October 30 2015 — by Karina Armburg Jennings
An integral part of the interplay between light and darkness is shadow. The six projects currently featured on the homepage all take into account this mysterious element, using shadow to communicate stories, change spaces and influence experiences. Click on them to find out more...
Copyright/ James Newton
Copyright/ James Newton

National Cat Day

October 29 2015 — by dave.morris
It's National Cat Day in the USA today. Who am I to resist taking part?

Of course, what many people might not know is that you can use a cat as a rudimentary light meter. They'll normally gravitate towards the brightest part of any space, and they're known for being particularly quick at finding (and/or attacking) any particularly small points of light that might be moving around nearby - laser pointers provide a good example of such qualities.
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Pattern Non-Recognition

October 24 2015 — by dave.morris
Last Wednesday I got the train across to Glasgow to watch Carrie, along with Neil Gillespie of Reiach And Hall Architects, talk about the Maggie's Lanarkshire project at the annual Jonathan Speirs Memorial Lecture. The lecture was great, and I particularly appreciated the exploration of the patterns of perforation for both the garden walls and the light catchers of the project. As these various beautiful images scrolled past on the screen, I couldn't quite shake one recurring thought from my head: 'I want to roll up that wall and feed it into a player piano'.

I'm quite a fan of visual patterns which contain information within them. Morse code, barcodes, piano rolls... they all have a visual quality which I find rather pleasing, and I think it's often tied up with the fact that even though I know there's information in there, I can't immediately read it myself. Neil mentioned how, at a few points during construction, the builders of the wall willingly took down work that they'd completed when the project architect noticed one or two bricks were out of the order which had been carefully worked out. They hadn't spotted it themselves, but she could read the code described in the pattern, and saw it instantly: the equivalent of a suprise dischord in my imagined piano roll, perhaps...

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Moonlight Towers

October 21 2015 — by dave.morris
Earlier this year, I went on a road trip vacation through some of the southern United States. It's probably not for everyone, but one thing I was particularly keen on visiting was one of the antique streetlights - known locally as 'moonlight towers' - that are still dotted through Austin, Texas. If you've not heard of them before, I highly recommend following their story a little. These things are more than a hundred years old, they tower over the streets at more than fifteen storeys in height, and their history includes arc lamps, night time formal social gatherings, a film by Richard Linklater, and even something called the 'Servant Girl Annihilator'.
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Benz at AJ Specification Live

October 21 2015 — by Karina Armburg Jennings
Don't miss Benz's talk at AJ Specification Live on 29th October.
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Channel 4 rebrand

October 16 2015 — by dave.morris
I spotted an entry on the Brand New blog a few days ago about the new Channel 4 brand identity. This film, created by DBLG & SQUA to introduce the rebrand, is a masterpiece in confidence and a measure of just what a strong logo they're working with: You don't have to see the logo at all to recognise it.

Of course, we also have some history with this logo ourselves...
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Maggie’s Centre Lanarkshire - a few more photos

October 15 2015 — by dave.morris
When I leave the office, I sometimes put on a cape and mask and fly through the city behind my superhero alternative identity: a photographer. The crossovers between architectural lighting design and architectural photography are myriad, and I hope to explore some of them in later posts. For now, though, I'll simply say that as a photographer and lighting designer, one of my favourite parts of any project is visiting a site once completed. This is true of anyone involved in a construction project, of course, but I also particularly enjoy working my way through a project and attempting to capture everything that makes it special in a series of images.

The final selection of photos used from a shoot often ends up performing a very explanatory role - this area has this function, and look how the light and architecture of the space helps define and celebrate it - but there's also a more fleeting, evocative role that imagery can take on.

The Maggie's Centre in Lanarkshire is one of six projects up for for the RIBA Stirling Prize, and the winner will be announced this evening. You can visit the project page for more information, but I thought I'd also share a few more photos from my shoot there. They don't tell the whole story - you'd have to visit the project yourself to get such an understanding - but they capture a few moments that I rather liked.

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Carrie to take part in second Jonathan Speirs Memorial Lecture

October 13 2015 — by Karina Armburg Jennings
Carrie will be taking part in the Society of Light and Lighting's second annual Jonathan Speirs Memorial Lecture next week in Glasgow.
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Gasper & Son - A Documentary About Neon-Crafters in NYC

October 13 2015 — by dave.morris
We're big fans of craftsmanship and the hand-made, here, so it will come as no surprise at all that the tradition of neon sign crafting delights many of us. I was recently alerted to Gasper & Son, a documentary about a small neon business of the same name in New York City. The film was made last year by Freckless Productions, whose previous film about my favourite childhood novel, The Phantom Tolbooth, is also rather delightful. I've only seen the trailer for Gasper & Son so far, but you can watch the whole thing online for free:

There is also a screening coming up in New York on Monday evening, so if you're nearby it might be worth investigating!

Vajrasana Buddhist Retreat Centre

October 09 2015 — by Karina Armburg Jennings
We are excited to have been appointed for the Vajrasana Buddhist Retreat Centre, the London Buddhist Centre's retreat set in the beautiful Suffolk countryside.
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