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Leading Lights Panel Discussion

This panel delves into the lighting experience. From art museums and art galleries to private homes and residences, lighting sets the mood and spotlights the elements that define a space. We’ll learn what role lighting takes in the creative process for lighting architects, industrial lighting designers, and those who use light as an artistic medium. Panelists include Leni Schwendinger, Michael Arad, Phillip Prestigomo and Philippe Vergne. Moderated by Amanda Dameron, Dwell.

Sponsored by Legrand.


Date: Thursday, October 4
Time: 4 - 6pm


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New York Design Center | 200 Lexington Avenue | New York, NY


Amanda Dameron, Editor-in-Chief, Dwell

Amanda Dameron has been a design and architecture editor since the early aughts, working and writing for such publications as Architectural Digest, Urbis, Conde Nast Traveler, Los Angeles Magazine, and Elle Decor UK. As Editor-in-Chief of Dwell Media, Amanda has made her driving purpose to continuously reinterpret what modern design means today.

Born in Ohio, she recently transferred from San Francisco to New York City. Ms. Dameron now resides in that growing hamlet of design innovation, Brooklyn, NY

Leni Schwendinger

Leni Schwendinger is a recognized authority on the many issues and applications of urban lighting plus art and color, with more than 15 years of experience creating illuminated environments for public spaces all over the world. Leni Schwendinger Light Projects also provides advisory services to manufacturers – she is a Philips’ Expert Speaker. This work is shared through Leni’s public speaking engagements, including the worldwide NightSeeing™, Navigate Your Luminous City event, as well as for presentations, most recently in Milan, Lyon and New York City. Schwendinger’s color consultancy includes specification of materials, surfaces and their interaction with light. Projects include Times Square renovation, Louisville Second Street Bridge, Tidal Radiance, in San Diego and award-winning public-art installation Dreaming in Color, a 3-Dimensional Color-Field located at Marion O. McCaw Hall, Seattle.

Professional awards include such recognition as multiple Lumens from the Illuminating Engineering Society, SEGD and the NEA Japan Residency Fellowship. Light Projects has enjoyed extensive coverage in design and architecture press and media, most recently in the December 2011 Architectural Digest.

Michael Arad

Michael Arad’s design for the National September 11 Memorial at the World Trade Center site, titled “Reflecting Absence,” was selected by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation from among more than 5,000 entries submitted in an international competition held in 2003. Mr. Arad joined the New York firm of Handel Architects as a Partner in April 2004 where he worked on realizing the Memorial design as a member of the firm.

A native of Israel, Mr. Arad was raised there, the U.K., the United States and Mexico. He came to the United States and earned a B.A. from Dartmouth College in 1994 and a Master of Architecture from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1999. Mr. Arad became a resident of New York City following his studies. He worked for Kohn Pedersen Fox in the city before joining the Design Department of the New York City Housing Authority, where he was working during the Memorial competition. In 2006, Mr. Arad was one of six recipients of the Young Architects Award of the American Institute of Architects. In 2012, he was awarded the AIA Presidential Citation for his work on the National September 11 Memorial. In addition, he was also honored in 2012 by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council with the Liberty Award for Artistic Leadership.

Michael Arad lives in New York City with his wife, Melanie Arad Fitzpatrick, and their children.

Phillip Prestigomo

Phillip Prestigomo has a diverse background in both corporate and consulting environments working to integrate user-centered needs and desires into innovative and successful product experiences. Over the past 23 years, he has worked for Noel Mayo Associates, GM, Thomson CE, Hewlett-Packard, Brooks Stevens Design and currently is the director of industrial design for Legrand NA. The products he has worked on have been equally diverse, from automotive interiors to medical equipment, mobile phones to projectors, user-interface to home automation systems. Prestigomo has received numerous industrial design awards, including an IDEA Gold, iF “Best-of-Category” and named an “Inventor-of-the-Year” by Mobile Computing Magazine.

Philippe Vergne

Philippe Vergne joined Dia Art Foundation as its director in June 2008. Working to advance Dia’s mission of supporting and preserving the vision of artists, Mr. Vergne oversees programs and operations at Dia:Beacon, Riggio Galleries, in New York’s Hudson Valley; Dia at the Hispanic Society, in New York City; and Dia’s long-term sites, in Manhattan, Long Island, and the American West.

One of Mr. Vergne’s principle priorities is to develop Dia’s plans for a new building in West Chelsea, and to guide the capital campaign that will ensure its realization. The new space will house commissioned artworks, exhibitions, and long-term installations, and serve as a catalyst for innovative scholarship and a diversity of public programs. Mr. Vergne additionally serves as an ex-officio member of Dia’s board of trustees and is a member of the board of the Andy Warhol Museum, which Dia helped found in 1994.

Prior to joining Dia, Mr. Vergne was deputy director and chief curator at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (1997–2008). He has organized more than 25 international exhibitions, including the 2006 Whitney Biennial (co-curated with Chrissie Iles) and Kara Walker: My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love, which premiered at the Walker and won the 2008 award for the “Best Monographic Museum Show Nationally” from the International Association of Art Critics. From 1994 to 1997, he was director of the Musée d’Art Contemporain (MAC) in Marseille.

Born in France, Mr. Vergne received a BA in law from the University of Paris II, Assas (1988), and subsequent degrees in archaeology and art history from the University of Paris IV, Sorbonne (BA, 1989; MA, 1991; First Doctoral Diploma, 1992). In 2004, he was awarded the prestigious medal of Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters in recognition of his professional achievements in the fields of art and literature.

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