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Jonathan Speirs 1958 - 2012

18 June 2012 15.00 BST

(UK) - Jonathan Speirs, founding partner of lighting designer practice Speirs + Major, has passed away following a long battle with cancer.

A statement on the Speirs + Major website today pays tribute to Jonathan: "Since his terminal diagnosis in late 2010 Jon showed characteristic strength and a steely determination to defy the life limiting constraints put upon him. He continued to work with us and travel widely until the end of 2011 finding energy and solace from the great loves of his life, his family and his work. Our thoughts are with Liz, Lucie, Erin, his sister, brothers and father. We will miss him dearly but will keep him with us, working to his and our primary objective: delivering great projects."

Long time creative partner and friend Mark Major offered a personal homage to Jonathan: "Anyone who has ever met him will immediately understand that it is almost impossible to find the right words to both capture his incredible personality and to properly summarise his remarkable career. Any tribute will therefore fall short of doing him justice - but I will do my best. Whilst we have all been prepared for what has happened it doesn’t make it any easier to comprehend or deal with."

In his statement, Mark reveals plans to establish the ‘Jonathan Speirs Scholarship Trust’ as a means by which to continue his legacy into the future.

Mark's full tribute can be found here.


A life in light

Jonathan Speirs was born in Scotland in 1958. He trained as an architect and developed a passion for working with light from early in his career as an architect. He co-founded Lighting Design Partnership in 1984, leaving eight years later to form Jonathan Speirs and Associates in Edinburgh. The following year he formed a working association with Mark Major which developed into Speirs + Major.

Jonathan worked on a diverse range of projects all around the world garnering a host of international honours, including the Lighting Dimensions International Architectural Lighting Designer of the Year Award in 1997. During his career, he worked on four Royal Institute of British Architects Building of the Year Stirling-prize winning projects; Magna Science Adventure Centre, Rotherham, Gateshead Millennium Bridge, 30 St Mary Axe, London and Barajas Airport, Madrid, which also won the International Association of Lighting Designer’s Radiance Award in 2008.

Jonathan retired from Speirs + Major in 2010 after which time he was honoured with Royal Incorporation of Architect’s Scotland’s Gold Medal and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Heriot Watt. He also received the Professional Lighting Designers Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011.

Speirs + Major have created a visual tribute to Jonathan on the company website.

A celebration of Jonathan’s life will be held at the Mansfield Traquair Centre, Edinburgh on Tuesday 26th June at 4pm.


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