Howard Brandston: The American lighting design shares his memories about lighting design pioneers

Howard Brandston shares his memories about the lighting design pioneer Stanley McCandless. Stanley McCandless (1897-1967) received a degree in architecture from Harvard, taught at the Yale School of Drama and became a leading stage lighting designer. His book „A Method of Lighting the Stage” has laid a foundation for modern stage lighting. The McCandless Method has been used widely. McCandless founded his studio in 1933. Howard Brandston, an award-winning lighting designer, has realised many high-profile projects from the Statue of Liberty to the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, explains what he has learned from the innovative stage lighting designer.

Lighting Design Pioneers included in the interview

  • Seymour Evans
  • Abe Feder
  • John Flynn
  • Richard Kelly
  • Stanley Mc Candless
  • Edison Price
  • Bill Richardson
  • Lewis Smith

Seymour Evans

Seymour Evens was a genius salesman for lighting in New York in the 1950s and 1960s, explains Howard Brandston. Howard Brandston, an award-winning lighting designer, has realised many high-profile projects from the Statue of Liberty to the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, has worked at Seymour Evans.


Abe Feder

Abe Feder (1910-1997) was a theatrical lighting designer and did architectural lighting design. He was involved in the lighting of 300 Broadway shows like “My Fair Lady” and “Camelot”. Abe Feder illuminated several architecture projects like offices, banks and concert halls and universities as well. Major lighting project were for example the RCA Building in Rockefeller Center and the Prometheus Fountain or the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington. Joseph Wechsberg wrote in the The New Yorker about Abe Feder in 1960: „ Feder plays with light as a composer plays with sound.” Abe Feder was a founding member of the International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD) in 1969.


John Flynn

John Flynn was the conscious of good lighting, explains Howard Brandston. John E. Flynn (1930- ) is a co-author of “Architectural Lighting Graphics” (1962), a reference book for lighting design. Flynn and his research group have published influential papers on the psychological effects of lighting in the 1970s. He taught at Penn State University 1973-1980.


Richard Kelly and Edison Price

Richard Kelly (1910-1977) has been considered as a pioneer for architectural lighting. He founded Richard Kelly Lighting Design in 1950. His lighting projects include Kimball Museum of Fine Arts, the Yale Center at British Art and Studies and the Seagram Building. Edison Price Lighting has manufactured innovative lighting fixtures since 1952. Together they were a strong team for architectural lighting. Richard Kelly was a founding member of the International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD) in 1969.


Bill Richardson

Bill Richardson was famous for theatre and hotel lighting in the 1950s and 1960s.


Lewis Smith

Lewis Smith (1904-1987) had an incredible knowledge of historic restoration and lighting fixtures. He designed lighting for the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York and the National Episcopal Cathedral in Washington as well as for several hotels. Lewis Smith Architectural Lighting was founded 1939. Lewis Smith was a founding member of the International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD) in 1969.


In this interview Howard Brandston talks about the lucky moments in his architectural lighting design career. He looks back to his two mentors: Gustav Blum, a theater director and teacher and Leon Freund, an artist and a teacher.