Lighting Design & Specification

March 25, 2019

Jaap Schuuring

Have you ever thought about how lighting could help in a certain crisis or emergency, or how it could save people’s lives? If so, it’s time to raise your voice. Entries are open for the 2019 CLUE competition. 

CLUE, which stands for Community Lighting for the Urban Environment, is an annual competition aimed at young and emerging lighting designers, challenging them to design meaningful projects for communities around the world.

Supported by the Signify Lighting Academy, the competition invites participants to consider pressing societal issues and envision innovative design projects. Last year’s winner (shown in photo), selected from 361 entries from 58 countries, is a fine example. The project “SOL (Suspended Omnidirectional Light)” by Santiago Bautista (Denmark), seeks to invoke the light and sound of the Mediterranean and bring it to the darkest regions of the world. It envisages creating an artificial sun in a public square, using a giant illuminated balloon tethered by three steel cables. Its light intensity and colour vary throughout the day as does its audio, which mimics the sounds of nature on a spring day. It is foreseen that such an installation would help reduce the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) by bringing that extra bit of light to people’s everyday lives. Read about it and the other winning projects in the lighting design magazine Luminous: www.lighting.philips.com/main/cases/luminous-magazine.

“There is something magical about the idea of tethering the sun to a public plaza,” said Zachary Suchara, a member of last year’s jury. The entry perfectly matched the chosen theme — “Light and the Senses” — helping city dwellers to reconnect with and enhance their experience of public spaces using their senses.

This year, it’s an emergency. More precisely, “Exploring the role of light in emergencies.” With it, CLUE wants to set free the imagination of young designers to illustrate how light can help in emergencies. Whether it’s in places and situations where people feel vulnerable, such as conflicts, or times of disruption and environmental change, how can light help prevent or manage a crisis?

So, if you are (or know of) a budding designer with a social conscious, this is your time to shine. Whether you’re a student or an emerging professional with five or less years of experience, your ideas matter, and the CLUE wants to help you share them with the world.

The competition will be judged by a jury of independent lighting designers. The first prize winner receives US$5000, the second prize receives US$2500 and third prize gets US$1000. The winning designs will also be featured in Luminous.

Put on your thinking cap, sharpen your mind, and sign up here: www.cluecompetition.com/competition.php. We look forward to seeing how you can make the world a better place.


Jaap Schuuring is Head of Customer Education for Signify; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. This article was first published online by Signify: www.signify.com/global/our-company/blog/people/wanted-young-lighting-designers-without-a-clue.

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