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James Clotfelter MFA double major Transdisciplinary Design and Lighting Design

Design Portfolio, Spring 2014


Design in Daylight: Organization and Program

Lighting Studio II, Project 2: Daylight Strategy for a Community Library Team project with Jordana Goot and Silvia Mazzari Spring 2014 Instructors: Davidson Norris, Glen Shrum, Kim Ackert

For this project, my team designed a daylight system for a small, two-story library. Roof fenestration included a North-facing aperture that blocked direct light and a South facing aperture that allowed small amounts of direct light only at the equinox. Linear cove lighting is integrated into the ceiling and skylights. We established a target Daylight Factor of 4-6% and calculated 5.5% at the task surface.

Equinox - 47.2º Summer Solstice - 68.9º Winter Solstice - 25.8º

130º 130º

Summer Solstice - 68.9º


opposite: East facade treatment provided screen-like shading that blocked summer sun while activating the space with small penetrations of shifting light in the morning of each season.


Design in Electric Light: Organization and Program

Lighting Studio 1, Project 3 Team project with Yunong Zhang Fall 2013 Instructors: Craig Bernecker, Amer Maleh, Jason Neches

Product fitness 80


The lighting proposal for Muji’s new space in the Meatpacking District reflects their elegant, design-led product aesthetic and uses fixture form and shape to develop a symbology of programming. The design supports a highly collaborative, mixed use space by capitalizing on an open floor plan and various levels of transparency. Through articulated organizations of public and private space, the design will nurture and motivate sophisticated, relevant and responsible design innovations that reflect a consistent engagement with Muji’s customers and collaborators.

6 Linear and rectangular fixtures indicate boundries and private space. Recessed linear channels can be found along corridors and suspended fixtures are located in the private offices.

Circular fixtures indicate spaces of overlap where design, collaboration and prototyping merge. These are transparent and accessible.

The cubical fixtures that compose the featured stairwell chandalier suggest stability, balance and cohesion.


Design in Representation

Representation and Analysis, Exquisite Corpse Fall 2013 Instructor: Erica Goetz

This representation of the Internation Center of Photography examines the physical relationship of the two-story, semisubmerged gallery against the proximity of the city beyond. Using film as a medium to explore displayed photography allows an appreciation for scale and depth in implied demension. The metal hardware gestures to the scaffolding that surrounded the museum during my visit.


Designed Destruction

Representation and Analysis, Thesis Fall 2013 Instructor: Erica Goetz

My investigation of the ICP used the recently currated flood portraiture to challenge how the museum presents “concerned� photography within the cosmopolitan context of midtown NYC. The use of their exterior light box demonstrates a conflict between advertisement and curation. The former sustains art through the museum as facility, and the latter displays the work in a manner that supports its relevance. My thesis highlighted this conflict by breaching the street level gallery window with the now frighteningly common city flood.

the ICP (central stair and exterior light box)

flood rendering (with photograph on acetate)

flood water cascading down the central staircase GoPro time elapse


Design in Electric Light: Dimension and Structure

Lighting Studio 1, Project 2 Event Installation Team project with Sophia Mitchell Fall 2013 Instructors: Craig Bernecker, Amer Maleh, Jason Neches

Philips Luminous Talks Nature & Man-Made This project addressed lighting for an event that was to take place on the 3rd floor of our building. The deisign was inspired by discovered intrusions of nature into the built environment and the ephemeral yet structural qualities that result from these intersections. We defined our project space as the introductory lobby and reception area including the elevator. Through this transitional space, the design facilitates a series of moments that provide visual accomodation to the environment and a conceptual introduction to the overall event.


Translucency, planes of light, and implied definitions of space drove the design.






Implications of Light: Perceptions of Depth and Volume

Lighting Studio 1, Project 1 Light Effect Fall 2013 Instructors: Craig Bernecker, Amer Maleh, Jason Neches

This project allowed us to explore a discovered lighting effect and re-interpret it within a 15� x 15� box. The photos to the right were taken at the NY Public Library at Bryant Park where diffuse daylight has entered an otherwise warmly lit volume. This play of spectral color communicates a great sense of depth, volume, and an instant familiarity. My project investigates this effect by manipulating the relationship of a warm, foreground source and a cool background source to achieve variations of depth and volume.



goal: 5000-6500K LED source: 4400K filter: 1/2 CTB (3200K to 4300K)

goal: 2700-2900K LED source: 4400K filter: 1/8 CTS (6500K to 5550K)

Box Construction: foam core 12v LED ribbon w/ color correction filters 12v Li-ion battery 12v PWM dimmers


Design as Architecture

Summer Studies in Constructed Environments Summer 2013 Instructors: Elizabeth Parker

This summer course spanned five weeks in which we conceived and executed a design proposal for a new public sculpture restoration center in the meatpacking district. The inspiration for the design was rooted in my study of Cheri Tredanari’s No. 11 Perspectives and the surroundings of our given site. This building is designed to engage and reward the unique perspective of the pedestrian which specifically draws from Washington Street and the adjacent Highline Park.


Design as Service and Resource Networks

Transdisciplinary Design Studio Team project with Mike Varona and James Frankis Spring 2013 Instructors: Brian Phillips and Rupal Sanghvi

This studio focused on the impacts of food access on social and physical health and wellbeing. Our project, Fullfill, aims to leverage a natural tendency to gather around food as catalyst for connectivity in order to bring together local food resources, services and events. The network’s structure builds social capital for communities in urban areas and works with those communities to identify local problems in need of design solutions.

