Principal at Speirs + Major, Mark Major RDI has assumed the role of Master of the Faculty of Royal Designers for Industry, taking over from previous Master Tristram Carfrae RDI at a ceremony at the Royal Society of Arts in London. Major was made an RDI in 2012 for his ‘innovative use of light to create public space’. Mark Major trained and practised as an architect prior to focusing on the unique relationship between light and architecture. He has worked on a wide range of award-winning lighting projects including the Millennium Dome, 30 St. Mary Axe, Beijing International Airport, the refurbishment of Royal Festival Hall and the re-lighting of the interior of St. Paul’s Cathedral. He is a specialist in the field of urban lighting and was named as a key city advisor by Monocle in 2013. Mark acted as the Lighting Design Advisor to the Olympic Delivery Authority for London 2012 and was appointed to the Mayor of London’s Special Assistance team for the Outer London Fund in the same year. With an active interest in architectural and lighting education Mark has lectured extensively in the UK, Europe, Scandinavia, U.S. and Australia. He was the co-creator of an educational project ‘Made of Light – the Art of Light and Architecture’.
His appointment to this highly prestigious position in the design community recognises the widening and evolving scope of design professions that have both aesthetic value and are of benefit to society. He is hugely honoured and views the role as a great opportunity to act as an ambassador for the architectural lighting profession, and to promote the importance of socially and environment responsible design and design education.
The title ‘Royal Designer for Industry’ (RDI) is awarded annually by the RSA to designers of all disciplines who have achieved ‘sustained design excellence, work of aesthetic value and significant benefit to society.’ The RDI is the highest accolade for designers in the UK; only 200 designers can hold the title and non-UK designers may receive the honorary title Hon RDI. The ‘Royal Designers’ are responsible for designing the world around us, enriching our cultural heritage, driving innovation, inspiring creativity in others and improving our quality of life. The jet engine, Routemaster bus, iPhone, and Harry Potter film sets, among thousands of other things, have been created by them. Since it was introduced, recipients of the honour have included designers as diverse as Eric Gill, Barnes Wallis, Lucienne Day, Jonathan Ive, Richard Rogers, and Vivienne Westwood.
The Royal Designers contribute to the RSA in numerous ways, sharing their skills and experience with the organisation, its staff and networks, in particular supporting design education through the RSA Student Design Scheme, and the RSA Family of Academies.
The RSA established the RDI in 1936 to give recognition to outstanding designers and to promote the important contribution of design in manufacturing and industry. The honour was introduced when design was widely undervalued and misunderstood, both as a profession and as a tool to boost economic and social progress.
The Faculty of Royal Designers for Industry was formed in 1938 as the association of RDI members. New appointments are recommended to the RSA by the current RDI membership who represent an expanding and evolving design profession including; engineering, graphics, interaction, product, furniture, fashion, interiors, landscape, and urban design. Speirs + Major will no doubt be delighted with this special recognition for their Principal.