The Lam Family
We are a balanced collection of architects, daylighting specialists, industrial designers, theatrical lighting designers, with a few engineers mixed in—dedicated to all things ‘light’. Our design team’s expertise crosses disciplinary boundaries and can benefit all of your domestic or international projects. The art and science of lighting design is equally qualitative and quantitative, personal and professional, as well as technical and technological. We strive to mediate between the left and right sides of the brain. We work with architects, artists, engineers, building owners, facility managers, civic officials, fixture manufacturers and the entire distribution channel to weave lighting concepts into the architectural and landscape fabric of your project visions.
William Ming Cheong Lam, better known as Bill Lam, was born in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1924. Bill entered the Massachusetts Institute of Technology just before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, and his studies were interrupted by service in the USAAF, where he served as a B-25 bomber pilot in the Southwest Paciﬁc campaign. After returning to MIT, Bill graduated with a degree in Architecture in 1949.
1949: LAM WORKSHOP (Lam Inc, 1951)
After finishing his studies at MIT (inspired by the example of visiting professors Alvar Aalto and Charles Eames), Bill founded Lam Workshop to explore his ideas for the production of quality and economical electric lamps and furniture designs. Later, Bill saw a critical need in the market for commercial-grade lighting products that would address the challenges of modern architectural design. The business name was changed to Lam Lighting Systems Inc (also known as Lam Inc). With a focus on integrated lighting solutions to serve the architectural community, Lam Lighting produced a line of ‘classic’ modern fixtures that became essential architectural ‘tools’ for decades.
1959-1990: William Lam Associates
After several years as a successful fixture manufacturer, Bill retired from Lam Lighting Systems Inc and returned to his passion for architectural design. He founded William Lam Associates in 1965, a lighting design consulting firm in Cambridge, MA, with a focus on the integration of lighting with architecture and urban design. Bill worked with many architects across the US and throughout the world, developing innovative lighting solutions and integrated systems approaches for complex building designs. Bill taught lighting design at Harvard, authored two books on lighting design, and was a great mentor and inspiration for several generations of architects and lighting designers.
With extensive experience at William Lam Associates as project managers, Robert Osten and Paul Zaferiou became partners with Bill in 1990. The name of the firm was changed to Lam Partners Inc to acknowledge this transition, and the office was moved to its current location in a renovated warehouse space, north of Harvard Square, Cambridge. Bill retired in 1995, maintaining a small consulting business until his death in 2012. Read his obituary in the Boston Globe and in Architectural Lighting.
From 1995 to the present day, the firm has experienced considerable growth, working on increasingly complex projects and expanding our design and technical capabilities. Keith Yancey was promoted to Principal in 2005, followed by Glenn Heinmiller in 2008. In 2006, Lam Partners renovated its office, and the firm’s logo and brand was updated to its current format in 2007.
Lam Labs was founded in 2014 as a division of Lam Partners to pursue research opportunities and explore innovative lighting ideas beyond the bounds of conventional project structures. The firm is dedicated to carrying forward our rich history of design excellence, with a very talented and energetic staff of designers, using the latest design tools and lighting technology in new and exciting ways.
Lam Partners is committed to the principles of integrated design, teaching, promoting energy efficiency and sustainability, and building rewarding, collaborative, and lasting relationships within the design community.