The International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD) recently announced the winners of the 36th annual International Lighting Design Awards. Twenty-three projects from 12 countries were recognized—including exteriors, interiors, workspaces, museums, hospitality sites and a place of worship.

Of the 23 projects recognized, 11 earned Awards of Excellence and 12 earned Awards of Merit. The highest point score winner across all entries, in addition to receiving an Award of Excellence for their project, received the IALD Radiance Award for Excellence in Lighting Design, the highest honor in architectural lighting design. From the 11 possible recipients, the winner of this award was unveiled during the awards ceremony in Philadelphia.

Accepting the IALD Radiance Award for Excellence in Lighting Design were Ben Ferris and Graham Rollins, the project team from Lighting Design International for the Kimpton Fitzroy in London, England UK. Their scheme engenders a warm and inviting, yet incredibly intriguing entrance for a building that has stood the test of time.

The Kimpton Fitzroy boasts a thé-au-lait terracotta façade whose complexity rivals the palatial interior of the London hotel. Lighting the exterior required a design as complex as the architecture itself, but restrained enough to highlight rather than muddy the individual features.

Avoiding the temptation to light every single detail, a combination of low-output and high-output fittings are used to balance the intensity across the entire building. These effects were considered both from the perspective of the entire building as well as on each individual level, creating linear compositions of light.

The building includes multiple tall features from the two towers that frame the main entrance to columns throughout. For the ground level columns 10W 10º uplighters are used, while the first floor balconies are uplit by 7W 10º uplighters.The turquoise turrets and corner domes are washed by 10W 9º x 59º linear grazers to throw light upwards. The design features heavy shadowing against the tiling, adding drama for street-level viewers as well as viewers further away in the square.

Judges noted that the project exhibited a “restrained elegance,” a tribute to the incredible architecture designed by the stunning Charles Fitzroy Doll in 1898. The designers smartly use the architecture to conceal the fittings, an essential choice to not distract from the rhythm of the lighting scheme and the building itself.

Lighting effects are repeated across levels in part because of the limited viewing angles due to the trees and other buildings in Russell Square. These frame each façade, illuminating the structural lines of the building.

To strengthen the frame of the building, each window reveal includes 1.7W 12º highlighters aimed at the corners of the building. Lights are positioned to ensure they do not spill into any guestrooms, preserving the interior ambiance.

Acknowledging the historic landmark, multiple street level additions are included to entice and surprise passersby. Detail lighting emphasizes the column details, coats of arms, shields, door reveals, and four British queens guarding the entrance.

The overall effect on the warm terracotta offers guests and admirers an opportunity to see the depth and dimension of the features as the combination of strategically placed uplights and highlights creates dramatic shadows and pointsof interest.

Rather than overwhelm, the project demonstrates how an intimidating building can be “made beautiful and simple with thoughtful considerations,” commented one judge. “It is about lighting the key elements and selecting elements that they do not illuminate as well, providing beautiful layerings of light.”

Congratulations to all the winners. To see the winning projects, click here.