Miami University architecture student wins award in national light fixture design competition
The national competition’s 2023 design problem challenged students to design a signature light fixture for the outdoor patio of a national restaurant chain.
Lauren Rauch, a rising senior in Miami University’s Bachelor of Arts in Architecture program, was awarded Citation for Innovative Concept in the 2023 Robert Bruce Thompson Annual Student Light Fixture Design Competition in May.
The national competition’s 2023 design problem challenged students to design a signature light fixture for the outdoor patio of a national restaurant chain. Rauch’s pendant light fixture, “Portabella,” provides a subtle branding opportunity for the restaurant in a unique form that reflects ingredients used in the cuisine. The design innovatively employs a hidden LED light source to edge-light a radial array of gently curved acrylic fins that resemble the underside of a mushroom.
A second light source in the center of the domed shape provides diffuse ambient light for diners. The competition requires students to specify details about light distribution, materials, assembly and maintenance for their fixture design. Rauch also addressed sustainability criteria unique to outdoor lighting.
“The glass form of the light is topped with a copper dome, to focus the lighting effect downward and to protect local wildlife from light trespass,” she wrote in her concept statement.
The light fixture design project is an assignment in ARC 414/514 Environmental Control Systems II course taught by Professor Mary Ben Bonham, coordinator of the Interior Design Program. Miami has a history of successful entries in the competition, with architecture and interior design students winning top awards in the last three consecutive years.