With quite a bit of experience in co-designing projects and working in collaboration with local communities, we were delighted to transform a pedestrian underpass at the Moorings in Thamesmead London, bringing a previously ordinary space to life by day and night in collaboration with the local community.

We began the project by speaking with residents and underpass users by day and night to understand the views on, and experience of, the site and surrounding areas to understand the main concerns. We then undertook a program of co-design with young people from Hawksmoor Youth Club which included a guided night walk around King’s Cross and a one-day workshop to explore different ‘atmospheres of light’ and begin to produce unique ideas for the reimagined underpass. A key idea developed was to light the trees in colour to add a sense of wonder and connect the underpass to the surrounding nature.

Despite a limited budget and challenging installation and maintenance conditions, the lighting design accentuates the space and artwork while also being very discrete. Light Follows Behaviour aimed to introduce a high quality, low budget lighting solution which did not depend on bulky lighting equipment unsuitable for pedestrian priority spaces.

The improved underpass is lit by a simple, elegant, and robust lighting detail which illuminates the beautiful tile mural created by The Grantchester Pottery. The existing lighting was removed, and a central light fixture was installed which works with the underpass architecture without drawing attention by day. Lighting to the artwork also provides functional light to the underpass accentuating a gateway into the site. The lighting detail was designed in a manner which can be replicated across the various underpasses in Thamesmead helping improve the pedestrian experience.

Thanks to Lisa Coombs-Roberts and students at Woolwich Polytechnic, Claire Hallinan and young people at Hawksmoor Youth Club, Mark Wood at Surface Design Studios, Tump 53, and Gogi’s Supermarket.

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