Industrial Design Students Awarded in National Lighting Design Competition

A group of 28 students from Applied Design, led by Associate Professor of Industrial Design and Assistant Chair of Applied Design, Michael Rall, recently participated in the highly acclaimed Robert Bruce Thompson Lighting Design Competition, showcasing their exemplary skills and innovative design concepts. The annual competition aims to promote education and awareness in the field of light fixture design.

During the 9-week project, each student took on the challenge individually, developing their unique lighting concept for a chain restaurant. The students embarked on a journey of creativity and craftsmanship, immersing themselves in the world of design and exploring materials, scale, and functionality.

First Place winner Ben Pipitone's concept Halo.Second Place winner Tyler Cook's concept Celia.

One notable achievement came from Ben Pipitone, who secured the prestigious first-place position in the national competition. His captivating and meticulously documented design earned him a well-deserved cash prize of $5,000. Tyler Cook placed second, receiving $2,500 for his exceptional design and attention to detail.

The winners demonstrated exceptional talent and dedication throughout the project. Their ability to effectively communicate their vision through in-context renderings and detailed drawings played a significant role in setting them apart from their competitors.

Guiding the students throughout the design process was their esteemed professor, who offered valuable insights and expertise. From defining restaurant styles to analyzing materials and lighting sources, their professor played a pivotal role in shaping the student's creative vision.

It was fantastic to see the students' hard work recognized by the Robert Bruce Thompson Lighting Competition. For both Ben and Tyler, this validation by an outside entity of their design talent will go a long way in elevating their portfolios when they enter the job market. - Michael Rall, Associate Professor of Industrial Design

The Robert Bruce Thompson Lighting Design Competition continues to provide a platform for aspiring designers to showcase their skills nationally. It highlights the exceptional talent and ingenuity present within the university community, inspiring future generations to pursue their creative aspirations.

About the Robert Bruce Thompson Lighting Design Competition
The Robert Bruce Thompson Lighting Design Competition is an annual competition that aims to promote education and awareness in the field of light fixture design. The competition challenges participants to create innovative and compelling lighting concepts for various settings.

About the Department of Applied Design
One of seven departments housed in the College of Fine and Applied Arts, the Department of Applied Design at Appalachian State University fosters excellence in design education, design research, and professional placement. The department balances theoretical and pragmatic approaches while exploring an awareness of impact through design decisions on the global community. Faculty focus on a holistic approach to creative problem-solving by integrating sustainability and ethical responsibility in teaching and practice. The department offers bachelor's degrees in apparel design and merchandising, industrial design, and interior design.

About the College of Fine and Applied Arts
Appalachian State University's College of Fine and Applied Arts is a dynamic and innovative group of seven academic departments, bringing together a variety of perspectives, experiences, and real-world education to provide unique opportunities for student success. The college has more than 3,500 undergraduate and graduate majors. Its departments are Applied Design, Art, Communication, Military Science and Leadership, Sustainable Development, Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment, and Theatre and Dance. Learn more at

About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the Southeast, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls nearly 21,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio, and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.

Ben Pipitone holding his 1st place Trophy in the Robert Bruce Thompson Lighting Competition.
Published: Sep 6, 2023 11:54am