Philip Gabriel Tribute, 1939 – 2014

Posted by Andrew Mackinnon

Posted in General News

October 2, 2014

Philip Gabriel | 1939-2014

It is with great sadness that we announce that Phil Gabriel passed away peacefully on Saturday, August 9th, 2014. Diagnosed with lymphoma in April of 2013, and with neuroendocrine cancer the following November, Phil was determined to live fully and enthusiastically until very shortly before his death. He continued to design, educate and travel, taking joy from his two great loves, his family and his work.

It was in working with Howard Brandston in New York that Phil found his passion in architectural lighting. Phil’s design philosophy was of a complete integration of light and architecture, a strong influence from his earlier work at the offices of Marcel Breuer and Eero Saarinen.
Phil’s career in lighting spanned more than forty years. He started his practise as Gabriel/design in 1972, later moving to a studio space in Ottawa. He was most proud of his public work and valued the opportunity to enrich communities through excellent design. Notable projects included the exhibit lighting in the National Gallery of Canada, the lighting of Canada’s Parliament and Confederation Boulevard, Canada’s national ceremonial route and the National Museum of Nature. In recognition of his achievements, he received the Allied Arts award from the Royal Architecture Institute of Canada.
After many years of partnership with Andrew Mackinnon, the firm was renamed Gabriel Mackinnon in 2008. As the management and then ownership of the firm passed to Andrew, Phil was free to spend more time on lighting education, including a session as a professor at Parsons the New School for Design in 2010.
Phil gave generously of his time to the lighting community. He was past president of both the International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD) as well as the IALD Education Trust, a role he was particularly proud of. He developed, allowing students to easily discover the global opportunities in lighting design education.
In all aspects of his life, Phil forged deep, personal and lasting connections with all of the people in his life. From clients and fellow consultants to students, coffee baristas and contractors, he was generous with his time, spirit and energy. This was his greatest legacy, and it is revealed by his immense circle of friends and lasting relationships.
Our thoughts are with his wife Jane, his sons Andy and Mark and the rest of family. We will miss Phil greatly. We will keep his thoughts and ideals with us, working towards his passions; creating great spaces and educating the next generation of designers.
Donations can be made to the IALD Education trust, A memorial service will be planned in Ottawa in the near future, we will send more information as arrangements are made.