As my mother used to say: "If I'd known then what I know now . . . " I might have paid more attention.
Leaving school to train to become an electrical engineer did not provide me with any insight that, just fourteen years later, I'd begin the process that has established the reputation of the person you see before you today. Looking back, my career fits rather too neatly into three phases:
I trained and worked as an electrical engineer with the Midlands and London Electricity Boards (of blessed memory!), taking in electrical contracting, electrical building services and 'energy marketing' as I went along. But then I realised that the thing that excited me most was anything to do with lighting, so in 1979 I moved into lighting manufacturing, visiting and working alongside architects and interior designers and producing some rather nice work, though I say it myself. I worked at Lita Display Ltd (part of Compagnie des Lampes - taken into the Philips stable in 1983) as Technical and Design Manager before venturing out into the world of lighting design consultancy.
1984 has been described as an annus mirabilis in UK lighting design. I thought it was just me deciding to take the leap into independent lighting design (rather than working from a catalogue and relying for my salary on sales), but there were other lighters out there doing just the same thing! And between us, we helped create an industry and bring the attention of the world to the value of good lighting design.
Working in West London (Notting Hill, since you ask) provided easy access to some of the best building designers in the world and that is the kind of atmosphere that creative lighting design needs in which to thrive. I founded Equation Lighting Design in 1986 and headed the studio as Design Director until 1998.
Then I got out of London, did the downshifting bit, and moved on to work as a freelance designer. John Bullock Lighting Design was established once I settled in Dorset, where I now live and work, from a converted barn in the beautiful town of Sherborne. It's a one-designer band and quite deliberately so. I handle my projects personally so, in theory, I know everything that's going on. But it also means that I get all of the fun and the excitement (and kudos) for the work that I do. And It means that I can afford to undertake a smaller number of projects, so the attention to detail is far superior to the usual studio model.
I've been fortunate enough to have my work recognised by the judges of the Lighting Design Awards:
Given my years of experience, I've also become something of an educator, providing training to the lighting industry as well as to architectural practices.
I'm also a regular commentator on lighting matters, writing for lighting industry magazines. I also maintain a regular blog commentary on my website and and appear on seminar platforms whenever anyone asks.
I can't leave this page without mentioning something that means a lot ot me and that I've been putting a lot of my energy into.
The developed world is moving ever faster and we're in serious danger of ignoring some uncomfortable issues - mainly, that we're running out of STUFF.
Sustainable practices are a way of ensuring that we throw less away, making second-, third-, as-many-as-we-may- iterations of materials that we currently dig out of the ground and dispose of without a second thought. It calls for a whole new way of making things, using things, and then finding ways to take those things apart and use them again.
From a practical point of view it means that I'm part of a round-table discussion group at the Building Research Establishment, investigating the opportunities of creating a sector-specific (Building Services) standard for Responsible Sourcing, based on the BRE's BES:6001 'Responsible Sourcing for Construction Products'.
And I'm also part of a new panel that being established by the Institution of Lighting Professionals that is seeking to create a Guidance Strategy for lighting manufacturers and specifiers on what 'Sustainable Practice' might mean for those in the real world of designing and making light fittings. That should be very interesting.
CONDUIT (6) - Lighting for Winter Gardens
CONDUIT 5: Home Lighting - LED Lighting (2)
FX Magazine: Lighting Focus - Sustainability (Issue 258)
CONDUIT 4: Home Lighting - LED Lighting (1)
Can Smart Lighting Save The Planet?
CONDUIT 3: Home Lighting - The Bathroom
Can Lighting Save Us From Ourselves . . . NO!
CONDUIT 2: Home Lighting - The Dining Room