LED lights bring atmosphere to King's Cross Square

Visitors to London's King's Cross station used to arrive at a drab 1970s extension that hid the Victorian façade. The extension was knocked down in 2012 as part of a major redevelopment of the station, freeing up space for a new public square.

Now the space in front of the façade can be enjoyed again, by day and night, with the help of an all-LED lighting scheme designed by StudioFractal.

Working throughout the project’s design and construction phases with architect Stanton Williams and stakeholders including Network Rail, London Underground, English Heritage and local authorities, the lighting design practice was tasked with creating a subtle but characterful space for an anticipated 140,000 users a day.

To balance functional and accent lighting, StudioFractal integrated its systems into surrounding buildings. As a result, the furniture and structural elements of the space are prominently defined at night and, in line with the project brief, ambient lighting from stainless steel columns makes Lewis Cubitt’s Grade I-listed Victorian station façade a focal point of the city’s first new public square for 150 years.

StudioFractal used in-ground Iglu luminaires from architectural LED manufacturer ACDC to light the ground floor of the façade.

In-ground luminaires from ACDC light the King's Cross Station façade

ACDC’s high-power Integrex linear luminaires were surface-mounted to wash light further up the façade. Connected by a combined power and data cable, the Integrex luminaire sends light 10m up the façade, while its integrated dimmable DMX driver offers a high level of control. A slim 53mm profile makes it a discreet presence on the façade.

As StudioFractal partner Chris Sutherland explains, ‘As well as highlighting the broad expanse of the façade, we also wanted to gently pick out the small niches and cornices with the same lighting effect, so that the horizontal surfaces would be illuminated as well, adding interest and drawing the eye.’

The listed status of Cubitt’s façade meant the luminaire fixtures had to be located in existing mortar lines to protect the integrity of the façade, and approved by Borough of Camden conservation officers and English Heritage.

Based in Gatwick, West Sussex, Studio Fractal has previously delivered a complete artificial lighting solution for Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 2, which won the Lux Award for Industrial and Transport Lighting Project of the Year in 2014.