2018 IALD Award Winners
Award of Merit
The Urchin by Electrolight

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 Urchin in Brisbane, QLD Australia, with lighting design by Electrolight, took home an Award of Merit, accepted in person by Claudio Ramos, IALD.

At the heart of the recent refurbishment of this vast shopping center is the aptly named “Urchin” shade structure, bridging the junction between Town Square and the two primary malls, forming a place for events or meeting friends. Inspired by the Urchin’s organic form, the lighting design concept was to create a heart of the center, encouraging guests to stop and immerse themselves in an interpretive and ethereal show of light, color and movement.

The Urchin’s was identified as the central feature for the shopping center, and the lighting reflects its organic form and engaging scale while offering an immersive experience to revere and reflect. The client advised that a limited budget of $150K AUD was available. For such a grand concept, this was seen as a significant challenge. The design approach was measured and succinct, utilizing the panel geometry to magnify the lighting effect.

The final design treats the faceted panels as digital pixels, crafting low-resolution abstract imagery and generating an expansive illuminated 3-dimensional canvas. In close collaboration with engineers, the Electrolight team concealed graphical node lighting within the structure using a custom channel system for a seamless and integrated result. Over 8,400 individually addressable RGBW nodes were used, spanning over 510 square meters and 1,450 panels.

Judges were particularly impressed by this approach; one judge wrote, “Excellent integration of light source into the sculptural canopy to create a dynamic lighting feature.”

The lighting designers were also engaged to direct and coordinate the graphical content. A detailed design concept and graphic brief outlines a series of material for imagery based on themes inspired by nature, as well as time-schedules and real-time web-interfaces to the weather to trigger various scenes. It was essential that the content appeared abstract so that the images are left to the interpretation of the viewer. A graphical artist was engaged to produce the imagery.

The lighting initiates 15 minutes prior to dusk. When the sun disappears, a series of scenes are triggered with peaks of activity every 15 minutes, as well as a crescendo at the turn of each hour. Each day presents a slight variation in order, and real-time triggers ensure guests engage in a new and unique experience every day.


The Urchin,
Westfield Chermside
Brisbane, QLD Australia

Donn Salisbury, IALD
Catriona Venn


Scentre Group

Creative/Structural Design

Construction + Fabrication

© Bertrand Branchu
© Rohan Venn
© Electrolight

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