KPU interior design student shines at Illumination Awards

Mon, Jun 16, 2014

A Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) interior design student received glowing recognition for her lighting, technical and design know-how at the annual Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) of B.C.’s Vision Awards Gala last week.

Fourth-year student Judith Babcock and her BCIT teammate Irene Lun won first prize at SHINE: the IES’s student lighting design competition which challenges students to come up with a design concept to light an existing local art sculpture.

“I'm truly thrilled to share the first ever SHINE competition with my teammate Irene. It's always an honour to represent KPU in competitions like this, and I'd especially like to thank the local IES chapter, our industry supporters and Kwantlen’s amazing faculty and staff for their unwavering support,” said Babcock, who studies at KPU Richmond.

Students were given four hours to design exterior lighting for sculptor Bruce Voyce’s “Search Engine” – an installation at Burnaby’s Holdom SkyTrain station that commemorates the train engine that sank into Still Creek a century ago.

Babcock and Lun, who were randomly paired at the start of the event, responded to the challenge with a submission called GHOST TRAIN. Their vision was to create a sense of movement and energy around Voyce’s fixed train, and bring the ghosts of B.C.’s past to life.

The pair envisioned LED lighting that would reflect off the steam billowing out of the train to create an “ethereal quality to the sculpture.” Their plan also included offset strips of LED ribbon lighting on the train’s wheels to create the illusion of movement, and a restructuring of the area surrounding the showpiece to accommodate star-like lighting along a paved walkway.

“As a designer, I appreciate the impact great lighting design has in creating emotion and sheer practicality within the built environment. Without light, we have nothing. Entering my senior year and receiving this recognition from the IES opens new doors for me, with potential for new opportunities in the future. It's a very exciting time,” said Babcock, a Vancouver resident.

A broad spectrum of professionals with lighting and design backgrounds judged each submission on eight criteria, including how the design solution visually tied the sculpture to the Millenium Line SkyTrain station. The top three teams were invited to last week’s Vision Awards Gala, where Babcock and Lun were announced as the competition's winners in front of leading professionals in the design and lighting industry.

To view more photos of Babcock, as well as design sketches and renderings of GHOST TRAIN, visit KPU's Flickr page.

The Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) Illumination Awards publicly recognize professionalism, ingenuity and originality in lighting design. More information about the IES is available here. To learn more about KPU’s interior design program, visit:

Kwantlen Polytechnic University has been serving the Metro Vancouver region since 1981, and has opened doors to success for more than 250,000 people. Four campuses—Richmond, Surrey, Cloverdale and Langley—offer a comprehensive range of sought-after programs, including business, liberal arts, science, design, health, trades and technology, horticulture, and academic and career advancement. Over 19,000 students annually have a choice from over 124 programs, including bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, diplomas, certificates citations and apprenticeships. Learn more at


Caption: Judith Babcock accepting her award at the Illuminating Engineering Society of B.C.'s prestigious Vision Awards Gala. 

Media contact:
Hayley Woodin
Media Specialist, KPU
t: 604.599.2883
c: 604.364.1288

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