2018 IALD Award Winners:
Award of Merit
Apple Store on Michigan Avenue
by Foster + Partners

Luminaries of the lighting profession gathered at Chicago’s trendy Revel Fulton Market on 9 May to honor the winners of the 35th Annual International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD) International Lighting Design Awards. Seventeen projects from eleven countries were on display – including interiors, workspaces, museums, hospitality sites, and a place of worship. This year’s winners represent some of the most innovative and inspiring work found anywhere in the world of architectural lighting design.

The design of the Apple Store on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, IL USA, with lighting design by Foster + Partners, took home an Award of Merit.

Apple Michigan Avenue cascades down from Pioneer Court, creating new connections between the city and the Chicago River. The idea was to create a soft, warm, and inviting atmosphere, like a living room, where people can meet, learn, share, and create with innovative products. The building features carefully balanced illumination of all floor and timber ceiling surfaces across the glass line. In the evening, the building functions like a soft lantern on the Chicago riverfront, providing visitors with a new public space along the river path.

Most fixtures in the ceiling are expressed as a uniform field of recessed downlights. Behind sits a highlysophisticated performance design: a low-depth, high-output fixture featuring over 10 optical devices. This unlocks a vast flexibility in the lighting effects that the fixtures can produce.

The design process for this project delved deeply into the physics of lighting. The lighting team analyzed the relative success of various design options across numerous performance parameters, including hyper-realistic simulations of the human perceptual experience.

One technical challenge explored how incoming daylight would mix with interior artificial light at different locations within the project. By using a physically-based rendering engine and viewing the results on an HDR monitor, the team was able to accurately judge the atmosphere being created, ensuring a like-for-like representation of the developing design.

One core goal of the project was to positively support the health and well-being of employees and public visitors. The team selected an LED driver that minimizes both visible and non-visible flicker during deep fixture dimming and long-term exposure to avoid eyestrain, headaches, and fatigue. During evening hours, the project’s lighting dims exhibiting a warmer color temperature, designed to coincide with the fading of natural daylight and avoiding negative impacts to the Circadian rhythms of employees.

The lighting designers – involved in everything from day-to-day updates to client meetings – developed a companion concept to support the architectural goals. The result is an extremely transparent façade that allows uninterrupted evening views through the building, from all angles.


Apple Michigan Avenue,
Chicago Chicago, IL USA

James Sherman
Foster + Partners

Foster + Partners

Plaza Architects:
Ross Barney Architects

Main Contractor
Power Construction Company

Structural Consultant
Simpson, Gumpertz & Heger

Mechanical Engineers
Cosentini Associates

Landscape Consultant
Ross Barney Architects

Plaza Lighting Consultant
Schuler Shook

Plaza Architect
Ross Barney Architects

© Nigel Young / Foster + Partners

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