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A Triumphant Return for Surface Design Show 2022

February 22nd, 2022 | Latest News | 0 Comments

Surface Design Show 2022 took place at the Business Design Centre from 8th – 10th February 2022 with the overwhelming response from both visitors and exhibitors being ‘it’s great to be back’. After a year of virtual events the appetite from visitors to engage, network and be updated on the latest surface materials and designs was clearly visible.

More than 160 exhibitors showcased the best in surface design, with almost 5000 architects, designers and specifiers visiting over the 2 ½ days.

Once again, Surface Design Show attracted a high-quality audience. 84% of visitors worked in the architecture and design sector and 73% have direct purchasing authority. Reflecting the cancellation or postponement of exhibitions over the last 24-months; 69% of the audience came to source new products and 50% were looking to discover new design trends.

The overriding theme of the show ‘Sense of Place’ which looked at putting humanity and the planet’s wellbeing at the heart of all decision making, was first introduced at The Opening Night Debate.

Held in partnership with RIBA, Climate Change and Future Proofing featured a stellar line up of industry experts. The passionate session hosted by Simon Sturgis, Founder of Targeting Zero brought together a younger generation of architects, designers and clients. They not only explored the issues around the future durability and adaptability of current projects, but also how we ensure that the commercial value of projects can be future proofed against climate change.

Carrying on with the theme Sense of Place, many of the exhibitors brought new products to the show, which were both innovative and sustainable.

The Good Plastic Company showcased sustainable panels from 100% recycled plastic, Wonderwall Studios had stunning wall panels made from salvaged wood, whilst Armourcoat launched its new natural clay lime plaster, Clime.

One of the standout trends of the show, Bio Magic, looked at how biodegradable ingredients continue to offer sustainable solutions with developments in colour dyeing and recycling processes, bringing new alternatives to the table using food waste.

Wildman & Bugby brought ecology leather to the show, which uses Olivenleder, a biodegradable tanning agent made using the fallen leaves of the Mediterranean olive harvest. Meanwhile Johnson Tan, one of 32 New Talents at the Show, created surfaces using food waste including eggshells and coffee to achieve delicate, subtle and translucent materials.

Indeed, one of the most visited and exciting areas of the Show was the New Talent section. Surface Design Show is committed to supporting and promoting up and coming designers in the materials sector. Sponsored by Canon UK and curated by Jennifer Castoldi, the 2022 show saw over 30 participants display a range of sophisticated and innovative designs from textile designs to augmented reality to 3D tiles. A recurring theme among many participants this year was the use of natural materials and dyes.

Amongst the 160 exhibitors the Italian Trade Agency in conjunction with Confindustria Marmomacchine presented a pavilion of 28 companies representing the Italian stone industry. Showcasing new, innovative and luxury materials including stunning white marble from Elite Stone, Limestone from Fato Stone and porphyry natural stone from Avisio Porfidi Srl representing the best of Made in Italy.

There was also a comprehensive talks programme, which included over 50 speakers from a range of design backgrounds. New for 2022 was the Legends Live sessions which saw industry leaders interviewing someone in or connected to the industry. The pairings included lighting designer Sally Storey being interviewed by Theresa Dowling, editor of FX Magazine, Conran and Partners’ Tina Norden in conversation with Hamish Kilburn, editor of Hotel Designs and AHMM’s Paul Monaghan talking to Phil Coffey of Coffey Architects as the interviewees discussed their illustrious careers to date.

Winners of the 2022 Surface Design Awards were announced at a breakfast ceremony on the last day of the Show, where the BAFTA headquarters in London by Benedetti Architects took not only the award for Public Building Interior category but was also selected as the Supreme Winner.

The judges were impressed by the sensitive reconfiguration and repositioning of the original Victorian plasterwork and reuse of oak flooring whilst also introducing future facing solutions including Eyrise TM s350 Licrivision liquid crystal rooflight ‘smart’ insulated glass, which removes up to 80% of harmful rays.

Other winners included Maggie’s Southampton by AL_A, which won Light + Surface Exterior and Public Building Exterior and the Peacock Cellar restaurant in Shanghai which took the top honours in the Light + Surface Interior category.

Surface Design Show 2023 will take place at The Business Design Centre 7-9 February 2023.

SLL Ready Steady Light to return this Autumn

September 3rd, 2021 | Latest News | 0 Comments

One of the Society of Light and Lighting’s flagship events, Ready Steady Light will be returning this Autumn. Taking place in partnership with Rose Bruford College, the competition will be back at the college’s leafy Sidcup campus on 19 October 2021.

As is tradition, the SLL is inviting teams of lighting professionals to compete against each other in this back-to-basics celebration of the art and science of light. Each team will be challenged with creating an exterior light installation, with a limited range of kit and only 180 minutes.

Whilst the lighting community has worked to overcome the challenges presented by the pandemic, day to day work has continued. There have been new starters and the same requirements to support development but without the crucial interaction that comes with working alongside colleagues in a shared space. The Society feels it is more important than ever to provide design practices and lighting professionals with an opportunity to have fun and work together, with the added element of some friendly competition.

As always, there will be three awards up for grabs. A panel of expert judges from the SLL and the IALD will be deciding the winners of the Technical and Artistic Awards, with the coveted Peer Prize decided by the contestants taking part.

Students enrolled in Rose Bruford College’s Lighting and Design BA courses support the event, with the opportunity to learn from and assist lighting professionals working in this unique environment.

Previous winners have included dpa lighting consultants, Future Designs, UCL, WSP, Arup, Hoare Lea, Thorlux Lighting, Speirs Major, Aecom and many more. Do you think you’re up for the challenge?

Find out more and register your team for SLL Ready Steady Light 2021 –

If you are interested in donating kit or supporting this event, please contact

John Cullen Lighting celebrates 40th anniversary

May 25th, 2021 | Latest News | 0 Comments

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.



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.

    Recolight right-hand skyscraper June 2022
    Inspired Lighting right-hand skyscraper Aug 21
    Pharos right-hand skyscraper August 2022
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