Gongs in BrisVegas

Regular Lux columnist Lance Stewart gives us his table-side view of the 2015 International IESANZ Lighting Design Awards.

This year marks exactly a quarter of a century during which I have been a member of the IESANZ*, years that have seen me write articles, act as MC for annual dinners (and on one occasion, even lighting the surrounding buildings), serve on committees, teach part of the lighting course and present as a keynote speaker at conferences. Such is the lot of hard-working (and barking mad?) volunteers at the IES who work tirelessly and sometimes thanklessly for the benefit of members. Good on them, I say.

Lance Stewart is an award-winning lighting designer, actor, inventor and playwright. He has been active in the IES since 1990 as a member, committee member, lighting lecturer, keynote conference speaker and MC. His company, Creative Lighting, is based in Queensland Australia.

And what better way to mark the occasion of my 25th, than to have a drink or three at this year’s IES awards night which, for the first time, had both the State and International awards (well, okay, trans-Tasman awards if you want to be picky) held in Queensland.  

There was the usual dearth of Excellence Awards for Queenslanders, a consistently tough approach that makes such awards, like the one won by TDLD, special. I’m not convinced that all States always take the same approach – it doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to work out that the more Excellence Awards at the state level, the more chances you have of one or two getting up at the international level, or am I just being too cynical?

I have an Excellence Award and I’m always pleased to see it’s in good company in Queensland. No, really.

There was a “Light of lights” award to Intralux for Kove LED that saw David Tilbury bravely taking to the microphone like a four year old to an ice cream cone, who rightfully reminded us of the importance of the (dwindling) Australian manufacturing sector. Amen to that, David.

And speaking of brave, plaudits must go to Ash Dowthwaite who also braved the stage, not to talk about his company’s well-deserved Excellence Award, but to pay homage to the late Trent Halliday who worked with him on the project.  Vale Trent Halliday and well done Ash.

John Tank was thanked for 42 years serving on IES committees. I served with him in the 80s; apparently John didn’t get the memo that it’s okay to let someone else shoulder the burden after a decade or two. Put up your feet John, you deserve it!

Shane Bourne (Thank God You’re Here) had the audience chortling, but seemed oblivious to the fact that his jokes were appreciated – often remonstrating the audience for their lack of audible reaction and asking for his microphone to be turned up - sorry Shane, it’s your hearing that needs attention, not the mic!

Seems a bit rich to ditch most of the writer’s well-meant and detailed words about award entries with an offhand edit on the fly" 

In common with last year’s MC Shane (Kenny) Jacobson, Bourne lamented the prose he was expected to read and proceeded to (heavily) truncate some of it - even going so far as to paraphrase it with “blah, blah, blah”. Perhaps the (expensive) MCs should be reworking the script beforehand - from being more suited to reading, to being better suited to presenting and speaking – thereby giving the writer a say in the final delivery? Seems a bit rich to ditch most of the writer’s well-meant and detailed words about award entries with an offhand edit on the fly.

I suspect that Darrin Schreier, who once again coordinated proceedings with his usual aplomb while resplendent in his trademark vest and tie, was one of those people who put in a fair bit of effort to provide the MCs with background scripting about the judges’ comments, all of whom deserve their work treated with a tad more respect by the MCs.

Then there were the audience members – many of whom partied on into the wee small hours – and a few of whom also deserve special mention.

I’m talking about people like Adele Locke, the IES national president, who has arguably blown off the dust and positioned the IES for the future with recipients of Excellence Awards now being included in the (truly) international judging of IALD awards (yay!) and recognition at the federal level for IES members and above for the first time.

Adele has consistently demonstrated a focussed passion and a steady hand on the tiller that can only mean a new and improved direction for the IES and our lighting community.

And then there’s Alan Francis, someone who oozes enthusiasm for lighting like sap from a shafted maple tree, who impressed me so much I even bought him a drink. Alan was there with Ben of Lighting Options of WA, another keen lighting professional, to see his challenging and innovative contribution to Ben’s project win an Excellence Award.

Alan undertook the lighting control, with some 140 universes of DMX LED pixel control. As someone who has been making lighting controls for quite some time, I can tell you that the technical term for this many universes, using SPI over long distances, is “OMG”.

Another IES Awards night down, another brilliant evening socialising with great lighting professionals. Well done BrisVegas.

And it only took 24 hours in bed to recover my voice, if not my wits.

*Illuminating Engineering Society of Australia and New Zealand