From a Caribbean villa to a private residence in Aspen, CO (pictured), the 2009 GE Edison Award  competition honorees were stellar residential design projects with innovative lighting schemes.
The coveted award was established in 1983 to recognize excellence in lighting design. Projects are judged on functional excellence; architectural compatibility; effective use of state-of-the-art lighting products and techniques; appropriate color, form and texture revelation; energy effectiveness; and cost effectiveness.
Three residential projects — both domestic and foreign — were recognized in the Residential Design category, with an Award for Residential Design – Excellence, Award of Residential Design – Merit and one Special Citation.
The Award for Residential Design – Excellence went to the Oceanfront Estate project in the Caribbean by Sean O’Connor and Martha Lopacki of Sean O’Connor Lighting  in Beverly Hills, CA. The owners of this Caribbean estate, which is comprised of seven buildings on three acres, wanted to create a relaxed, sophisticated and easy-to-operate vacation retreat for themselves and their guests. The multitude of spaces and the variety of finishes chosen by the project's architects and interior designers played a dominant role in the selection and integration of the lighting. Attention to detail at every level was paramount to the lighting design's success and necessitated that virtually all lighting fixtures, both architectural and decorative, be completely custom designed, requiring close coordination with manufacturers and contractors.
The lighting design for this project is an arresting composition of layers that meets the client’s aesthetic and functional requirements. The villa's sprawling great room is given scale and sparkle with custom 5-foot birdcage pendants. Custom cantilevered accent lights with GE 50W ConstantColor Precise MR16 lamps mounted discreetly on a recessed track in the top of the crown molding, serve as flexible art lighting. To meet the clients' request for high light levels in the 17-foot high great room, custom 3 1/2-inch square, flangeless downlights are fitted with GE 100W AR111 lamps mounted within the 4 1/2-inch tongue-and-groove ceiling. These fixtures can be re-lamped from the attic. Shelf displays are illuminated with GE 20W MR11 lamps and xenon sources concealed within the millwork. A central home lighting system allows for multiple lighting scenes. A feeling of relaxed warmth was created throughout the estate's exterior spaces with GE 35W MR16 lamps. Hard glass decorative incandescent lamps in antique plaster sconces light the vaulted pool loggia while custom bronze gas lanterns act as visual markers at the beach stairs.
The Award of Residential Design – Merit went to Deborah Witte of Witte|Ayotte Light  in Carbondale, CO for Unexpected Discovery, a private, 7,500-square-foot residence in Aspen, CO, that balances environmental consciousness with a masterful lighting experience. The residential lighting design for this home showcases the aesthetic beauty and energy effectiveness of halogen lighting combined with a residential lighting control system. Aside from the aesthetic allure of the spaces, the day and night time lighting levels achieved lumens per watt throughout most of the home that exceeds the efficiencies of most office buildings. The firm used 13 MR16 lamp types, six lens types and louvers to provide energy-effective lighting. The living room operates at 0.16W per square foot in the low setting, 0.58W per square foot on medium and 0.89W per square foot on the high setting. Control stations are designed for ease of use, and scenes include energy-saving, whole-house sweeps, "vacation" and "away" modes.
This residential lighting design expertly manipulates layers of light to reveal the architecture, interior finishes and furnishings. It also provides the client with an easily controlled menu of lighting scenes for flexibility and energy savings.
The Special Citation award went to the virtual restoration of San Augustin’s Church project in Zacatecas, Mexico by Elias Cisneros, Georgina Salazar and Valy Tremblay.