Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, John Cullen Lighting continues to be at the forefront of the ongoing lighting transformation. Recognised throughout the world for lighting design excellence with award-winning schemes and discreet architectural luminaires, John Cullen Lighting is known for its ability to enhance the enjoyment of spaces through the power of light. Whether working on a town or country residence, garden, hotel or superyacht, contemporary or traditional, the goal is always to integrate with the vision of each client and ensure their imagination is exceeded.
Creative Director Sally Storey is a leading name in lighting who has a passion for the effects and impact of light on space and design, as did the company founder, lighting designer John Cullen. As Sally explains, “John Cullen’s philosophy is to create the finest quality of light from the most discreet luminaires; in achieving this, the light source should always be concealed.” Nature has provided the company’s vision. Inspired by natural light, Sally and her experienced team have developed bespoke schemes that have highlighted the drama that light can create, paying close attention to the quality of light, the discreetness of the fittings and their effects, cleverly illuminating colour, shape, form and shadow according to each individual space and requirement.
As Sally Storey notes “Lighting is the most versatile interior design tool that can entirely change the way a room looks and feels at the touch of a button. No other interior element can have such a strong impact. Architectural lighting should be as discreet as possible, to look effortless and make any space wonderful to be in.”
Sally and her team’s extensive knowledge and understanding of light and technology have, over time, helped alter perceptions of how lighting can be used. Today, good lighting is seen as an art form. As an innovator, Sally has transformed the perception of this sector so that lighting is now considered a key element of any project alongside architects, interior and landscape designers. John Cullen Lighting is credited with creating a lighting narrative that in turn has elevated and enhanced the UK lighting industry.
Innovation continues to be a driving force. John Cullen Lighting’s own research and development department is adept at adapting to each technological advance and application, creating its own British designed world-class high-quality luminaries capable of incredible effects. Included in its toolbox are some of the most iconic designs such as the classic Polespring downlight that has evolved and improved over the years in response and benefit from the newest technology. It remains the most discreet and elegant downlight on the market.
As a trusted authority in the lighting arena, John Cullen Lighting continues to be inspired by the drama of natural light. John Cullen lighting is looking forward to embracing the newest development in lighting, such as smart technology, and ensuring that its clients continue to benefit from the power of excellent lighting in the enjoyment of their spaces, both inside and out.
JOHN CULLEN LIGHTING – TIMELINE (1981-2021)
Founded by John Cullen, a pioneer of lighting design at the start of the halogen revolution. The first Showroom was opened in Smith Street, London, demonstrating lighting designed by Sally Storey.
John Cullen passed away and Sally Storey took over as Design Director.
The showroom was moved from Smith Street to Fulham Palace Road.
The introduction of the first John Cullen halogen products that were designed in house and manufactured in the UK – Polestar downlight and Highlight, free standing uplight.
The 50W Polestar was the smallest downlights on the market, a third of the size of downlights before which used the 80 watt Par 38 lamp. The introduction by John Cullen of the double black baffle – black inner to reduce glare and lamp recessed into the ceiling to prevent even more glare – revolutionised the downlight ensuring a much more discreet unobtrusive way of lighting the home.
The showroom was moved to a single unit on the famous Kings Road, London. Having developed a new floor wash light for the villa Sirolo, John Cullen’s iconic Sirolo was launched. After several improvements is still going strong today. The Columini was designed as the first uplight. Hot to the touch with the halogen bulb, one had to be careful where it was installed to ensure bags and fingers were not burnt!
The first Lighting Masterclass was introduced to educate both trade and public alike on the new architectural lighting transforming homes and gardens. Lighting is more than just a pendant in the centre of a room.
The warehouse opened for storage and dispatch of products. John Cullen luminaires were installed on a Superyacht for the first time.
Sally Storey released her first book titled ‘Lighting: Recipes and Ideas’ by Quadrille. A self-help book to help people understand the impact of architectural lighting on the home.
Sally Storey released her second book titled ‘Lighting by Design’, an aspirational book with stunning images specially commissioned by Luke White.
2006 also marked the start of the LED revolution when LED had developed sufficiently to be suitable for use in the home. Our first LED was launched, the ‘LED Polespring’, a low power 8W LED version of the iconic 50W downlight.
This was swiftly followed by the “cool to touch” 1W Lucca uplight, to replace the hotter Columini.
Sally Storey released her third book titled ‘Perfect Lighting’ whilst the warehouse space was doubled to accommodate the growth of the company.
First LED garden light fittings, the Kew spotlight and Hampton flood light were introduced into the range. At just 1W each, this heralded the ability to light a small garden for 60 watts, less than a conventional light bulb!
This year John Cullen also won the Best Lighting Project Award at the inaugural idFX Design Awards for a barn conversion in Devon.
The company move to a double fronted showroom with a basement design studio along the King’s Road in London. This is where the “John Cullen House” took shape and became an Inspiration Centre for lighting ideas. This included the first unique John Cullen “lighting pod”, an all-white space in which the effect of lighting truly demonstrates the power and magic of light.
Lighting of Marcus Barnett’s award-winning show garden at Chelsea Flower Show, followed by two further award-winning gardens at Chelsea for Hay Joung Hwang in 2016 and 2018.
John Cullen celebrated 35 years and opened its new Middle East office in Dubai.
The quest to miniaturize products started when the Polespring 50 downlight range was made smaller and the 40 range was born. This was coupled with the new versatile Vorsa spotlight range with over 200 variations to choose from.
The international reach extended with a new European team and studio in Paris, as well as doubling the team in Dubai. The India division was opened to work closely with local architects and interior designers across the subcontinent.
The evolution of the downlight continued with the even smaller 30 range. The new design has all the functionality and adaptability expected from the 50 and 40 range but in a new miniature downlight.
The Dubai team set up the British Design House with the new Showroom furnished by other UK luxury brands.
Sally Storey’s contribution to lighting is recognised internationally as she receives The LIT 2020 Lighting Achievement Awards (the Oscar equivalent in lighting)
2021 – where we are headed…
The focus for 2021 and beyond is further miniaturisation:-
– The Minim joinery downlight – the same size as a UK 5 pence piece
– The Vorsa Dot – the smallest luminaire on the market
John Cullen is currently working on a sustainability policy to be carbon neutral by 2030 driving towards luminaire design and manufacture for the circular economy.