Winners for the 09 “Audible Light” Student Design Competition

From the glow of anticipation, to the brilliance of the entries, the NYC Section of the IES, hosted an exhilarating Ninth Annual Student Design Competition and Exhibition, March 4th and 5th at the Helen Mills Theater.

Students of lighting, architecture, interior design, art, product design, photography and electrical engineering programs created  three-dimensional work designed to conceptually convey a sensory perception of sound. This exercise in “synesthesia” elicited more than fifty five submissions in a diverse range of variations on the theme. All displayed a level of creativity and ingenuity that not only impressed those who attended the reception and exhibition opening, but also made selection of the winners difficult for the jury.

The Judges

Christine Hope, Focus Lighting
Charles Matz, AIA and RIBA
Jack Weisberg, US Sound Engine 27
Sun Hee Lim, Senior Associate at Johnson Light Studio
Marc Clemenceau Bailly, founding partner of Gage/Clemenceau Architects


This year’s theme – Audible Light asked students to create a 3-dimensional study using light to mimic the properties of sound.

First Place Award of $3,000 cash and participation in the prestigious one week lighting design workshop in Europe sponsored by PLDA, Professional Lighting Designer’s Association, was won by Hye Yeun Lee, of Parsons for “Subway Sound”. Inspired by her daily subway ride, where her favorite distraction en route is to “look at the beautiful lights,” her project captures the experience spatially, kinetically and visually. One can sense speeding through a tunnel with the movement of lights evoking the sounds of a screeching train. An interior design student at Parsons The New School for Design, Lee’s project is the first lighting design she has ever attempted. Instructor: Randy Sabedra.


Second Place Award of $1500 went to Ching-Yu Lin for his “Hey! It’s a Party”. An interactive turntable design, it responds with light  to one’s touch when spinning records in  patterns that shine through, simulating and stimulating a sense of rhythm. Lin is an MFA Lighting Design student at Parsons School of Design. Instructor: Nelson Jenkins.


Third Place Award of $1000 was won by the team of Sukmo Koo, an Industrial Design student at Pratt Institute, and Young Taek Oh, who studies Interactive Telecommunications at NYU. Titled “Make It Rain-Rain Box,” their project mimics sound of raindrops on a roof with “drops” of light that are activated when one pushes a button. Instructor: Karen Stone.


Honorable Mention Award consisting of a free trip to GE’s “Lighting Institute” at Nela Park, Cleveland, Ohio, was given to two MFA candidates in Lighting Design at Parsons School of Design; Kacie Stigliano was recognized for “Rhythms,” and Sungbin Ma for “The Sound of Glitz.” Instructor for both students: Nelson Jenkins.