James Wallace  FIES, CLDA


james_wallace_180_dpi_1_mb.jpgJames Wallace is an experienced, qualified and practicing lighting designer with an in-depth appreciation of the design process. After nearly 43 years working in the lighting industry and design community, on 31 May 2021 James Wallace relinqushed ownership of LightPlan to Perth-based firm V Lambda Lighting Design.

James’ lighting design experience draws from a broad base of projects pertaining to both interior and exterior environments. His current interests are in telling a story with light; through careful planning and research James enjoys reinforcing and reinterpreting the narrative in both architecture and the public realm. He calls this “light with meaning”, and he often applies it in the nighttime interpretation of public spaces and building facade projects, during urban nightscape planning, re-activations, place-making, public art initiatives, heritage places, gallery and museum display spaces.

James’ skills in 3D light modelling lead to engagements in predicting obtrusive light at world-recognised pristine ecological sites and the design and interrogation of lighting treatments to architecturally and spatially challenging places. Besides his architectural and environmental work, James has recognised skills in vision ergonomics; the auditing and condition-reporting of OSH lighting-related issues in the workplace and public domain, occasionally being called upon to advise in legal cases and appear as an expert witness.


Having previously acquired an A-grade electrical trade qualification, James later graduated in Lighting Design in 1979 from Regency Institute, Adelaide, South Australia. He is a Fellow of the Illuminating Engineering Society of Australia & New Zealand Ltd (IESANZ) and in November 2019 was appointed to the Board of Directors for a 2-year term with the portfolio Director of Knowledge Development. He is also Executive Director of International Development to the Chinese Lighting Designers’ Association (CLDA); Co-chair of the International Solid State Lighting Alliance (ISA) Working Group #6 “Lighting Design and Application”; and until March 2014 held a 2-term board position with the Professional Lighting Designers’ Association (PLDA). He has served for a number of terms as President of the Western Australian Chapter of IESANZ and was Convenor of an IESANZ International Convention in Perth.

Stepping outside of the square at the end of of 1993 to establish Perth’s first independent architectural lighting design practise, James’ awareness of lighting issues has since become recognised at an international level. In 2005 he accepted an invitation to the town of Alingsas, Sweden, to head one of six practical lighting design workshop groups. In 2006 he presented an invited paper at Light+Building Frankfurt on the subject of light and shadow design; and later the same year was invited to present on the same subject in Sydney at the IESANZ annual convention. James represented the PLDA at the Lighting Urban Community International (LUCI) 2006 general assembly meetings in Shanghai and 2009 in Korea. While in Shanghai he also participated in a City Foresight Workshop alongside Asia’s leading urban planners, architects and lighting educators. In October 2007 James was a speaker at the first Professional Lighting Designers’ Convention (PLDC) held in London where he presented a case study on the subject of contemporary lighting design techniques for the night-time interpretation of an industrial heritage site.


Since 2011 he has presented invited papers and led professional discussion groups in Perth, Philadelphia, Berlin, Frankfurt, Lisbon, Tokyo, Manila, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Zhengzhou, Chongqing, Shenzhen and Taipei; and after 12 years he returned to Lights in Alingsas in 2017 to guide workshop participants in the design and installation of a dynamic interpretation of the town's historic railway station building.


In the role of Lighting Design Director and Senior Lighting Consultant, James has worked within three lighting design offices in China, developing lighting concepts for major projects within the PRC.

On behalf of IESANZ, in 2015 James commenced a casual position lecturing the 2-year part-time "Course in Lighting Design and Application"; and in 2019 prepared the training manual for "Basics of Lighting Design", a new 2-day IESANZ course consisting of 9 teaching modules. 

His more recent academic activities include guest lecturer positions to the Architectural Lighting Masterclass (BA) at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) and to the Lighting Design (BA) Major at the Sichuan College of Fine Arts Institute, Chongqing, China.

Besides his professional and allied activities, James enjoys travel, miniature model railway construction, re-learning bass guitar, listening to a range of contemporary music, maintaining a small wine collection, supporting his favourite Australian-rules football team, and spending time with his pet pugaliers Jasper and Peggy.