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Blogs Spring 2014


Adapt to Survive!

This has to be the message from the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report. As we head into a future that will see wetter winters and drier summers, together with greater insecurity in food production, I hope that the good people getting together at Light+Build in Frankfurt this week are considering the role that the lighting industry has to play in this global game. Here's the link to a 4-minute video on the projected effects of Climate Change, from the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme. 03.apr.14 May Design Series, London {IMG}

And here's a bit of advanced publicity for a talk that I've been invited to give at the May Design Series at ExCel, London. On SUNDAY 18th MAY at 1.30pm: John Bullock will be Playing By The Rules - a conversation about Residential Lighting Design. My rules, of course - distilled from many years of chats with clients about how we move from a blank sheet of paper to a fully-expressed lighting design. There's even mention of an underlying matrix . . .sounds like fun. See you there! Other speakers are also available. {IMG}
30 mar 14

Everyone's gone to Der Mond ... {IMG} and a Silence fell upon the Land; automatic replies come back as "I am currently away from the office" and the plaintive hoots of "they've all gone to Frankfurt" are heard from those left behind to weep and to moan. Yes: its Pied Piper Week in Frankfurt - Light+Build has carilloned its merry tune and the collective eyes of the UK lighting industry have misted over and headed for the cheap flights. See you next week, guys. Oh no - I won't . . . we'll be on HOLIDAY! Away from 7th - 11th . . . going somewhere NICE.
30 mar 14

Letting things mature . . . One of the things that I think is very important about lighting for the home (and which I bang on about to my clients on a regular basis) is the idea of allowing your home lighting to evolve. As you spend more time in your new home, or newly refurbished home, always be prepared to re-think ideas about decoration, or simply wait and see what might happen next. If you followed our progress a year ago on the re-lighting of my own home, The Coach House in Sherborne (and see the videos if you missed them) you'll know that there was still work to be done beyond the final video. Well - let me report that one of the very first things that was discussed a year ago has finally come about; yes - the wall light shades have been made. This is what we started with last year; a pair of OK sconces and a couple of shades long passed their use-by date. The combined forces of jb-ld and Townhill Studio sat down and spent many an evening trying to decide what to do. It wasn't the shape of the shade, we were set on a simple cylindrical shade - but what to go on that shade? Take a look at Annabel's Townhill Studio site to understand what I mean. The outcome is a plain shade - no pattern because we felt it would over-balance the appearance of the end wall. The fabric is a fair-trade cotton. For the technically-minded, its an undyed, organic, cross-weave cotton. The natural colour of this fabric is very similar to the colour achieved using a walnut dye - I'm told. The shade measures 300H x 150dia and is assembled by Albioncourt Ltd, in the fair county of Dorsetshire.
16 mar 14

A Bad Week for Mutuality

Its been an awful few days for anyone who supports the idea that mutuality and co-operative endeavour has a real and vital part to play in our world.
The Co-op is being knocked around from pillar to post - mainly as a consequence of believing that vampires can be trusted with the blood bank;
The union movement has lost one of its unreconstructed Class Warriors, with the untimely death of Bob Crow (and rather than believe that 'the unions' ruin the economy, consider that a strong  union movement helped maintain the most equitable distribution of wages that the country has ever experinced - compared to what we see now, where top salaries are flying higher than Virgin Galactic);
and today we lost Tony Benn, one of the great proponents for a democractic socialist future that would work to the benefit of the entire country;

Why am I writing about this stuff here?
Because if ever there was cause for mutuality and co-operative support its in the UK lighting industry today.
Manufacturers across the UK are being accused by Philips of breaking patent laws by using technologies that are owned by the Dutch giant. 
But here's the thing:
how is it possible for an SME to challenge one of the biggest companies in the world? 
how can a global giant be made to PROVE their case when those being accused don't have the funds to take the company to task?
how can a small business challenge the Patent claims (because on the face of it, and from what I've heard, some of the Patents look very dodgy indeed)?
and what positive role can a Non Disclosure Agreement possibly serve in any of this?

The answer can only come by the companies who are getting these calls to work together to fight their case and to secure an outcome that everyone can see is proportionate to any legitimate demands being made. 
You need to get together, guys!

 14 mar 14

Supply Chain Sustainability School


I took myself off to Exeter this week for a spot of Education and Training (as we used to call it in days long gone) with the Supply Chain Sustainability School.
The SCSS was launched in 2012 to provide a platform to develop awareness of sustainable practices for the UK construction industry and in now reporting over 4000 individual members - so well done to a training intitiative that isn't scared to talk about Ethical Standards of Behaviour - and to put up its hands when SCSS-supporting companies admit to the sustainability myopia of clients and the on-going myth that doing things properly is somehow more expensive than acting with complete disregard for the security of our mutual future.
So I say to everyone reading this - if you're part of the building biz, then see if you can't become part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

And on a practical point, and to, perhaps, underline why this stuff is important . . . the School met at the Thistle Hotel in Exeter - and there's a management regime that needs to take a close look at itself if this is the typical standard of the lighting it supports. Yes, all filament lamps; it was like being back in the 1980s, without the dodgy fashion (mind you - with over a hundred be-suited men in the room . . . it could well have been the 1980s)


 14 mar 14


 EcoBuild - not what it was:

I have to say that EcoBuild is looking a shadow of itself. This year's show continues the exhibitor-shrinkage that's been obivous for the past couple of years, but  - more importantly - the show has surely lost its radical soul.
The show has its roots at the hippier-edge of building design - in a world of  living in and of the land. The progression of the suits has put an end to that. Unfortunately, you rarely find much imagination, le alone any missionary zeal, in a suit. So EcoBuild now reflects corporate buck-chasing and has abaondoned its people-not-profit wisdom.
Thus was it ever so.

But it is a shame; this year's exhibition includes a special 'Resource' area dedicated to The Circular Economy. And, to be honest,  that's why I went along to the show. 
If ever there is a topic to challange (and frighten) the manufacturing establishment its the one that says that design paradigms need to be turned on their heads and new ways have to be found to stop the insane wastage of valuable materials.
Well - there - I've said it. No need to visit the show because that's about as radical as it gets. Very little in the way of the "How To", I'm afraid. Just more talking heads in suits, protecting their commercial position whilst wrapping themselves in the subfusc of Sustainable worthiness.

Maybe its just that I have a cold (?)

But a final word of thanks to those wacky guys at PhotonStar who actually managed to scare me with their techno-bourgeois vision of The Internet of Things.
(We enage by not having to engage - thank you, Mr Orwell, Please close the door on your way out.)
Look: I don't want room lighting that adjusts itself because it knew what I did last night or because it knows what colour underpants I'm wearing.
That, my friends,  is The Fascism of Things and it starts precisely because we allow an anonymous system to take over litle things like deciding light levels for us - and then we find that someone a long way away decides that we can't cook supper tonight because the power system is creaking and - besides - Tesco has told them that there's a salad in the fridge that's almost at its Best By date.
Bah - hunmbug!

But thanks to my good friend and Head Scary Lady, Ms Fenella Frost.

 05 mar 14


 Those Kerr-azy Guys at Davos!


You hear about something and think - does that mean they've finally got it? 
Then you read some more and . . . ah well.

Read about it HERE!



RIBA CPD in 2015

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