Gene Leahy Mall Recognized at IES Illumination and LIT Design Awards

We are thrilled to announce that Gene Leahy Mall has been awarded an IES Illumination Award of Merit and an Honorable Mention at the LIT Lighting Design Awards.

​Gene Leahy Mall is the first phase to be completed for the Omaha Riverfront Revitalization that reconnects downtown and the park system to the Missouri River. We are also excited to announce the other two parks – Lewis and Clark Landing and Heartland of America – opened last week.

The lighting at Gene Leahy Mall in Omaha, NE was thoughtfully designed to be modern, safe, and welcoming to all. In this complete redesign of an existing park, it was critical for the lighting team to make the park feel safe while transforming it into a beautiful evening destination.

To ensure an attractive environment, Atelier Ten collaborated closely with the landscape architect to express the daytime character of each space after dark. Key features, including several historic elements retained from the previous park, were lit with color-programmable lighting to create beautiful focal points. Lighting was also integrated into play equipment, shade canopies, benches, swings, and even tunnels in the dog park to provide a cohesive and visually engaging space.

Lighting integrated underneath benches

To address safety, the lighting team concentrated on preserving visitors’ night vision by limiting glare and controlling contrast ratios. After tests of standard wide-beam fixed area lights proved too glary, the team worked with manufacturers to re-engineer their fixtures with custom integral honeycomb louvers behind the lenses.  Pole-mounted adjustable accents use deeply regressed lenses and extended angled shields to reduce glare and sky glow.

All lighting in the park is fully dimmable to create visually balanced scenes while saving energy.  After closing, when most lighting is off or dimmed, motion sensors can trigger lighting in strategic places to discourage loitering and to alert the park’s security team. With sensitivity to the site’s urban context and history, the park has been transformed into an attractive destination for enthusiastic crowds both day and night.

The LIT Awards were envisioned to celebrate creativity and innovation in lighting products and applications. The IES Illumination Awards program recognizes individuals for professionalism, ingenuity, and originality in lighting design based on the individual merit of each entry. We are honored to have been recognized by these organizations for our lighting design on this transformative project.