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Sutton Vane Associates


Independent lighting consultancy Sutton Vane Associates celebrates its 15th birthday this month. Principal Mark Sutton Vane talks to A1 about how the practice has developed.


As well as celebrating 15 years in 2011, Sutton Vane Associates has also opened a new studio in Bournemouth after winning a succession of new projects.


Q How did you first become involved in the lighting industry?


If you go far enough back, when I was a boy I always wanted torches for my birthdays. I have never grown up. I think we are all fascinated by light. After I studied architecture at the University Westminster I worked at the Laserium in the London Planetarium, which was great fun, using a visual synthesiser to perform laser light shows to music. The best part was creating new shows both for the public and privately for musicians like Kate Bush and Jean Michel Jarre.


Q How did Sutton Vane Associates come about? I had been working in architectural lighting design since 1989, but in 1995 I really felt the time was right to strike out on my own. Lighting design was still in its early stages and I felt there was real opportunity to develop new techniques and tackle problems in a really creative way. At that time clients were only just beginning to appreciate the role of the lighting designer and what a difference good lighting design could make. Nowadays many of those battles have been won and the newer challenge is to tackle issues such as sustainability creatively.


Q What is your favourite piece of lighting equipment and why? I love using a very, very narrow beam spotlight. With it you can pick out small things from a great distance. If you have clients who do not know much about lighting they are always impressed that the light source can be so far away from the object that is being lit.


Q What is the highlight of your career so far? We have won some fabulous projects both in the UK and abroad over the years, but I was really excited by our lighting of St Paul's Cathedral in red light for a one night


34 www.a1lightingmagazine.com


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