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Paul James / Pete Brewis - Editorial Comment

August / Septeber 2012

An introduction to the latest issue from the editor Paul James and deputy editor Pete Brewis ...

Paul James, editor, writes: 
I was on holiday in a remote part of Andalucia when I heard the news. A couple of days earlier I had managed to break my phone to complete the seclusion so I stole a few moments to check my email during an excursion into civilization. It was then that I read the dreaded words... ‘It is with great regret and deep personal sadness that Speirs + Major announce that Jonathan Speirs lost his fight against cancer on 18th June 2012’ (Keith Bradshaw had phoned me the day before but by then my phone had already died). I felt devastated and isolated, not able to truly mourn with colleagues and friends until I returned in time for Jonathan’s memorial service in Edinburgh.

Like many journalists in the lighting press, I have my own memories of Jonathan’s kindness. It was Jon who, when we first started mondo*arc thirteen years ago not knowing our Ares from our Erco’s, encouraged us to go for the gap in the market for a lighting design publication for architects and designers and not just the lighting industry. He knew that architectural lighting was more about design than numbers (see also Kit Cuttle’s article in this issue) and, mostly due to our inexperience, he realised that we felt the same. I had already worked with Jonathan whilst editing our sister magazine, mondo*dr, for an article on his Magna Science Adventure Centre in Rotherham. Back then I didn’t know how important he was and was about to become because of his unassuming nature. He couldn’t have been more helpful. From then on, whenever we met, he always asked about my work before I had time to ask about his. Typical of him. He was also not averse to phoning me up to thank me for any article relating to him. Something that very rarely happens from others unless it’s a complaint!

It’s a mark of the man’s greatness that there was such a massive turnout at his memorial in Edinburgh and that his family were so dignified during such an emotional service. Listening to his life story and list of achievements makes you appreciate even more what a remarkable man he was. It goes without saying that Jonathan was a true visionary and a pioneer of the architectural lighting profession. His kindness knew no bounds and I will never forget his enthusiasm and encouragement.

Rest in peace Jonathan. You were truly of the stars and Made of Light.

• Lest we forget... French lighting designer Philippe Martinaud of Focal, whose projects we have covered in the past, also recently lost his battle with cancer. RIP Philippe..

Pete Brewis, deputy editor, writes:  If ever we needed a reminder of the huge technical challenges thrown up in the hosting of an Olympic Games, one came during the cycling road race events on the very first day of London 2012.  Race time updates failed to make their way back to official Olympic broadcasters, forcing commentators to rely on guesswork and wristwatches to judge the progress of competitors. The cause, it later transpired, was Twitter. No-one had anticipated the huge surge in network demand that occurred as spectators went into a live-tweet frenzy, nor the resultant data-tailback this would create. And why would they? The technological landscape can shift greatly in the four years between Games to the point that many of the lessons learnt have become obsolete when the Greatest Show On Earth next comes around. Standard broadcasting is replaced by high definition TV; slow-motion becomes super slow-motion. With each new development  the rulebook becomes thicker - or goes out of the window altogether!
Adding to the mix this year was London’s much vaunted commitment to an environmentally sustainable games and to the creation of a practical legacy for future development on and around the Olympic Park site. Everyone had seen the consequences of being left with an Olympic white elephant and, in an age of global austerity, Britain had no desire to create another. So began a detailed process of long-term thinking, creating sporting venues and surrounding parkland that could be converted into useful spaces after the sporting world had packed up and gone home. Necessity has, as ever, been the mother of some impressively inventive solutions, as the Gold medal projects in this issue show.



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