Duke of York Square,
London

The External Environment

The Duke of York Square is a thriving public space and retail development offering a variety of shops, cafes and areas to relax. During the day the busy square is a great place for people to meet or break from the business of their day. By introducing interesting external lighting our aim was to extend the hours of public use well into the evening whilst improving ambient light levels and increasing impact from afar. In keeping with the clients brief, visible lighting equipment was kept to a minimum and compact in scale. The lighting now forms an important part of the experience when visiting the square, emphasizing the architecture, creating a touch of theatre, increasing the feeling of public safety and providing points of interest at a human scale.

Following the success of the lighting of the Square we were briefed to create an appropriate night time landmark for this important part of Central London that sympathetically joined the Duke of York Square to the Duke of York Headquarters. Throughout the design, consideration for local residents and the environment was always significant. The challenge was to create an architecturally informed and powerful lighting response whilst maintaining restraint. Durability and maintainability were also significant considerations.

The lighting was built up in layers towards the classical entrance portico and providing visual orientation towards the entrances. Carefully controlled lighting was selected to expose architectural elements and relief work whilst minimising spill light. The windows of the main building are internally lit from the bottom upwards, which gives an impression of movement to the ordered fenestration of the façade. A little light is deliberately allowed to spill from the windows catching the horizontal eves detail to identify this important architectural element.

Tree-mounted Gobo projectors with a simple leaf, break up pattern are used successfully to provide a “textured light” effect to the paved areas, enlivening the space without the introduction of ‘visual clutter’ within the square. The pattern simulates sunlight coming through the trees and is deliberately focused to create a soft edge to the pattern. The view from Duke of York Square is significant and the night time connection with the square is harmoniously blended with the pedestrian route to the gallery. The trees appear silhouetted against the building as they are up lit on the side facing the gallery façade which creates a different dynamic from a variety of viewing positions.

The project is deliberately subtle using warm white light carefully contained, which creates an extremely efficient lighting solution that is architecturally sympathetic and environmentally aware.

Since installation of the lighting scheme there has been a significant increase in the public activity in the evenings and a feeling of wellbeing.