John Bullock Lighting Design
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Designing without Downlights


You know when you read something that's apparently completely unconnected to what you're working on, and then the light bulb in your head goes on and you say: "Hang on a minute!" That happened at the weekend, reading a piece by Oliver Burkeman (Guardian newspaper: 15th Nov) entitled "Don't Get Caught in The Monkey Trap."

And a lovely image by Paul Thurlby to accompany the article.

Burkeman was making the point that, in The Monkey Trap, the monkey is trapped not by anything physical, but by AN IDEA! The beast is trapped by its mindset and that is what's stopping it from letting go of the food in the coconut.

Meanwhile, I've been putting together a presentation for LUXLive on this coming Wednesday afternoon (19th Nov) at ExCel, London. The title of the talk is "Designing without Downlights" and its intended as a polemic on why downlighting should have become our default lighting solution, regardless of its relevance or how appropriate it may be to the circumstance.

I hadn't really appreciated how sensitive an issue this is until the organisers of LUXLive (thank you, Ray) posited the same question on LinkedIn. The conversation has gone on for over three months. But I now see, courtesy of Oliver Burkeman, to what extent Designing WITH Downlighting is a Monkey Trap. The design mindset doesn't see an alternative and the creative endeavour of producing a lighting design is smothered by the downlighting imperative.

Burkeman says that the way out of The Monkey Trap is to engage with the "Beginner's Mind" - a Zen concept that means having a truly open mind - not one blinkered by assumption and presumption. Its a bit of a heavy-duty concept to lay on an exhibition audience at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, though I feel a bit more comfortable writing about it here - possibly because its a technique that I've always tried to use (without realising that there's a serious philosophical principle behind it, I have to admit). Because when I first look at a project, I try to see the spaces - the relationships - the people. And I don't look at the ceiling.

Sometimes I worry that a lighting solution won't happen and the page will remain blank - fortunately, that's never happened (yet!)



I did promise access to the magic lantern show to all of them as asked at LUXLive yesterday - here t'is:


Designing without Downlights from john bullock

And if you'd like to download a PDF copy of the presentation, that's here as well.









To learn more about my lighting design philosophy and how I work, please click HERE!





RIBA CPD in 2015

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John Bullock Lighting Design
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