Q+A: Michael Grubb

March 25, 2024

The founder of Michael Grubb Studio talks about navigating the waves of change during a decade in business

What is the key to keeping a design studio running for a decade?

The key to maintaining a fresh and successful design studio is to constantly evolve—by continuing to develop, you can become bigger and better in what you do. We have seen major waves of change: significant staff transitions, the evolution of our branding and the opening of our new London office. I continue to push myself and the team to strive for creativity and excellence while offering innovative lighting design, bespoke to each project.

Can you discuss how studio has defined its identity within the lighting industry?

From the offset, I wanted us to be completely different from other design studios, emerging as a bold and brave creative space. One of the ways we distinguished ourselves was by using a lot of bright color in our logo from the start. Now our signature hot pink is synonymous with our brand, which contrasts with the multitudes of black and white monochromatic branding out there. We pride ourselves on injecting joy into projects, and we have taken that ethos with us as we have grown.

What is your favorite project thestudio has completed?

The projects that are the most rewarding to work on are those in which we have an amazing collaboration with the design team partners. We have such an extensive portfolio of projects that it’s hard to pick just one favorite. Notable projects include Guinness Storehouse in Ireland; Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London; “Formula 1® Exhibition” (LD+A September, 2023); “BBC Earth Experience”; Bath Abbey and Brent Cross Town in England.

What is the Re:lit project?

What started off as a conversation about how we can recycle waste in the industry has turned into an award-winning sustainability initiative that has been in place since 2014. The purpose of Re:lit is to prevent the waste of lighting equipment that would be sent to landfill by putting it in a new environment to be reused. There are now commercial enterprises in place that do what we did; we are incredibly proud that our initiative helped to raise awareness and that others have taken the baton in driving this forward.

How did opening a second office change studio operations?

The addition of the London office is going incredibly well. Headed by the talented Mike Cascarino, the London team has blended in seamlessly with the Bournemouth, England team. Everything is combined, and this has had huge benefits for our clients as it allows us to work on a growing number of international projects and provide our services in different areas of the country. It also allows us more flexibility in the post-COVID space to work across projects in different locations.

Where do you see the studio 10 years from now?

If you had asked me that 10 years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to describe where we are today, so I can’t wait to see what the future holds. Naturally, we have a business plan in place, and we are currently refining that plan for the next chapter of the studio—it will be interesting to see what direction this takes us in. What you can expect from us is continuous growth, development, expansion and creativity, as well as to continue to work on a range of awe-inspiring projects across the globe.