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AWA NEWSFLASH: Abhay Wadhwa to Speak at AIA Miami Design+Technology Expo

Abhay Wadhwa to speak at AIA Miami’s Design + Technology Expo on Friday, September 23 2016.
He will be speaking on “The Unspoken Relationship Between Light and Health”. An extract from his talk:

“Light triggers critical physiological and psychological responses within human beings. The level and quality of light within the built environment has real implications on our health and wellness. As we become more aware of light’s implications on our health, and as technology affords us a greater range of options, we can develop a larger repertoire of design tools with which to positively impact our health and wellness.”

If you would like to register for the Expo, please click HERE.

AIA Miami Banner

AWA Healthy Lighting Studio
The Healthy Lighting Studio is located at AWA’s New York location, and is led by AWA’s Design Principal Abhay Wadhwa. Over the past 14 years, AWA has completed several healthcare projects, and the endeavor has always been to utilize the uplifting nuances of light to create evocative and healing spaces. We have focused intently on using light and lighting to improve the health and well-being of people, especially in healthcare and recuperative environments. If you would like more information on our Healthy Lighting Studio services, please contact us at or feel free to call Abhay directly.

Healthy Lighting Studio Banner 2016

Biophilia Essays: Sixth Crossing

AWA - Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Crossing Bridge - Rendering 01

When AWA Lighting Designers was brought on board to light what would be the longest-spanning arch bridge in the world, the Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Crossing or “Sixth Crossing” in Dubai, UAE, they would return once more to the universal appeal of the moon and its influence on life systems. Utilizing complex mathematical algorithms, the subtle lighting on the bridge’s graceful arches is programmed to correspond to the respective luminosities of five lunar states: those of full, gibbous, half, crescent, and new moons. Reflecting off the water, the image of the arch becomes a complete loop, and thus does “complete the circle” of a lunar profile. The intent is for these cycles of lighting to be registered—not just consciously, but subconsciously also—by the city’s residents, thus satisfying biophilic needs even in an urban environment.

AWA-SRBS-Phases of moon board- A3 - August 23

Biophilic Design

“Biophilic design” can refer to several trends in modern “green” design, but in most uses it indicates a design principle that goes beyond merely minimizing the impact of the built environment to create actual close contact between users and the “natural” world. By inviting nature into the design, whether through biomimicry, green curtain walls, extensive natural lighting (or simulations thereof), multi-species accessibility, or the like, a design reengages occupants with the environmental elements that, according to Wilson, are inherently intertwined with our genetic predispositions.

Sleep Quality of Youth

Light triggers critical physiological and psychological responses within human beings. The level and quality of light within the built environment has real implications on our health and wellness as we become more aware of light’s implications on our health, we have a larger repertoire with which to impact a positive benefit on our health.


  • During the spring, late sunset and extended daylight exposure delays bedtime in teenagers
  • Increased exposure to early evening light delays the onset of nocturnal melatonin
  • Nocturnal melatonin: hormone that indicates to the body when it’s nighttime
  • Combine the delay in sleep with early school hours means many teens experience sleep deprivation, mood changes, increased risk of obesity and under performance at school


  • 16 students were given a daysimeter – a small device to measure an individual’s exposure to daily “circadian light”
  • Circadian light: the potential for light to suppress melatonin synthesis at night not how light stimulates the visual system
  • Experienced a delay in melatonin onset by an average 20 minutes in the spring relative to winter


  • Extended daylight hours due to the seasonal change, not evening electric lighting, had the biggest impact on delayed sleeping patterns
  • The melatonin delay caused an average of 16 minute delay in reported sleep onset and a 15 minute average reduction in reported sleep duration during the spring
  • The lrc recommends that teenagers increase morning daylight exposure throughout the year and decrease evening daylight exposure during the spring months

Architecture Spotlight: Abhay Wadhwa

-By Ben Hinson-

Abhay Wadhwa, aka “The Poet of Light” is a very interesting personality in the world of architecture and design. His formative years in the 70s and 80s were spent in India, and if you had told him then that today he would be heading up his own successful architectural lighting firm in New York City, chances are he would not have believed you. But yet here he is, his firm, AWA Lighting Designers firmly established in Brooklyn. And this specialist has certainly made a name for himself: his work has been featured across India, New York City, Dubai, New Jersey, Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia. Check out the below pictures that offer a sample of his achievements to date:

Brigade gateway – bangalore india

Holland tunnel – New Jersey

Nets go @ seoul plaza – south korea

icici bank – india

Trained as an architect, he discovered his passion for lighting design while working part-time at a theater gig during his sophomore year in architecture school. He founded AWA Lighting Designers in 2002, and since then has transformed his startup into a respected global brand. Abhay likes to focus on projects with high design content, projects that are challenging, projects that can make people happier and use lighting to influence moods. His economic approach to lighting design is to be cost effective and energy efficient. His aesthetic approach is a poetic one, that involves enhancing specific focus points and revealing subtle architectural details and rhythms. And his eclectic nature is evident even in conversation. When I spoke with Abhay for this article, we discussed topics ranging from the intricacies of lighting design (lighting levels, lighting litigation, lighting across different cultures) to history, anthropology and economics across Asia, the Caribbean and Europe. He is quite a unique character, and I appreciated that about him. If I was a contractor/builder evaluating an architectural service provider, besides having a Big Picture, intimate understanding of the project, I would also want someone who took into serious consideration the market, cultural and social forces; past and present, at play, and for that Mr. Abhay Wadhwa has my salute. Talking with him was definitely a treat. Be sure to check out his firm, AWA Lighting Designers for more samples of their work. I’ll leave you with the below video of Abhay speaking at the 2015 Professional Lighting Designers Conference. Enjoy.

View the full article here.

What is Culture?

