Commissioned to design a lighting installation for the interiors of the Battersea Power Station brick wash towers, Jonathan Coles found inspiration in the green bowl-like forms of powerline insulators. “The brief was very open. We were asked to reference power generation – using the dials, gauges, cables and powerlines as a starting point. I liked the idea of repurposing a form or material that would never normally make its way into a decorative setting. The evocative colour of the glass drew me in, both in its natural raw beauty and in its ability to insulate thousands of volts” Jonathan says.

Initially looking at reclaimed glass insulators we then worked with a glass craftsman to experiment with forms and colours finally putting together working prototypes. When illuminated we discovered the glass threw a stunning array of ethereal light patterns around the room, a feature we retained.

The final design was assembled in spines of three discs with the cumulative effect of the stacked glass heightening the intensity of the green colouration of recycled glass. Two hundred of the lights have been hung at various heights in each of the four 30-metre towers.

The sense of dynamism of the installation is startling, and set against the bare brick and concrete of the towers, it illustrates the unexpected beauty found at the heart of industry. A mesmerising feast of voltage, the lights and their projections evoke a flow of energy spiralling upwards through the void of the towers.

Whilst all chandeliers can be viewed from the ground, the 15-square-metre glass lift in the power station’s northwest chimney brings guests a new vantage point as they scale the towers alongside the chandeliers, ending their journey 109 metres above the ground with a panoramic view of London.

The hugely anticipated Battersea Power Station development was opened on Friday 14th October 2022, finally be unveiled fully to the public after many years work. Inside each of its four iconic chimney towers is a virtuoso display of light and glass, a tribute to Sir Giles Gilbert Scott’s masterpiece.

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