new york
lighting design



Howard Brandston studied theatrical illumination at Brooklyn College and began his career in lighting in the New York theatre. Prior to founding his own firm in 1966, he was a designer at several manufacturing and lighting design firms including Century Lighting, Inc., where he served as assistant to Stanley McCandless, one of the pioneer figures in lighting design. He has more than fifty years experience in lighting design, engineering and electronics, designing illumination for more than 2,500 commercial, institutional, residential and governmental projects.

Mr. Brandston received two major awards in 1999. For his contributions to architecture, he was awarded the AIA Institute Honors award. Also, for his outstanding leadership in the lighting industry, he received the Illuminating Engineering Society Medal, its highest honor; he is just the fourth designer to be so recognized by the IES. He is also one of four IES members to be awarded every major award from that organization. In 1992, he was included in the Interior Design Hall of Fame, the only lighting designer ever to be awarded this honor. Recently, Mr. Brandston was honored as an initial inductee in the Lighting Design Hall of Fame and also received the International Association of Lighting Designers Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2005, he received the Louis B. Marks Award, the IESNA’s highest honor for service to the Society. Mr. Brandston is a past president of the Illuminating Engineering Society and has addressed forums of the American Institute of Architects, the Illuminating Engineering Society, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, the Producers Council, the United States Institute of Theatre Technology, and others.

He has been a guest lecturer or visiting professor at Ohio University, City College of New York, Cooper Union, Temple University, Hofstra University, Washington University, and other institutions. He was formerly Adjunct Professor of Architecture at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and worked at the Lighting Research Center there. He held the Feltman Chair in Lighting at Cooper Union where he was adjunct professor of Social Science and Humanities. He recently established The Howard M. Brandston Award in Lighting at Brooklyn College.

With the inspiration that design concepts were lacking in lighting literature, Howard wrote Learning to See, A Matter of Light, a short textbook encouraging lighting designers to take a holistic view. Since its 2008 publication, the book has received international acclaim and was also published in Portuguese.

His light sculptures have been shown in art galleries throughout the United States and are permanently installed in museums and university collections.