entertainment • presentation • installation

Jonathan Speirs, architectural lighting pioneer, dies age 54

Jonathan Speirs

19 June 2012

UK - LSi has learned the sad news of the death of Jonathan Speirs, the internationally renowned architect and pioneer of architectural lighting design. Speirs died yesterday at the age of 54, after a long battle with cancer.

Speirs' career as an architectural lighting designer spanned almost 30 years and included projects across the world including Madrid's Barajas Airport, Gateshead's Millennium Bridge, Dubai's Burj Al Arab Tower, the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi, The Copenhagen Opera House, the interior of St Paul's Cathedral, London and the Beijing Capital International Airport.

Mark Major, Speirs' long-time business partner and friend, paid tribute to him on the Speirs + Major website. He said: "Whether you were a client, a fellow architect or designer, a hard working employee or simply met him at a party, you would always come away from any encounter with Jonathan much the richer. Constantly bursting with ideas, stories, references, things he had seen and experiences that he just had to share with you - Jon was never a man whose glass was half empty or half full - it was always completely overflowing. His ability to excite not only you and the person next you but also the whole room was one of his many remarkable gifts; that and the speed of his creative mind. He could not only conceive a remarkable lighting concept in the blink of an eye but more incredibly, he could synthesise the technical solution at the same time. That came from another ability he had - to constantly record and observe the world around him. In that way he often left many of us trailing in his wake. The great thing was that no concept was too daring or too crazy. As a result Jon was responsible for leading some of the most celebrated and innovative award-winning lighting projects of recent times."

"And yet beneath the creative and extrovert exterior that marked his professional career there was another Jonathan who was quiet and considered. He rarely expressed his private feelings and if he did it was always in the most polite and reserved of ways. He was also extremely modest about his achievements. Above all he was a very warm, generous and considerate man who worried about the people around him, always wanting them to have fun. Anyone who ever met Jonathan would never forget him and wherever I go people always immediately not only ask after him but then go on to shower him with praise."

The family have advised that a celebration of Jonathan's life will be held at the Mansfield Traquair Centre on Tuesday 26 June at 4pm. No flowers, please. Donations welcome to the Edinburgh Cancer Centre, Western General Hospital. All are very welcome.

(Lee Baldock)


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Jonathan Speirs architectural lighting pioneer age architect Speirs career designer projects world Major met always Jonathan Jon never man half ability remarkable creative concept another around too people go welcome

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