Lightswitch Provides Art and Opportunity to College Campus

Elizabeth Dale

NAMM Member, Lightswitch, is a “collective of internationally-recognized lighting, media, and visual designers committed to changing the way people experience the world.” This spring, Lightswitch applied its core disciplines of lighting design, media design, sustainably responsible design, and control system design and programming as part of a COVID-friendly art installation.

The company was founded by Norm Schwab and John Featherstone in 1993, with the “intention of creating a truly different and distinctive lighting and visual design company.” The company quickly built a loyal customer base from its offices in San Francisco and Chicago, collaborating with iconic brands like Apple and Nintendo. After breaking into the theme park sector, Lightswitch expanded operations in 1999 to include Orlando, which served the company’s ever-growing presence in the theme park markets. As Lightswitch continued to flourish, it established offices in New York, Los Angeles, and Hong Kong. In 2019, it merged with Orangelite, acquiring its expertise in E-Sports and electronic gaming.

Lightswitch 2021 Sizzle Reel

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The list of credits for the company include a 2021 Berlin Wall exhibit at the Reagan Ranch Center in Santa Barbara (CA), 2015 to 2019’s BlizzCon, the video game convention held by Blizzard Entertainment in Anaheim (CA), the 2019 royal inauguration at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Diriyah (Saudi Arabia), and tours for artists like Paula Abdul, Bob Dylan, Imagine Dragons, Eddie Izzard, Journey, and Lionel Richie.

One of the recent projects from Lightswitch transformed a parking garage on the campus at Arizona State University (ASU) in Tempe into an immersive environment full of sensory-rich experiences. The project, named Designspace, was a drive-thru installation that featured visual elements from industry professionals, structural artists HYBYCOZO (the Hyperspace Bypass Construction Zone), and ASU students from the school's Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. Featherstone said, “With COVID-19 ending the 2020 season prematurely, we feared the same results could happen this year. These students have spent as long as we have virtually. So, I kicked some ideas around of how we could engage the students in a project at a time when lots of lighting and video gear, as well as technicians, were sitting idle.”

Lightswitch ASU Instillation

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The mile-long drive was “an exploration of the duality of space, both the space above us and space between us,” and it featured exhibits that centered on the world around us as well as space through the medium of sculptural art pieces and light, sound, and video installations. Under the guidance of Featherstone, Designspace allowed students to flex their lighting, video, and production skills that have been the focus of their studies.

For more information from Lightswitch, please visit