Insight | Highlighting the in-between

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Moving through towns and cities, we walk along many routes and spaces that serve primarily as links, connections and crossings. Most are unremarkable experiences – footbridges, underpasses and pathways to be hurried along or rushed through. Yet, thanks to our aspirational thinking about people’s experience in light, these short journeys have inspired some of our most engaging work in the public realm.

“By being sweet to the pedestrian and the cyclist you hit five birds with one stone — you get a lively city, you get an attractive city, you get a safe city, you get a sustainable city, and you get a city that’s good for your health…”- visionary urban design consultant, Jan Gehl

High Line; reclaimed as an extraordinary “strolling garden in the sky,” the design is characterised by an intimate choreography of movement with alternating vistas and experiences, each leveraging the amazing “borrowed landscape” of Manhattan and the Hudson River. Project lead, James Corner Field Operations 

The last 20 years have seen progressively more emphasis on the design of people-centred civic space. A focus on more liveable and sustainable ‘active’ cities has seen a re-prioritisation in planning that encourages walking, cycling and public transport.

Light plays a significant role in this approach, guiding safe movement after dark and making routes and spaces more welcoming and appealing. Beyond these functional aims, we look to find another dimension.

For us, light offers the opportunity to elevate the experience of these ‘in-between’ spaces, creating an after-dark identity and a memorable sense of place.”

Olympic Way, Wembley London, UK

We lined Olympic Way, the route between London’s famous Wembley Stadium and Wembley Park tube station with bespoke columns supporting celebratory banners, delivering lighting that adapts to the volume of people and desired atmosphere. The rhythmic light helps to guide people and contributes a sense of processionary splendour.

Avenue of Stars, Hong Kong

In this culturally important space, we used subtle rhythmic light to create a soft cinematic atmosphere for people strolling the Avenue, facilitating their appreciation of the dynamic views. We included gentle animated light in the deck edge, connecting the land to the harbour and making the Avenue easily identifiable from the Hong Kong side.

Kings Cross Tunnel, London, UK

Following our long-standing involvement in the development of the King’s Cross Central area, we were invited to consider how this new concourse might be enhanced through lighting. The resulting illuminated graphic artwork runs the full length of the tunnel, drawing pedestrians through from the adjacent Tube tunnels. A memorable and immersive experience, it has become a must-see in many London travel guides as well as a favourite on social media feeds.

Infinity Bridge, Stockton-on-Tees, UK

Named for the distinctive reflected silhouette that creates the mathematical symbol for infinity (∞), our design for this new footbridge delivered on twin aims: a clear after-dark identity, and a magical experience for pedestrians, enabled by light that responds to their movement.

Queens Walk, London, UK

Behind many of these projects lies a simple singular idea, well-delivered. For Queen’s Walk on London’s South Bank, our moonlight-inspired blue and white festoon lights in the trees created a timeless romantic setting that frames the view across the Thames – and has become an early role-model for the retention of darkness in public lighting.

Queen Elizabeth Park, London, UK

Although ostensibly a connection between the ArcelorMittal Orbit and Carpenters Lock, the enchanting after-dark experience of this pathway has seen it become an attraction in its own right. Our unique catenary system of suspended moon-like spheres creates a dappled effect like light filtering through a forest canopy, gently animating people as they stroll.