Prototypes of tomorrow’s groundbreaking luminaires may have already sparked inside the classroom walls of the California Lighting Technology Center  (CLTC) at the University of California, Davis.
Students in the university’s winter 2010 Lighting Design Studio, an intensive hands-on course taught by Professor Michael Siminovitch, were tasked with designing and developing prototypes for fully working light-emitting diode (LED) lighting fixtures — a technology poised to change how we light our homes and businesses in the near future.
The real challenge: Prototypes were required to be made of nothing more than mat board and glue. Given these constraints, the resulting creations were proof that, with LEDs, sometimes less is more.
On the day of the final critique, the classroom was set aglow with 26 ambitious and innovative fixture designs ready for evaluation. Industry representatives listened to the student’s presentations, then deliberated before awarding the top prixes. Each luminaire was evaluated on the creative use of the LED technology and whether the student provided a viable solution for the proposed market niche.
The 2010 winners are: Anne Rubenstein (first place) for her downlight (shown here); Josephine Pan (second place) for her wall sconce designed for wayfinding around corners, and Anna Lok (third place) for her garden luminaire.
Kai Wan and Ashley Huot received honorable mentions for ingenuity and creativity.
CLTC collaborates with lighting industry partners to provide the necessary components to build functional prototypes. The project allows students to work through technical challenges from the first day of class and provides valuable practice with an emerging technology that will likely reshape the lighting industry.
“Design education is more than the evaluation of the end results, as learning occurs through the creative process," Siminovitch says. "Our lighting industry sponsors fuel the imaginative potential of tomorrow’s lighting designers with their support and collaboration.”
The top prototypes will be featured at this year's Lightfair Intl. , May 12-14, in the Tyco Electronics booth (#2621). Small scholarships, also funded by the sponsors, will assist the winners with travel costs to attend the conference and trade show.