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Speirs and Major Associates

Speirs + Major is a UK lighting design practice founded by Jonathan Speirs (1958-2012) and Mark Major in 1993. The practice is noted for its illumination of many prominent buildings, including Barajas International Airport,[1][2] 30 St Mary Axe (‘The Gherkin’), the Millennium Dome and the interior of St. Pauls Cathedral.[3] The firm has also developed lighting master plans for several British cities, including Cambridge, Coventry, Durham,[4] Newcastle, and for major private developments including Greenwich Peninsula and King’s Cross Central, London.

Speirs + Major
IndustryArchitecture and design
Lighting design
Brand and communications
FoundersJonathan Speirs and Mark Major
Key people
Mark Major and Keith Bradshaw
Number of employees

Speirs + Major has been credited with helping to raise awareness of the lighting design profession in the UK.[5] Today it employs approximately 38 people drawn from disciplines including architecture, art, lighting, interior, graphic and theatrical design. Its studios are based in London and Edinburgh, UK.


Lighting architectsEdit

Both founding members Jonathan Speirs, who died on June 18th 2012, and Mark Major trained and practiced as architects before focusing on lighting design. In interviews[5][6] they have argued that light should be embedded at the heart of the architectural design process rather than applied as a ‘cosmetic add-on’.[5] This integral approach to light[7] has led them to adopt the term ‘lighting architect’ to describe their role as ‘building with light as opposed to bricks and mortar’.[5]

Notable projectsEdit

RIBA Stirling Prize collaborations
Speirs and Major Associates have designed lighting for a number of buildings that have either won or been nominated for the RIBA Stirling Prize for architecture.

Stirling Prize winners:

Stirling Prize shortlisted projects:

Recent awardsEdit

  • Winner, Community + Public Realm, Lighting Design Awards 2017
  • Lighting Design Winner, FX Awards 2016
  • Outstanding Achievement, AL Light & Architecture Design Awards 2013 & 2015
  • Scottish Design Award 2015
  • IALD Radiance Award 2014
  • Winner, Heritage, Lighting Design Awards 2013
  • Design Practice of the Decade, Lighting Design Awards 2012
  • IALD Radiance Award 2010
  • PLD Recognition Award for Best New Project 2009
  • IALD Radiance Award 2009
  • IALD Radiance Award 2008
  • Light and Architecture Award 2008
  • FX Design Award for Best Lighting 2008
  • IESNA Award of Merit 2007
  • IESNA Award of Distinction 2007
  • Lighting Designer of the Year (UK) 2007
  • FX Design Award for Best Lighting 2007
  • FX Design Award for Best Lighting 2005
  • IALD Award of Excellence 2005
  • Lighting Designer of the Decade, Light Magazine (UK) 2005


In 2006 Jonathan Speirs and Mark Major authored the book Made of Light: The Art of Light and Architecture, a series of visual essays on lighting design.[13] The book is co-authored by Anthony Tischhauser and published by Swiss architectural publisher Birkhäuser.[14]

  • Jonathan Speirs; Anthony Tischhauser; Mark Major (2006). Made of Light: The Art of Light and Architecture. Birkhäuser. ISBN 978-3764368609.

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. ^ Richard Rogers Partnership. "Terminal 4 Barajas Airport Madrid", Richard Rogers Partnership, 2007
  2. ^ a b Slessor, Catherine."Spanish Soft Machine", Architectural Review, July 2006
  3. ^ a b Kolb, Jaffer. "Divine Light", Architectural Lighting, November 2006
  4. ^ a b "Plan to illuminate historic city", BBC News, August 2007
  5. ^ a b c d Kennett, Stephen. "Setting the world alight", Building Services Journal, January 2006
  6. ^ Mansfield, Susan. "That warm glow of success", The Scotsman, June 2002
  7. ^ Alexander, Kaye. "Seeing the light", The Architects Journal, September 2008
  8. ^ Basulto, David. "Beijing Airport / Foster + Partners", Arch Daily, May 2008
  9. ^ Donoff, Elizabeth. "New Giorgio Armani Flagship Store in Toyko's Ginza District", Architectural Lighting Magazine, April 2008
  10. ^ "News Article: Durham Light and Darkness strategy", One North East, August 2007
  11. ^ Sadighian, David. "Speirs and Major treads lightly at the Sackler Crossing", Architectural Record, November 2007
  12. ^ "The Magna Science Adventure Centre", Architectural Record
  13. ^ Addy, Ben. "A little light reading", Building Services Journal, March 2006
  14. ^ "Made of Light: The Art of Light and Architecture",

External linksEdit