting for me to be involved.

light lighting design architectural "Times Square" nyc coffee retail truss theatrical "new york" fresnel LED "Focus Lighting"

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Announcement: My New Job!

August 28, 2011


Big news!

I have officially accepted a job offer at Focus Lighting in New York City!  After several months spent interning there this summer, I have made the decision to take a leave of absence from the MFA Lighting Design program at Parsons the New School for Design and pursue my love of lighting with the team at Focus Lighting.  I’m really excited about the opportunity and I’m looking forward to the experience of working with such a talented group of people.  I want to send my sincere and heartfelt thanks to everyone who has helped me to get to this point (you know who you are).

focus lighting architectural design new york

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Sparks of Inspiration – Design and Designers

August 6, 2011


Every once in a while in my design work I come across something that really blows me away — something that drives me to work harder, try something new, or think in a new way.  It’s like a tiny explosion goes off in my brain, and then suddenly I snap back to reality, my focus sharpens, and my creative drive kicks into turbo mode.  It’s these exciting moments of inspiration that keep me going and push me to be a better designer — and I absolutely love when they happen.

Below are some of the people and ideas that sparked my imagination this week and really got my creativity and productivity flowing.  Hopefully you’ll find something that inspires you, too!


This documentary about Seattle-based architecture firm BUILD expresses beautifully of a lot of the things I love about being a designer – from being constantly “design conscious” to conceptions of people interacting with spaces.  It reminded me why I love what I do, and really motivated me to put extra effort into my work these past few days. If you’re at all interested in architecture or design, I would highly recommend reading their blog, too.

The BMW Guggenheim Lab has stopped in New York City! I’ve recently developed a new interest in urban planning and design in the course of my lighting work, and this mobile lab that has set up shop on Houston St. downtown sounds like the perfect place to indulge in that interest. The structure of the lab is also interesting in and of itself — it’s a traveling classroom, lecture hall, and workshop for solving problems in the city.  I’m thinking about heading downtown to a few events while it’s here. Watch the video to learn more.


I was fortunate enough this past weekend to have the free time to stand in line for over two hours to get in to see the Alexander McQueen exhibit at the Met — the verdict: totally worth it.  First, the clothing was simply out of this world — I’d never seen anything like it before.  Now I know fashion and lighting don’t seem like they have a lot in common, but the theatricality of McQueen’s style was absolutely an inspiration for me.  The colors, textures, and shapes were a visual feast to behold.  Here was a designer that stretched his ideas to their wildest ends — and people admired and respected him for it.  Second, the exhibit environment was almost as dramatic as the clothing.  Each line was showcased in a unique, I’d venture to say architectural, environment ranging from the concrete austerity you see above to environments incorporating holographs, mirrors, projections, turntables, and more.  I only wish the lighting had done more to showcase the vibrant color of the clothing (most of it was lit in yellowed halogen lamps), but the impact of the environments in combination with the fashion more than made up for it.  I’m sorry to say that it closes tomorrow, so if you haven’t been — GO NOW!


Finally, I ran across the website of Steven Harris Architects this week and I had to mention them for the stunning photography of their work.  Check out their portfolio photos — the lighting is fantastic in all of them! Really a great showcase of how architecture and light can work together in harmony. Check it out!

That’s all for now — I hope to bring together more posts like this in the future.  For more day-to-day inspirations and news follow me on Twitter!

Manhattanhenge 2011

July 11, 2011


manhattanhenge manhattan sunset summer sun evening light "42nd street"

This is a photo I took last night of the “Manhattanhenge” phenomenon, which I had only recently learned of. Manhattanhenge is the term for the time of the year when the position of the setting sun aligns perfectly with the New York City grid, allowing boxed-in New Yorkers to enjoy a spectacle that most other people can enjoy year round.  The official date of the phenomenon is tonight at 8:30pm if you are interested in seeing it. Only in New York!

My Lighting Internship in Photos

July 10, 2011


Photo-journal time!

I really enjoy taking photos, and I take a lot of them while I’m working or running around town, so I thought it would be fun to share some of the various projects I have been working on as an intern at Focus Lighting so far this summer.  I’ve been working mainly on hotel and restaurant projects, assisting the designers in the office with everything from drawing lighting plans in AutoCAD, to researching and testing design ideas, to adjusting and focusing the lighting on job sites.

The photos below show some of the “mockups” I’ve built to test out some of the designer’s ideas, as well as some of the places I’ve been inside a new hotel project downtown. Take a look!

(Side note: If you’ve been following me on Twitter you may recognize some of these photos, as I usually post them online after I take them — so if you’re interested in seeing more, follow me!)

light lighting design "lighting design" architecture architectural mockup fixture test idea

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