A private residence in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, was one of the big winners at this year’s Lumen Awards . The awards are given out each year by the New York City Section  of the Illuminating Engineering Society  (IESNYC) to honor excellence and innovation in lighting design.
The lighting for the 32,000-square-foot home was done by Hervé Descottes and Etienne Gillabert from L’Observatoire Intl.  Descottes, principal for the firm, says the residents of the home, who belong to three generations of a Chinese-Malaysian family, had a specific idea of what kind of atmosphere they wanted.
“The family was looking for a signature design, something un-ordinary, something out of the box,” says Descottes. “Nevertheless, they were always extremely concerned that it not be like other modern homes that have very cold architecture. They wanted warm lighting and a very family-oriented feel.”
Descottes says the designers achieved this by using very soft materials — like silk or paper — for shades and by hiding the fixtures in the wood, creating a warm, soft atmosphere.
Matthew Tirschwell, President of Tirschwell & Co. Inc. Architectural Lighting Design  and one of the Lumen Awards judges, says he appreciated the overall look of the lighting design, which he described as “linear, with dollops of light.”
“Overall, the lighting was carefully thought out for the environment, with the location of lighting in and under architectural elements,” says Tirschwell.
Marilyn Sloane, principal at Energy Efficient Lighting Design and another judge, agrees that all of the elements in the home seemed to mesh well.
“The home itself was so architecturally beautiful, and the lighting just seemed to enhance the architectural features so that it just seemed to flow really nicely,” says Sloane.
Other Lumen Awards judges included: Domingo Gonzalez, principal, Domingo Gonzalez Assoc. Inc. ; Daniel Haas, Brandston Partnership ; Giselle Mercado, associate at Cooley Monato Studio ; and Mary Ann Hay, principal and Director of Lighting Design at Syska Hennessy Group .
In the end, Descottes says despite the challenging nature of the project, the family was very pleased with the end results, and the designers were honored to be recognized for their work.
“It’s always nice to know that the project we’re doing is appreciated by people in our same profession,” says Descottes.
The IESNYC gave out 11 awards in two main categories: Awards of Merit, which recognize excellence in lighting design for permanent architectural applications; and Lumen Citations, which are given for an art installation, technical detail, part of a single project, temporary installation or other work.
Other award recipients included:
• United States Federal Courthouse, Springfield, MA – Lumen Citation for Impact of Interior Lighting on Exterior Presence
Lighting Designers: SBLD Studio  (Susan Brady, Zengwei Fu, Attila Uysal)
• Triple Bridge Gateway, New York City – Lumen Citation for Transformation of an Urban Environment
Lighting Designers: Leni Schwendinger Light Projects Ltd.  (Leni Schwendinger, Eric Chenault, Charles Cameron, Jodi Geroux) and David Lander 
• Yas Marina Hotel, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – Lumen Citation for Achievement in Technical Artistry
Lighting Designers: Arup Lighting  (Brian Stacy, Rich Fisher, Gabe Guilliams, Giulio Anonutto-foi, Anthony Cortez, Matthew Franks, Theresa Mahoney, Kay Anderson) and 1212-Studio Inc. (Tommy Voeten)
• Citygarden, St. Louis, MO – Award of Merit
Lighting Designers: Fisher Marantz Stone Inc.  (Charles G. Stone II, Zack Zanolli) and Randy Burkett Lighting Design  (Randy Burkett, Susan Jennings)
• Chanel Encore, Las Vegas, NV – Award of Merit
Lighting Designers: Fisher Marantz Stone Inc. (Paul Marantz, Michael Hemmenway, Frank Hollenkamp)
• Alice Tully Hall and Julliard School at Lincoln Center, New York City – Award of Merit
Lighting Designers: L'Obervatoire Intl. (Herve Descottes, Jason Neches, Nathalie Rozot, Beatrice Witzgall)
• Bourbon Steak, Scottsdale, AZ – Award of Merit
Lighting Designers: Focus Lighting  (Paul Gregory, Kelly Hannon, Brett Anderson)
• Yale Arts Complex, New Haven, CT – Award of Merit
Lighting Designers: HDLC  (Robert Leiter, Bianca Tzeng, Chung Ho, Burr Rutledge)
• The Wright, New York City – Award of Merit
Lighting Designers: Tillotson Design Assoc.  (Suzan Tillotson, Mark Kubicki, Yoshimi Sato)
• Aureole, New York City – Award of Merit
Lighting Designers: Focus Lighting (Paul Gregory, Juan Pablo Lira, Michael Cummings, Hilary Manners)