Lighten Up! 2019

June 4, 2019

By the OLED UX Team

OLEDWorks is excited to be teaming with Acuity Brands and CALS  – Acuity Brands´ Custom Architectural Lighting Solutions group – to sponsor 2019 IES Lighten Up!, incorporating OLED into this creative and collaborative competition. Section champs, from 14 IES regions across the US and Canada, were announced at the respective regional design charrette competitions on May 30th. Over the next few weeks, these section champions will vie on-line for the ultimate prize – 2019 Lighten Up! Champion and a feature by IES in LD+A.

Design charrette diversity

Architects are well versed in the charrette process – a high powered, hands-on, time constrained, collaborative endeavor to identify creative solutions to a problem. With roots in France, charrette comes from the rush to meet a design deadline and have the proposal “on the cart” in time. Engineers and designers have parallel processes for collaborative brainstorming, modeling and visualizing concept solutions. A critical element of all these tools is a collaborative and diverse team – framing the problem from different perspectives and with different expertise and building on information and ideas.

OLED lighting is experiential and emotive. The Ligthen Up! design challenge encourages engagement of cross-disciplined groups to touch, feel and be inspired by this unique illumination source.

Teams were determined randomly, encouraging participants to work with those outside their disciplines and their standard relationships. Lighting designers, electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, luminaire manufacturers, architects, contractors, international multi-lingual participants, interns, senior designers – a diverse perspective was guaranteed. Of course, an ice-breaker with food and beverages helped build excitement.


food and beverages at Lighten Up! 2019 design competition

Tools of the game

Teams were provided 1) Problem/Theme 2) OLED light engine kit and 3) arts and crafts supplies.

The theme, or “problem”, proposed was International Delight. Each team, 3 – 5 participants, had 90 minutes to design and build an OLED luminaire that was inspired by this theme. They then had 5 minutes to present their creation including how the result captured the essence of international delight.

The kit included four OLED light panels from OLEDWorks, a power supply with drivers, a design sketch book from CALS, and information from both OLEDWorks and Acuity Brands to facilitate understanding.

And the supplies? Remember elementary school with color and glitter and pipe cleaners and ever so much more? It was all there.

The kits were ready to go, the supply table set, and the rules of the game presented. The inventive juices started flowing, scissors started cutting, glue guns started dispensing and ideas started exploding.

Various arts and crafts supplies for Lighten Up! 2019 participants


For most participants, this was their first time developing concepts using OLED light engines. The panel thinness and the incredibly uniform, diffuse light output were immediately impactful to the ideation.

90 minutes and counting…


Participants of Lighten Up! 2019 design competition develope concepts using OLED light engines

Internationally Delightful

The OLED light attributes augmented the interpretations of international delight, from mathematical to cultural representations, from manmade icons to natural ecosystems. The final fixtures were fun, functional, playful, beautiful, and exploratory – as diverse in nature as the teams that fashioned them. A salient feature was the merging of light and materials. With no need for a heatsink, the teams could embrace the “lightness” of the light and incorporate the OLED panel directly with paper, plastics, and metals. The utility of the light source, soft but bright, was revealed in luminaires that ranged from decorative backlighting to functional sconces and pendants. Many captured both, playful elements that provided functional but inviting illumination.


Final OLED lighting fixtures as the result of Lighten Up! 2019 design competition


Stayed tuned for Round 2 – the section victors’ showdown for the ultimate North American 2019 Lighten Up bragging rights. Over 40 teams took the challenge, only one will be crowned champ!

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