The definition of culture is better understood when the different variables that define it are studied. In order to get a better resolution on what culture really stands for, it is important to understand the ingredients/ elements that contribute to a culture. Some of these elements are listed below:

  • Arts and architecture
  • Technology
  • Economics
  • Religion
  • Literature
  • Politics
  • Tradition and Ritual
  • Human Physiology
  • Context / Climate

Lighting solutions in different cultures carry certain unifying elements, and then there are local variations that may arise due to any of the reasons listed above. We use the McDonald’s metaphor to explain the local variations. The following is a listing of the different McDonald staples internationally:

  • Belgium:  Croque McDo
  • France:  French fries are fried potatoes
  • Hong Kong:  Rice-Fan-Tastic, McRice
  • India:   Maharajah Mac, chicken tikka burger, veg burger (no beef)
  • Israel:   McShawarma, barbecued vs. fried beef patties
  • Japan:   Tsukimi Burger (Moon-Viewing Burger!)
  • Pakistan:  McKofta, McChutney Burger
  • South Korea: McBingsoo (Korean shaved ice)
  • USA:  Super-Sizing

Hypotheses on the Culture of Light

Lighting balances universal ideas about light with local variations. A given culture’s position in the global economic development cycle is reflected in its use of lighting in urban, built and un-built, nighttime environments. Successful lighting design balances human instinct to gravitate toward light with human resistance to over-lighting.

This Sculpture In Chicago Is Made From Over 3000 Hand Blown Glass Orbs


Made From Over 3000 Hand Blown Glass Orbs.


Deriving its name from the Latin Lucere, meaning ‘to shine’.

Artist Wolfgang Buttress, has completed Lucent, a new sculpture created as part of the lobby refurbishment of the iconic John Hancock Center in Chicago. Lucent is a 4 meter-diameter hemisphere perforated with 3,115 holes representing stars visible with the naked eye from Earth’s Northern hemisphere. Fiber-optic cables emerge from each point, emitting a glowing ambient light.

Click HERE to read more

Article Written by : From Contemporist

Image courtesy of : Mark Hadden Photography

Source : Contemporist

New Energy Technologies want to make Electricity with Every Window


Can be applied on traditional skyscraper windows.


They can tint in custom colors.

American company, new energy technologies is developing electricity generating transparent windows and products for America’s 85 million detached homes and commercial buildings. Their mission has been to create solar windows which produce impressive amounts of clean electricity, that benefit the environment and the building landscape. The team developed a coating capable of generating electricity on glass and flexible plastics that is processed uniformly in different color tints. These polymer organic photovoltaic arrays are clear and only capture UV rays which can be scaled up and have unparalleled manufacturability.

Click HERE to read more

Article Written by : Piotr Boruslawski

Image courtesy of : New Energy Technologies

Source : Designboom

‘Ark of Return’ Unveiled- A Memorial to the Victims of Slavery opens at the United Nations Headquarters in New York

A Memorial Honoring Victims of Slavery Opens at the UN Headquarters in New York City

AWA Lighting Designers were honored and humbled to be selected by Rodney Leon of Rodney Leon Architects, to provide lighting design services for this landmark project. The project is located at the UN Plaza in NYC, and was recently opened to critical acclaim. The ‘Ark of Return’ is a memorial in honor of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, and will be permanently on display at the Plaza at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City.

The memorial project process was started over five years ago by UNESCO and the Permanent Memorial Committee. The memorial was conceived with support from the UN Department of Public Information’s Remember Slavery Programme, and Member States from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the African Union. The Permanent Representative of Jamaica, Courtenay Rattray, served as chair of the Permanent Memorial Committee. Several nations, along with UNESCO, helped raise over $1.7 million to build the memorial.

The concept for the design of the memorial by Rodney Leon emerged from three important elements that individually and collectively generated the design solution.
• Acknowledge the Tragedy
• Consider the Legacy
• Lest We Forget
The lighting design solution aimed to create a respectful space, that augmented the visitors journey through the ‘Ark of Return’ – conceptually, psychologically and spiritually – to a place where acknowledgement, education, reflection and healing can take place.

CLIENT: United Nations
ARCHITECT: Rodney Leon Architects
YEAR: 2014 – 2015

Press Release: AWA_ArkofReturn_PressRelease_July2015

View of the Memorial  from the Plaza- 59th Street Bridge and Long Island City in the background

View of the Memorial from the Plaza- 59th Street Bridge and Long Island City in the background

The  Trinity Figure- A deeply moving depiction of the forced travel

The Trinity Figure- A deeply moving depiction of the forced travel

Secretary General Bahn-Ki Moon Inaugurates the Memorial

Secretary General Bahn-Ki Moon Inaugurates the Memorial

As you enter the Memorial from the North- UN Secretariat in the Background

As you enter the Memorial from the North- UN Secretariat in the Background
















































10 Projects That Lay Out the Future of Brick


South Asian Human Rights Documentation Centre

Briefed to block noise and direct sunlight while retaining some light and ventilation. It screens an office building for a Human Rights NGO. The project demonstrates the delicacy that brick can have — in a form that would not be conceived with any other material. A new generation of architects are reimagining what a brick building is, and their work demonstrates that, far from being anachronistic, brick is likely to remain relevant in the future as new ways are found to exploit its many qualities. Brick doesn’t have the grandeur of stone or the modernity of concrete or steel. But they do have a remarkable series of properties: they’re economical, weather resistant, and fireproof. They can be made locally from natural materials and they’re recyclable. They’re also environmentally efficient, as their open cell structure stores heat and releases it slowly, making brick buildings cool in summer and warm in winter. Lastly, bricks are also widely liked by non-architects.

Click HERE to read more about the Projects

Article Written by : William Hall

Photo by : Architizer

Source : Architizer