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SOURCE Awards winner: Elizabeth Hundley

Elizabeth Hundley

Appalachian State University student Elizabeth Hundley won SOURCE Awards recognition in 2016 for her restaurant lighting design.

Located in the heart of Los Angeles, Salt: A Persian Experience serves authentic Persian cuisine in a traditional, Persian family style. The restaurant’s concept is simple: salt. Iran’s Dasht-e Kavīr desert is one of the few places where blue salt can be collected; the salt’s crystalline, sharp structure and the sands’ organic, curvilinear patterns create a unique interior and the perfect palette for a creative lighting concept.

Hundley’s lighting design is based on fractals and geometric forms. As guests enter the front door, they are greeted by a gobo light element on the feature wall behind the host. The Lumière Cambria 290 fixture houses a gobo that projects fractals of light onto the restaurant logo. io LED strip fixtures in the cove elements accent sloped, pointed ceiling forms, emphasizing the edges and providing ambient light for the main dining space. Halo’s H4 4-inch adjustable gimbal downlight fixtures offer additional ambient and task lighting; the adjustable feature allows the light to cover each table evenly despite the sloped ceilings. Grazing provides accent lighting. In the bar area, lighting accents the fractal forms and creates a unique atmosphere; for example, the bar is backlit by io LED symmetric fixtures, and pendant fixtures accent main elements such as the bar counter.

The Eaton’s Lighting Division team caught up with Hundley at LIGHTFAIR International to learn more about how winning a SOURCE Award affected her and her plans for the future.

What’s it like winning a SOURCE Award?

Winning the award has given me great opportunities. I enjoyed the project and getting to know Eaton’s products, and I’ve loved being at LIGHTFAIR. This is my first time at the show, and it’s given me a great glimpse of what I’ll experience in the professional world.

I got the email saying I’d won at 3 a.m. I called my mom right away, and of course I woke her up. She thought I was sick – she didn’t think I’d have good news in the middle of the night! My family and I are very excited. I didn’t expect to win, but it’s a huge honor, and I’m really proud of my project.

What inspired you to enter this lighting design contest?

I took a course in lighting at school, and I grew interested in how light can liven up a space. You can have a great design, but unless you have the right lighting, that design won’t sing. I wanted to take a restaurant and make it feel bright and airy using lighting elements.

Is there anything about Eaton that surprised you?

I had no idea that some of these technologies are out there. My design incorporated a lot of small, linear fixtures – down to three-quarters of an inch – and I didn’t know those existed. Eaton helped me see that my ideas weren’t impossible, and it was inspiring to be able to carry out my vision.

What are you hoping to do at LIGHTFAIR?

I want to see new technologies and get to know all of the brands and products that are here. I know that LEDs are on the rise, and I’ll be keeping a close eye on them.

How does winning a SOURCE Award play into your future plans? 

I want to build an interior design career in hospitality or retail, and lighting design plays an important role in these spaces. Having a SOURCE Award on my resume is sure to help me, and I look forward to incorporating lighting into my work. In the meantime, I’m getting ready to launch my big senior year project, and I couldn’t be more inspired.

If you were talking to a student who might be thinking about entering next year, what would you say? 

Without a question – do it! Also, work hard. Take your time. Really hone in on what you want to achieve. Do your research and specify every last fixture. Be detailed, but let your creative side guide you, too; do what feels right. Reach for the stars; this is a great opportunity, and there’s nothing stopping you.


The SOURCE Awards competition, established in 1977, focuses on furthering the understanding, knowledge and function of lighting as a primary element in design. Designed to recognize and honor the bright future of the lighting design industry, the awards are part of Eaton’s commitment to building the pipeline of lighting design talent.

The SOURCE Awards are open to students who use Eaton’s lighting fixtures and controls products in a conceptual interior or exterior lighting design. University students studying architecture, design, engineering or related disciplines are invited to enter. Enter Now

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