Winning designs


Lighting at the edge: between built and unbuilt environments




PROJECT NAME : Photovascular system

NAME OF WINNERS : Michael Luigi I. Manzano, Riel L. Gutierrez, Roselane Leigh Jade T. To Chip

PLACE : Philippines


In early March, Philips announced the winners of the revamped international lighting design CLUE Competition. The theme this year was Interface. The participants were asked to explore transformative potentials and to define unique lighting innovations that celebrate the activities of both the built and unbuilt communities. Incorporating the concepts of contact, transparency, transition, threshold, limits, dark/light, natural/artificial, the interface focuses on the spatial interactions influenced by exchanges between one and the other, and thereby distinguishing the two adjacent spaces.

I have had the pleasure of interviewing all of the winners for the competition since 2012. In the next few weeks, I will be posting the latest interviews on the Philips Lighting Blog.

Today we begin with the 1st prize laureates of the CLUE 01 Competition; three young professionals from the Philippines with a passion for design and architecture. Mr. Michael Luigi I. Manzano and his team Riel L. Gutierrez and Roselane Leigh Jade T. To Chip received the top honor for their project Photovascular System which proposes a symbiotic indoor and outdoor lighting system. The jury awarded the first prize to this project because it uses the interface as a channel for lighting and it creates an intimacy between the day and the night.


Congratulations to the three of you for winning this international lighting design competition. Tell us about yourselves, your career and your education.

Our team is composed of young, budding designers locally educated in Cebu City, Philippines. We share a common interest in Architecture, Interior Architecture, along with the enhancement brought about by the play of light in such spaces. We are all currently undergoing mentorship from one of the country’s leading Modernist Architecture firms – ARKinamix.

Riel L. Gutierrez has a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the University of San Carlos. Currently in his second year in apprenticeship, Riel has found great interest in lighting design and passion for innovation. He believes that light is the most fundamental element in creating space. Light and architecture, he says, are two different things yet inevitably related and supplementary to each other. He appreciates how it helps define what is around us and influences how we perceive things during the different times of the day.

Michael Luigi I. Manzano graduated from the Cebu Institute of Technology  with a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture. Luigi is currently an apprentice for ten months now. He thinks that there is always a strong relationship between people, spaces, and their contexts. Therefore, he believes that designers have the power to creatively envision spaces that truly answer and reflect the necessities and conditions of the people and the environment at a given time and place.

Roselane Leigh Jade T. To Chip graduated Magna cum Laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Interior Design from the University of San Carlos. A registered Interior Designer and member of the Philippine Institute of Interior Designers, she has been in practice for over a year with ARKinamix. Her design philosophy urges for a user-centered experience, trusting that for a design to be truly successful, it must be tailor-fitted to its end-users in order to provide an effective and efficient environment. Her designs inclinations lean towards sleek modernism, allowing the outdoors to flow seamlessly into the indoors.


Where does your interest in lighting design come from?

Lighting design often comes as an afterthought in designing spaces. That should not be the case because light, innately, casts a subtle yet very big impact onto built environments despite taking up little to no space at all. Without noticing it, light not only illuminates a given area, but also influences our perception. It is therefore a crucial element in both exterior and interior architecture.

Our group understands that architecture is more than just pleasing the eyes with beautiful physical objects and composition. Architecture takes in to consideration the entire experience a space affords its occupants. As such, light is an indispensible tool in achieving an utmost experience.


Why did you choose to participate in the interface themed CLUE Competition?

Our team felt that this year’s Interface themed competition raised excellent questions highly relevant to our country’s current situation. It piqued our curiosity and we ended up with a simple idea that could, if developed seriously, could become a solution to complex urban problems. Le Corbusier once wrote, “A house is a machine for living.” Considering that we are in the field of architecture and interior design, we wanted a creative solution that is deeply-rooted in a building system so that more than anything else, it can serve its occupants on a daily basis. The competition asked us to create a synthesis for indoor and outdoor lighting and so we came up with quite a literal solution wherein indoor and outdoor lighting function mutually.


Can you share with us your initial idea behind the concept of the Photovascular System and what is the interface aspect of the project?

While trying to come up with a proposal, we brought ourselves to our own streets and found that a building’s envelope shuts off too much of what happening outside, creating disparity and blocking the entry of daylight and the exit of indoor lights. With the goal to reduce energy costs, make streets brighter and recognizable, create indoor-outdoor continuity, and celebrate the true colors of daylight, we formulated a concept to tie two lighting systems from two different spaces. We are situated in a tropical region where sunlight is abundant and it would greatly help if we could use this to our advantage. We also wanted to create a system that could easily be attached to an existing building without interfering with its basic functions.

Moreover, we wanted this system to benefit the community in a larger scale in which, when seen at a macro scale, the urban fabric could be highlighted, thereby giving the city an artistic identity as a whole.


Do you think that your proposal could become a reality?

Among our considerations while brainstorming was the feasibility of the project we would eventually propose. We opted to use available technology such as fiber optics, and are urging its further research and development to craft a more advanced innovation rather than creating a very abstract idea which could take years upon years to realize.


