Principal Designer, Derek Porter Studio

Associate Professor, MFA Lighting Design
Parsons School of Design

Derek Porter is a multi-disciplinary designer working in architectural lighting and product design where he focuses on the use of light within various scales of the built environment.  His work considers subtle aspects of human perception and the presence of light within spatial contexts.  As an extension of his lighting design practice, Derek studies light and space through work in photography and sculpture. He is involved with public art commissions as well as actively exhibits his work nationally and internationally. 

Parallel to his art and design practice, Derek is instrumental in the evolution of lighting design education and is currently Associate Professor of Lighting Design at Parsons School of Design in New York, a globally recognized program known for innovative thinking toward daylight and electric lighting integration, cross disciplinary study, social responsibility and broad ranging theoretical research in light, space and human perception.  From 2005-2014 he was Director of the Master of Fine Arts Lighting Design program.

Derek earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Environmental Design and Product Design from the Kansas City Art Institute in 1989 and attended Helix in 1996, an international study program in Italy focused on architecture. Derek is a Professional Member of the International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD) and Member of the Illumination Engineering Society of North America (IESNA).  Prior to his role at Parsons he taught at the University of Kansas and the Kansas City Art Institute. 

He has been guest lecturer at numerous institutions and organizations nationally and internationally, including Cornell University, University of Limerick, Tyler School of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Parsons School of Design, Kansas City Art Institute, Montana State University, University of Kansas, University of Iowa Art Museum, the Austrian Cultural Forum in New York and the Museum of Art and Design in New York.  He has presented at regional, national and international conferences including The London School of Economics (England), Wismar Light Symposium (Germany), Targetti Foundation (Italy), Light Focus (Italy), Alingsas Light Conference (Sweden), Industrial Designers Society of America (USA), Light Fair International (USA), IALD Enlighten America (USA and Canada), IALD Enlighten Europe (Czech Republic), and the Professional Lighting Designer’s Conference (England).  Additionally he has juried design competitions for the American Institute of Architects, the International Association of Lighting Designers, the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America, Architectural Lighting Magazine and G.E. Lighting,

His work is recognized by dozens of awards including an A/L Magazine Outstanding Achievement Award in 2012, Interior Design Magazine Best of Public Space in 2012, US Department of Energy Next Generation Luminaire Design Award in 2012, IALD Award of Excellence in 2008 and 2006, IALD Sustainability Award in 2008, IESNA Paul Waterbury International Award of Excellence in 2006, and IESNA Edwin F. Guth International Award of Excellence in 2008 and 2005.  Additionally, he was nominated for the Cooper-Hewitt Design Mind and Institutional Achievement Awards in 2011 and PLDC Special Recognition Award for Education and Research in 2007.

His work has been the subject of numerous publications across four continents focusing on lighting design, art and education.