Personal Cooking

Commercial Incubator

Restaurant Incubation


Par. Catering

Par. Cooking

Ingredient Pick Up

Ingredient Storage

Supermarket Delivery

CSA CSA Pick up


brings people


Pop-up Restaurants

Community Meetings

Group Meetings

Networking Events




Cooking Education

Contests Classes

Health Education

Skill Share

Programs Commercial License


Prep. Space

Outdoor Kitchen


Industrial Kitchen





Dinning Space

Event Space


Designing Light with Physical Computing: Interaction at a Distance

Fly on the Wall: collab with Tongji University in Shanghai, China Team project with Michael Varona, Stephen Finney, Bei Yingjie, and Zhu Jingwen Fall 2013 Instructor: Sven Travis

This collab used open Frameworks and physical computing to explore interaction at a distance. We worked in teams with students in China so we had to create communication systems that allowed us to collaborate and design a complex project together. Our project, Solar Fly, collected data related to local variations in sunlight and visualized this over Spacebrew, a network connection hub. We further enhanced the system to interact with movement and facial recognition.

Team meeting (12hr time difference)

Arduino with Photocell circuit


China camera


photo cell

photo cell Arduino Uno




Arduino Uno


system diagram

US & China components connected through Spacebrew HAARFINDER FACE TRIGGER GROWS GRASS

light detection grows leaves

face recognition grows grass

movement generates rain


Lighting Design for Live Performance: addressing the architectural space

Enjoy 59 East 59, NYC, Spring 2010 Produced by The Play Company Directed by Dan Rothenberg

This section demonstrates design ideas that address the architecture of a performance space and the capability of light to further manipulate that environment. Architecture, in this instance, can be discussed in two ways: the physicality of the space that houses a performance and the organization of light within that space. I use light to influence how we perceive a given space to be structured and to inform the viewer of their role within it. By manipulating these architectural environments, light has the potential to ascribe physical structure where there is only empty space.

Enjoy is a play that begins within a Japanese manga cafĂŠ staffed by temporary employees where, ostensibly, nothing seems to happen. Passively hipster in dialogue and character interaction, it actively contextualizes the extreme social imbalance and unemployment issues that affect both contemporary Japan and the United States. As the play deconstructs, the room shifts in its orientation to the narrative and the lighting gradually slips both actors and audience into a heightened theatrical environment. Partly inspired by anime, and partly suggestive of the major metropolises of Shinjuku and NYC, lighting sculpts and re-shapes the set to support locations beyond the fixed walls of the cafĂŠ break room. From interpretations of sunlight through a window to the glaring fluorescent light of a subway platform, lighting thematically drives the narrative of the play forward, shifting perceptions of location and time.


Lighting Design for Live Performance: addressing the architectural space

Canyon BAM, Harvey Theatre, Fall 2011 John Jasperse

The architectural organization of light relates as much to the lighting fixture as to the light it projects. In my design work, the physical location of a fixture is as important as the light it emits and this consideration presents a constant challenge. How an audience member relates to the theatrical devices they recognize, effects how they invest in the experience. A light that is architecturally aligned with the visual design, rather than the building, can more successfully maintain its relationship within the performance.

Canyon is a dance performance that explores the experiential conditions of awe, wonderment, disorientation, spaciousness, and fractured connectivity. The choreography and visual design acknowledged the structural qualities of the theater’s architecture as departure points and attempted to manipulate a sense of harmony and organization within it. The overall design for Canyon geometrically opposes the standard, presentational audience-to-stage relationship as well as the overall symmetry of the theater itself. By manipulating the directionality, source, and color of the space over time, light encouraged the viewers to question the origin and sensation of experiential wonder and the facility in which they experience it.


Lighting Design for Live Performance: addressing the architectural space

Black Whole Food Lion Skate Park, Asheville, NC, Spring 2009 Produced by Black Mountain College Museum & Arts Center Creative Directors: Adam Larsen and Janice Lancaster

Black Whole is a dance installation that explores the intersection of dance, light, and video within a familiar yet dynamic urban environment. The performance seeks to question preconceptions about art in public spaces and to explore how light and video can re-shape the architecture of a familiar space with an otherwise specific purpose. Constructed as a temporary installation, the lighting design was crafted in two layers. The first was environmentally supportive, illuminating the performance within the skate bowl and working with the video to animate what became the performance space. For the second layer, I constructed various LED fixtures that could be manipulated by the dancers as part of the internal visual composition.


Lighting Design for Live Performance: innovation towards sustainability

Generate / Degenerate Mlab / Miro Dance Theatre, Summer 2009 Tobin Rothlein, Amanda Miller, James Clotfelter

In my experience, most theatrical productions tend to be as wasteful as they are resourceful and these habits can become extremely challenging to overcome. There is a general tendency to assume that conservationism imposes incompatible limitations. As an artist focused on innovation, I have found incredible opportunities to use the motivating practice of sustainability to further both the integrity and intrigue of my work.


Lighting Design for Live Performance: innovation towards sustainability

Capsule 33 Barrow Street Theatre, NYC, Summer 2010 Lucidity Suitcase Intercontinental


Lighting Design for Live Performance: innovation towards sustainability

Red, Black and Green: a Blues Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, Summer 2011 Marc Bamuthi Jospeph / The Living Word Project

components in the wirless lighting system

James Clotfelter - portfolio 2/14  
James Clotfelter - portfolio 2/14