What were your motivations for the Photovascular System?

The Philippines is a third world country. A lot of people live in poverty. However, the team sees this in a positive light – an opportunity for improvement and growth. After all, necessity is the mother of invention.

Our country is full of potential and is actively developing. However, right now, we are facing issues such as high night-time crime rates, high-density communities, low awareness of environmental sustainability, and a looming power crisis, to name a few. These are issues we wanted our project to address because it is the reality we go through day after day. Therefore, we came up with a concept that would brighten the streets at night without much additional expense, optimizing and channeling daylight into rooms inaccessible to fenestrations, and using the most renewable resource readily available and free of charge to everyone – sunlight. Furthermore, we aimed to create aesthetics that impart a sense of community at the level of public spaces more than merely serving utilitarian purposes.


Please tell us more about the operational aspect of your installation. How does it work?

The organization of pathways made of fiber optics took its inspiration from the circulatory system in human beings. Like the heart and the many organs of the body where there is a rhythmic exchange of blood between the two components to distribute oxygen and other nutrients, light is channeled back and forth between two major organs – in this case, the indoors and the outdoors. The hierarchy of optical fibers unifies light fixtures with light pores in the building: the light aortas gather light directly from the light pores and direct them to the light arteries. These arteries branch out into capillaries to distribute the gathered light to the different parts of the building. At night, the organization functions in reverse, as light is gathered from indoor artificial lighting and channeled to the light pores to shed off light to the building envelope. When this is applied to an entire city, the city becomes brighter, and its aesthetics more pronounced.


How do you see lighting design evolving on a long term basis?

The discovery of fire gave humans control of light and empowered us to enjoy life beyond daytime, no longer limited by the sun. Light has rapidly become indispensible in our lives since it not only serves utilitarian purposes but is now a big player in art and architecture. We hope that designers see the relevance of light in architecture and apply it accordingly. As such, we believe that lighting should be geared towards lessening its environmental impact, and thus seek to optimize natural light. A quote from James Benya reads: “Daylight is quality light that is available to everyone. Designing buildings to optimize it will let us turn off the lights.”


How do you see your professional career evolving?

We took on this challenge mainly because of our inherent curiosity and will to innovate, both of which are vital in creating successful developments or inventions. We continue to fuel our potential and passion in revolutionizing the way we solve problems. We are optimistic that in the near future, we can tackle design problems in the same way.

Problems don’t need to be solved with complex solutions. Come to think of it, our proposal is a rather straightforward and obvious answer yet it still took us quite a while to come up with it.




PROJECT NAME : Dancing on the clouds


PLACE : Germany


Dancing on the clouds, brought to us by Mr. Hyunje Joo, who is originally from Korea and now studies in Germany, was awarded second prize for his project that actively engages its environment by changing shapes with the climate and the people around. It was deemed by our jury as being very poetic and it helps in bringing people together. There is an interesting relationship between the object and the user. It is a very good interface between the sky and the ground.


First, congratulations on winning the second prize for Edition 01 of the CLUE Competition.


Tell me about yourself, your career and your education.

My name is Hyunje Joo and I am 30 years old. I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from Korea and I have worked in an architectural design office in both South Korea and Japan. Currently I’m studying for a Master in Architecture at the Kunstakademie (Arts Academy) in Duesseldorf.


Where does your interest in lighting design come from?

I think that lighting is very important in a building and in our lives. In the future it might bring even more value to them. For this reason, I am always interested in lighting design.


Why did you choose to participate in the Interface themed CLUE Competition?

First, the word ‘interface’ was interesting to me. Beyond the boundaries of space, I wanted to experiment with this project.


Can you share with us your initial idea behind this concept of Dancing on the clouds and what is the interface aspect of this project?

Dancing on the clouds is a flexible structure. The project aims to interact with people. People are allowed to touch the inflatable structure, as well as to sit and lean on it. The pavilion actively engages its environment. It gently sways from the wind and people’s actions. It also expands and contracts with the change of air pressure and temperature, almost appearing to breathe and causing the yarn (fiber optic) hanging from the balloon to sway.


Do you think that your proposal could become a reality?

This project is architecture in the air.  It also finds a practical and sustainable solution to temporary construction. It is completely opposite to conventional architecture. This project does not require a thick foundation.


What were your motivations for Dancing on the clouds?

People cannot touch clouds with their hands, but they can see and feel the clouds. My motivations for Dancing on the clouds started from there.


Please tell us more about the operational aspect of your installation. How does it work?

The installation is composed of air, polyurethane, fiber optic. The balloon is filled with Helium gas and it works with the control socket.In making the shade outdoors, it produces light indoors, such as the Milky Way under the soft lighting. And it is interactive, they move and breathe with people. For this reason it is a temporary installation that has good mobility since it can be moved easily. It is not necessary to have foundation.


How do you see lighting design evolving on a long-term basis?

The future of lighting design will have to consider the integration of natural and artificial lighting techniques. All lighting should become sustainable solutions. Also it should be interacting with people.


How do you see your professional career evolving?

