In 2015 the long and complex King’s Cross Square Redevelopment Project was named the Lighting Design Award's Exterior Lighting Project of the Year. The architects aim was mainly to give the city back this square that houses London's most crowded transport interchange and serves approximately 140,000 people a day. The project sought to restore the square's original integrity and raise its civic importance to the same level as other major public spaces in London, like Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square and Tower Hill Square.
The original project brief asked for a space that would be flexible, so the Stanton Williams architectural firm redesigned the station entrances and exits to facilitate movement as well as incorporating three large London Underground structures in the square. Clad with the same granite used for the square, these structures blend in perfectly with the surrounding urban panorama and contain numerous facilities and sales points that animate the square. StudioFRACTAL has worked closely together with Stanton Williams to revitalise the square both by day and by night. The project's lighting design specifications required an installation that would satisfy the complex requirements of the various areas, including finding a balance between functional lighting and style priorities, ensuring that the square operates as an important thoroughfare and a destination in itself, and offering systems with a long life and low maintenance and operating costs. The lighting system was designed from the very beginning to create a strong visual identity, enhance street signs and encourage commuters to enjoy these new spaces. The lighting strategy designed by StudioFRACTAL focused on blending the luminaires into the urban environment wherever possible. The historic facade maintains its three-dimensionality at night too, and its materials and textures are highlighted. Most of the lighting in the square comes from three 20 m high stainless steel masts designed and built specifically for this project and containing LED floodlights. Smaller columns have been included to guide commuters towards the ticket office, and a series of other luminaires with a very low visual impact offer supplementary and accent lighting.
StudioFRACTAL worked closely with a number of lighting companies to offer an entirely LED solution (the first in the United Kingdom for an important public space). This was done to make the luminaires as compact as possible, obtain long life and respect cost targets. All the lighting products, including the elements specifically designed for this project, feature a long life guarantee. After the official opening, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, described the square as “a fantastic open space which has led to the creation of a whole new vibrant district. The transformation of King’s Cross is not only beautiful by day and by night, but it has also triggered all sorts of regeneration, with new jobs, huge numbers of homes being built and businesses relocating here.
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