Outdoor architectural lighting in our cities
The pandemic has seen outdoor spaces become more precious than ever. In times where it’s not safe for people to mix indoors, being able to get outside and make use of parks, squares, streets, and communal areas has been a lifeline.
Sharing outdoor spaces is not without issue, particularly in cities. Wear and tear and littering are common problems. But more pressing is safety. We need public places that are safe for people to use beyond the busiest daylight hours.
The right outdoor architectural lighting can transform a space. It enables us to use public spaces at night and can turn a dark and dingy thoroughfare into a brightly lit hub of activity. When lighting and basic facilities are provided, people are encouraged to make use of an area and take care of it.
Creating safe places to pause
Life goes on beyond daylight hours and outdoor lighting makes public spaces functional and safer at night. Lighting schemes create safe areas to sit, rest and congregate as people travel to and from work and generally go about their days.
Living through a pandemic has proven there’s a need for our cities to protect public spaces and create more outdoor areas for everyone to enjoy. Commercial buildings, retail space, and public parks and squares are places where outdoor and exterior lighting makes the difference.
Going beyond practicality
The best schemes are creative, subtle and elevate the structures surrounding them. They go beyond practicality and offer something visually stimulating too. There are all sorts of ingenious ways to light outside spaces that involve more than street lamps and flood lights. Some of these include:
- Embedded spotlights
- In-ground linear LED fixtures
- Accent lighting on structures, buildings and signage
- Illuminated seating
- Bespoke light installations
In our experience, the most accomplished outdoor architectural lighting schemes feature a range of fixtures such as these. These designs ensure a space is clear and navigable, first and foremost, but they also create an eye-catching spectacle in themselves.
Lighting for the highstreet
Shopping districts and inner-city areas are emptier than normal. The British high street needs help bouncing back when it reopens. Part of this is creating appealing facades and multipurpose outdoor spaces for people to enjoy. Lighting should be considered as part of this.
We were approached by Bowmer & Kirkland to create lighting for the façade of this commercial development. The project includes brand new retail and leisure space for the busy centre of the area in Nottingham.
We designed an aluminium extrusion containing over 700m of our DALI controlled, 4000K Flexus 3, 24V flexible linear LED system. The LED lines blend seamlessly into the whole façade, which was critical from a design and aesthetics perspective.
The lighting design considers the space immediately around the building. The benches and seating are lit, creating a safe pathway and seated area for the public to use throughout the day.
Lighting design studio, StudioFRACTAL, created this design for the square adjoining Kings Cross Station. Designed to be durable and energy efficient, the lighting scheme was one of the first large scale public realm developments in the UK to use only LED technology.
A range of LED fixtures were used at different levels. Pole mounted LEDs light the square from above, while linear under-seat fixtures cascade light across the pavement. There are also spotlights illuminating the various structures within the square, including the station’s iconic tower.
Kemps provided luminaires for the newly-improved, low-energy LED lighting for the famous clock at the top of the building’s façade.
The space has been sharply executed and is still admirable over 4 years on. The square is a vibrant arena of light and energy, providing the perfect entranceway to one of London’s busiest stations.
Kemps was specified by lighting design firm, George Sexton Associates (GSA), to provide a range of outdoor architectural lighting for Westquay Shopping Centre in Southampton. In addition to lighting for the building’s façade, bespoke elements were required for the centre’s outdoor seating area.
We helped GSA to create 34 bespoke illuminated trunk-style seats. These seats have been installed alongside regular outdoor chairs, benches and spot lighting to create a brightly-lit space for customers to sit and relax.
What could have been a simple pathway is now an inviting garden, suitable for use during the day and evenings. This communal area not only lifts the overall appearance of the shopping centre, but it also encourages customers to stay longer by providing places to sit and enjoy their surroundings.
These projects are brilliant examples of the real impact of outdoor architectural lighting. The lighting installed has made these areas safe to navigate, certainly. But it’s also turned them into spaces to meet, rest and socialise, increasing their value to end users who visit and pass through each day.
Take a look at our recent case studies here.