I want to constantly be challenged to learn by the works of others. By participating in various competitions, I want to learn new ways of thinking that offer different perspectives. It will help me to grow and develop in my field as well.



PROJECT NAME : Interlace

NAME OF WINNER(S) : Rahul Gujarathi

PLACE : Singapore


The project Interlace by Rahul Gujarathi is an elegant composition, said jury member, Randy Burkett. “It’s two technologies woven together to serve the user and occupant. A near endless number of manifestations seem possible with the creative application of this approach in building design. Definining a timeless and traditional boundry this is innately linked to light and the environment, in an exciting and artistic manner. Connection, protection, interaction – all present at this border. This project, more than most, looks forward at the ultimate integration of technology and human needs.”


Tell me about yourself, your career and your education.

My name is Rahul Gujarathi and I am a highly motivated industrial designer looking for challenges and experiences that enrich my life. I studied architecture for my bachelor degree in India (University of Pune) and later I continued my design education with a master in Industrial Design from the Industrial Design Centre at Indian Institute of Technology Bombay. I am currently working in Singapore as a Research Associate at TUM CREATE where we develop electric mobility solutions for tropical megacities.


Where does your interest in lighting design come from?

I have always been intrigued by lighting and its ability to create atmosphere and transform mood. My first encounter with lighting was through architecture and how the structure is designed to sculpt natural light and create an interesting poetic space. Later I got interested in luminaire design with increasing inclination towards changing lighting technology.


Why did you choose to participate in the Interface themed CLUE Competition?

This is the first time I came across CLUE Competition and found the theme very interesting. I really liked the fact that it had overlapping concerns between the architectural/urban scale and product/luminaire scale. Thus I was able to use my experience from both architecture and industrial design education to analyse the theme and develop ‘Interlace’.


Can you share with us your initial idea behind this concept of Interlace and what is the interface aspect of this project?

I was intrigued by the theme ‘Interface’ and wanted to explore this concept in a direction of how I could create a product, an intervention on the edge; a relation between the built and the un-built. Concept ‘Interlace’ is an integrated structural glazing system which forms a meaningful interface between the interior and the exterior by incorporating photovoltaic cells and OLEDs in a single system. The glass thus becomes a living interface at the edge, absorbing solar radiation from outside and powering OLEDs for lighting up the interiors.

It makes the existence of glass even more meaningful. Exterior glazing is very popular in modern architecture but then solar radiation has always been a concern considering it increases the load on the air-conditioning system to cool the interior. As a result some sort of solar blocking systems like louvers/blinds, films, coatings etc. are required to be implemented along with glass. ‘Interlace’ provides an integrated and efficient solution to these issues while providing a chic, modern visual.


Do you think that your proposal could become a reality?

Yes, I firmly believe that my proposal could become a reality as it is based on technologies that are already on the market. I have been following the development of the OLED technology by Philips Lumiblade and have designed by concept around the rectangular OLED panel released in 2012.

I would be keen on developing this concept further to become a reality, if possible together or with support from Philips.


What were your motivations for Interlace?

One of the motivations for this project was the observation that glass has been an extremely popular material for external cladding, especially in tropical countries where climatically it doesn’t seem very appropriate to use glass for the exterior. I wanted to design something that improves this popular existence of glass and makes it a more sensible choice of material. My approach was more towards designing a material rather than an object.


Please tell us more about the operational aspect of your installation. How does it work?

‘Interlace’ is an insulated structural glass panel, which sandwiches a system of OLEDs in one layer and a system of energy harnessing photovoltaic cells in another layer. As these panels are planned to be used for exterior glazing the photovoltaic cells harness solar energy from the sun and store them into batteries. Later as the sun goes down, this energy harnessed is used to power up the OLEDs.

The glass being triple glazed provides good insulation for the interior, while the use of translucent PV cells and OLEDs helps in reducing the unwanted solar glare, yet maintaining an intimate transparency. The glass panels get connected with each other with male-female connectors on the periphery and form a huge interconnected surface or system.

This opens up a huge pool of possibilities on how we could use this system depending on where it is employed; it might be used for art/installations or for directing crowd in urban areas in a more intuitive manner or it could simply be ambient lighting for streets or corridors.


How do you see lighting design evolving on a long-term basis?

Lighting technology has rapidly evolved in the last few years making it more energy efficient, cost efficient and stretching boundaries like the colour of light. All this has led to new applications of lighting ranging from light therapy to agriculture to installations in urban areas to name a few. I see lighting design to evolve in the future to become an integral part of the nature and have a seamless transition between the natural and the artificial lighting. Energy harnessing and alternatives to electricity to power light might gain importance in the future and also might change the way we see light today.


How do you see your professional career evolving?

I see myself continuing to develop interesting innovative solutions and finding appropriate application for new developing technologies that will change, challenge and improve the existing. I want to work for a company driven by passion and where I am able to develop state of the art solutions for the near future. It is my dream to see people satisfied using my solutions implemented in the real world.




NAME OF WINNER(S) : Jin Yung Bargon 

PLACE : Germany



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