Apr 24th 2015

Louis Vuitton SPARK Award Announced

Photographer Iwan Baan, recipient Ricardo Fernandez, and juror Daniel Paltridge

The 2015 Louis Vuitton Spark Award recipient was announced on Thursday, April 23rd at S. R. Crown Hall following a lecture by the architectural photographer Iwan Baan.

Ricardo Fernandez received the award for his project, "Setting the Stage: The Weft", a design proposal to create an east-west connection with a series of public spaces, within the Bronzeville neighborhood in the City of Chicago. Working with one of the area’s local high schools – IIT/Perspectives Math and Science Academy and the Goodman Theatre, this project explores new settings for learning that integrates art into the public realm, where creative collaboration can occur. This semester, the project has been further developed, influenced by the 2012 Cultural Plan for the City of Chicago, whereby arts education was deemed the number one priority in the City. Influenced by Shakespeare’s quote, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances...”, the project is conceived as a performance space.

The Louis Vuitton Spark Award, sponsored by Louis Vuitton and the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, honors an outstanding student from the College of Architecture’s undergraduate and graduate Cloud Studio program reflecting the College’s focus on the City of Chicago and “Rethinking Metropolis.”

The recipient of the annual Louis Vuitton SPARK Award will travel to Paris to meet with the Louis Vuitton architecture department responsible for the designs of Louis Vuitton boutiques around the world. The winning project will also be featured in an installation in the Louis Vuitton store on Michigan Avenue in Chicago later this fall.

Ricardo Fernandez presenting to the jury. Left: Michelle T. Boone

The jury is comprised of Michelle T. Boone, Commissioner, Cultural Affairs and Special Events, City of Chicago; T. Lyle Barnes, Director of Stores, Midwest & Boston, Louis Vuitton Americas; Daniel Paltridge, Senior VP Northeast Region/Louis Vuitton North America; John Mulliken, VP/Store Planning & Development, Louis Vuitton Americas; Wiel Arets, Dean of IIT’s College of Architecture, and Iwan Baan, architectural photographer.

Finalists for the 2015 award included:

Branded Identity: Of the Chicago Bus System
 by Jennifer Pisano and Suzanne Stawiarski


by Myles Pena, Jacob Harney

Naive Intention: Procession 

by Ferdinand Kuznik

Office Space: The Future of Work + Life 

by Su Jeong Lee, Eric Schwartzbach, Francisco Alvarez

W.E.T. Zone: Effluent Reuse for Industrial Growth 

by Sarah Hanson, Heidi Petersen, Andrew D’Arcy