The IES award program means some fun annual rituals for the MBL team.


In the New Year, take stock.

January is a special month at MBL- at that time each year, the team takes stock of “the best of” the previous year’s projects that might be Illumination Engineering Society (IES) Award worthy and gets busy filling the page with a descriptive narrative that anonymously describes a projects design criteria and the corresponding solution.  The anonymity of the project is part of the fun of this annual ritual; it focuses the story on the pure ingenuity and originality of the lighting design scheme.

Pens down by February and the entries go in. Life continues with a healthy flurry of new projects. The award judges, selected from a broad professional spectrum, represent a wide range of knowledge of lighting and design excellence. The judging system is entirely based on how well the lighting design meets the program criteria, but…the Illumination Awards program is not a competition.

Spring comes, and along with it the announcement from the IES Awards Chair to the winners.

This year, MBL was awarded the “Toronto IES Illumination Section Award” for seven of seven submissions: TD Conference Centre, (TD Tower), CN Tower -LookOut Level, Mega Parc (Quebec City), Element Ai, University of Toronto – John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design, the Toronto Eaton Centre’s Pedestrian Bridge, and the Kimpton Hotel, Toronto.

Winning Toronto Section Awards for every submission is a significant achievement, but additionally, six of the seven entries advance to the international judging and were awarded the “Merit Award”.  These six entries will also be further considered for the Award of Excellence, to be announced later in Q4.   MBL is proud of the six projects that moved on to “Merit level” as only twelve Merit Awards were given in Toronto. Let’s do the math- MBL scooped up 50% of the Toronto Merit Awards, and 30% of the twenty Merit Awards awarded across Canada!  Definitely a first for MBL and something to celebrate!

Fast forward to the fall, and the MBL team will enjoy the Toronto Section iNova Awards Evening and the Gala celebration on Friday, September 20, 2019.  

The Merit Award Winners will be showcased during the Gala Dinner following the Section Award presentation, recognizing their further international achievement.  Glasses will be raised, ideas and information exchanged at this charming gathering of a very diversified lighting design community.  The annual cycle is complete, but the desire for inclusion next year continues, unabated.


The MBL Team extends thanks to their valued Clients and Suppliers for the following projects: 

CN TOWER – LOOKOUT LEVEL, TORONTO: The CN Tower’s observation level was renovated to revitalize the visitor experience.  A glare controlled, shielded lighting scheme was required to set up optimal viewing conditions at night, allowing the view to take “centre stage”. The lighting design is orchestrated to be brighter, more playful in the centre core of the observation level that contains exhibits, visitor orientation, and concessions, etc., and extremely subtle toward the circular glass viewing perimeter. Lighting Design: Paul Boken, Osvaldo Sepulveda, Stephen Kaye  |  Architecture: Cumulus Architects (Sheldon Catarino)  |  Contractor: PCL / Guild Electric  |  Supplier: Lumenwerx (Salex)

JOHN H. DANIELS FACULTY OF ARCHITECTURE, LANDSCAPE, AND DESIGNA high level of design was achieved on a project that juggled a heritage building reno and addition, a modest budget, and a high degree of transparency for energy performance. As a “living lab”, the energy efficiency of the systems was required to be a transparent model to students. Lighting and lighting controls were synched with daylight harvesting strategies. Lighting Design: MBl (Paul Boken, Stephen Kaye)  |  Executive Architect: NADAAA (Katherine Faulkner, Richard Lee)  |  Architect of Record: Adamson Associates  |  Contractor: Eastern Construction  |  Supplier: OZZ Electric

KIMPTON HOTEL, TORONTO: An existing hotel was purchased by an international brand and transformed with a whimsical décor. Custom wall, floor, and table fixtures are prominent elements in both public and private spaces; an oversized multi-pronged wall mounted fixture is the main act in the lobby “living room”. A reference to Mirvish Village is made with the elevator lobby’s theatre-like infinity mirror. An integrated bedside lamp-and-table and suspended ceiling pendants give the guest suites a relaxed residential feel. Lighting Design: MBL (Paul Boken, Julia Ly)  |  Interior Design: Mason Studio (Joel Hunking, Ashley Rumsey)  |  Custom Lighting: Scott Lamp Company  |  Photography: Scott Norsworthy

TD CONFERENCE CENTRE, TC CENTRE, TORONTO: An existing subterranean theatre was repurposed into a world-class conference center for TD Bank. Multi-tasking lighting was required for formal meetings, multimedia presentations, plus evening events. Daylight simulating lighting treatments render a below-grade commercial event centre luminous and natural. Lighting Design: MBL (Paul Boken, Osvaldo Sepulveda)  |  Architecture: Gensler (Michael Machnic, Astrid Sanchez)  |  Contractor: PCL / Guild Electric  |  Supplier: Cooledge, Coelux, Lumenwerx (TPL, Salex)

MEGA PARC, QUEBEC CITY: Mega Parc reopened after a complete revamp with a steampunk theme, reflected in the finishes and the design of the rides. Custom fixtures throughout were inspired by the industrial design aesthetic and dreamlike setting. Large custom pendants suspended from the high ceiling provide an ambient glow to the space, while integrated handrail lighting illuminates just about every walk way, bridge and stair case. The 750-foot skating trail (Canada’s largest indoor ice trail) boasts a continuous, dynamically illuminated perimeter. Lighting Design: MBL (Paul Boken, Alan McIntosh)  |  Architect: RevelHouse (John Plumpton)  |  Contractor: Electrical Contractor; Revenco, Specialty Contractor; Solotech (solotech_Inc)

ELEMENT AI, MONTREAL: Element AI needed an office that would re-write the script on collaborative work space and be a talent magnet. Using playful decorative concepts in selective spaces, the lighting defers to the nature of Ai, but delivers a soothing work environment, playing up the “cool factor” of each of the different zones. Lighting Design: MBL (Paul Boken, Osvaldo Sepulveda) Dark Tools (Glenn Boccini)  |  Interior Design: Linebox Studio (Josée Anne Pronovost, Melissa Reeves)  |  Contractor: Marfoglio

EATON CENTRE PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE, TORONTO: Replacing the original 1977 skywalk connection over Queen Street, this link revitalizes the connection between the Hudson Bay building and the TEC. With the bridge being completely encased in glass, the lighting was integrated into the box beam structure at the sides and underbelly of the bridge and into the floor surface. Lighting Design: MBL (Paul Boken, Stephen Kaye)  & Speirs + Major (Samuel Tuck)  |  Architecture: WilkinsonEyre (James Perry, Dominic Bettison) & Zeidler Architects (Vaidila Banelis, David Collins)  |  Contractor: PCL Construction/Symtech  |  Supplier: LED-Linear – TPL Lighting / Nelson & Garrett