Why are pedestrian tunnels often dark dismal spaces? The new lighting artwork at King’s Cross, London shows that it can be different and that starting a journey on the underground can be a joy rather than a burden. As part of the King’s Cross redevelopment, a new entrance has been created to the underground station with a 90 metre long pedestrian walkway bathed in light using a LED integrated lightwall designed by Speirs +Major. The LED lights installed behind a jointed glass wall can create a moving light shows with no shadow lines and for the first few months have a light/artwork ‘Pipette’ by Miriam Sleeman and Tom Sloan, to “evoke the colourful tapestry of King’s Cross through a tranquil yet animated design.”
King’s Cross has other lighting projects. Brightening up the dark empty retail spaces – as yet unlet – are manikin-acrobats with fluorescent tubes and during the winter months square outside the Granary has been lit by an artwork and public pavilion “Winter Sun”, commissioned by King’s Cross and a collaboration between artists James Bowthorpe and Kim Coleman, with architect Andrew Lock.
Winter Sun is a circular structure, 5 metres high by 18 metres wide, with “endlessly dimming and brightening social space ….encircled by twelve glowing ‘suns’ emulating natural light. Some suns will approximate daylight, others will continuously simulate daybreak”. The details of the bar at the centre of the artwork has been designed as part of the artwork right down to the staff uniforms created using exposed light-sensitive materials.