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Growing Community and Advocating for the Future of the Lighting Industry: a Fisher Marantz Stone Feature

This content feature is provided by the FMS team. Members of the FMS team attend and participate actively at LightFair as presenters, speakers and thought leaders driving the conversation forward each year.
For questions: Carla Ross Allen | [email protected] | 212-857-9216

An Enduring Legacy of Lighting Leadership

Since 1971, Fisher Marantz Stone has made unrivaled contributions to the built environment and the practice of lighting design worldwide. In addition to thousands of successful project collaborations, we salute the 300+ talented and skilled individuals who have been a part of our history, many of whom carry the torch as lighting leaders and educators in their own right. We are proud of our extended community and our enduring legacy.

FMS is committed to pushing beyond our studio walls to invigorate and expand the reach of our lighting community to make our industry more accessible. From our project involvement and environmental lighting considerations to public outreach programs through industry partners, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) endeavors, and individual acts of peaceful activism, our studio’s core values are rooted in expanding the future generation of the lighting industry.

Environmental Considerations for Lighting

As lighting designers, we often strive for lighting to be fully integrated and indistinguishable from architecture. What is not so apparent, but equally as important, are the environmental considerations for lighting and its impact on the built environment and surrounding community.  We understand that light trespass and pollution, energy use, and the universal humancentric aspects of health and safety stay with a project long after it has opened to the public. These elements become teachable, influential touchstones for the project team during the design process and shape the outcome for the user.

Case Study: Little Island

The FMS project, Little Island is a successful example of how environmental factors, when properly considered, support the architecture while providing a magical experience for the public. Light trespass and pollution became an early focus of the project team; Little Island floats in a section of the Hudson River that is home to the breeding ground for the American eel. To ensure that the eel habitat would not be disturbed by the negligible, stray light, FMS performed lighting analysis and engaged in discussions with the client and design team to strategize elements of the projects that could be highlighted at night. Little Island surpassed expectations of what a park could be at night.

Enrique Garcia Carrera, Associate Principal at FMS, explains:

“A city like New York has a shortage of welcoming exterior public spaces that can be visited after dark. Appropriate lighting has the power to draw the public in and help them feel safe, comfortable, and in a mood to explore. Nothing made this clearer than the pandemic, in which New Yorkers, mostly confined to their cramped apartments, needed to experience the outdoors like never before. Little Island came around at the exact moment when it was needed, and being able to operate after dark is something that people have dearly appreciated.”

Public Outreach Through Lighting Industry Partners

Through partnerships with the local chapters of the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES), Designers Lighting Forum (DLF), Women in Lighting + Design (WILD), and conferences around the world, FMS engages with the public by offering panel discussions, speeches, podcasts, and project tours. FMS believes that by engaging in dialogue with the public about our work and experiences, we will grow the future generation of lighting designers. Speeches and lectures aim to inspire and enhance the public’s appreciation for quality lighting.

OHNY Tours | Photo Credit: Paula Martinez-Nobles

OHNY Tours since 2014
During the Open House New York weekend in New York City, IESNY facilitates OHNY@Night, a series of talks and tours featuring lighting projects throughout the city. The series is an opportunity for the public to learn how lighting can significantly enhance the built environment. Within the last decade, FMS designers have volunteered to lead tours for this event featuring FMS projects, including the National September 11 Museum and Memorial, TKTS Ticket Booth, Postcards – the Staten Island September 11 Memorial, and Little Island… with more to come.

NLB and WILD Panel Discussion

Among one of the most well-attended national industry events that FMS participated in was the NLB Annual Lighting Forum, which hosted a WILD panel discussion centered around the “Working Mother.” The panel addressed questions of family leave policies, office culture, support, financial impact, attrition, and mentorship.

The open dialogue gave female leaders in the lighting community a forum to discuss motherhood in the workplace. The panelist shared personal experiences and tough conversations that focused on workplace challenges related to motherhood.

Audience members were empowered and given tools to find their voice when tackling such hurdles centered around growing a family while building a career.

Digital Announcement Courtesy of NLB

EDI Endeavors

FMS understands that the future of the lighting community is in each of our hands. As a firm, we grow our community by advocating for increased equity, diversity, and inclusion in areas that traditionally have not been exposed to our profession. From our professional outreach to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to our involvement with youth-based design workshops and mentoring, FMS is actively pursuing EDI opportunities to make the lighting industry and architecture more accessible and thereby inclusive.

NOMA Summer Workshops

FMS designers led teams at The National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) Architecture Summer and Day Camps in Los Angeles and New York City, respectively, in Summer 2022. The workshops focused on exposing youth to the AEC fields and the varied disciplines that work within the industry.  

At the SoCal NOMA Project Pipeline camp, FMS assisted in leading the lighting component of the camp. Our approach to the lighting workshop was hands-on and experimental. Students were given various light sources to test with their architectural models, which allowed them to understand how adding light changes one’s perception of the built form.

The nycoba|NOMA camp in New York City held weekend workshops on various architectural themes and taught the campers about sketching, collaging, and model making to illustrate their design ideas. Both camps were open to the public, with elementary, middle, and high school students in attendance.

Recruitment and Mentor Programs

Each year, FMS endeavors to be involved in programming at universities through guest lectures to expand awareness and access to the lighting discipline. We have been honored to lecture at Howard University through relationships developed at NOMA, as well as Parsons School of Design, Penn State, University of Colorado, University of Washington, and Appalachian State, to name a few.  We have teamed up with public schools for career day events, engaging with high and middle school students to introduce lighting as a design practice. These interventions provide access to possible career pathways and promote visibility and inclusion to expand our industry. We all benefit from the positive impact on the talent we look to hire in the future. 

Peaceful Activism

While our studio has a legacy of excellence in design and a focus on professional development, we are also passionate, thoughtful individuals who actively engage in actions that promote change in our local and global communities. To this end, FMS provides our studio with a dedicated day for Peaceful Activism.

Designers have used this day for advocacy through acts of artistic expression and intervention, instruction, mentoring, and peaceful demonstrations highlighting injustices in our communities. Our designers have worked at soup kitchens, participated in voting information awareness outreach, and provided translation services for immigrants.

As an industry, we know our future is bright if we take the necessary steps to grow the architecture community. As a firm, we are leaning into our next generation of principals, associates, and rising designers to propel us forward and are proud that they will light the future with FMS.

Content for this feature was provided by the FMS team.

For questions:
Carla Ross Allen
[email protected]

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