Award-winning Michael Grubb Studio, was appointed by The Cathedral Group to deliver an innovative Public Realm Lighting Strategy for U+I plc’s Brighton & Hove’s much heralded Circus Street Development. Located in Brighton, a formerly disused area of the city centre has been imaginatively transformed into a vibrant new social, cultural and economic quarter drawing inspiration from the historic Brighton lanes and the urban grain of the city’s older parts.

Working in conjunction with renowned architects, ShedKM, and Brighton and Hove City Council, Michael Grubb Studio – an accomplished leading lighting design practice with an international portfolio specialising in bespoke, interior, and exterior lighting designs, lighting strategies and masterplans, across multiple sectors – developed the powerful lighting design solution for the multi-million-pound Circus Street public realm regeneration project.

From the initial concept, first imagined over seven years ago, to the completed landmark design, Michael Grubb Studio has been integral to the regeneration of this previous brownfield site, which has brought in around £200m of investment and numerous job opportunities for the local community.
Based on the notion that lighting should be more than just visual objects, the lighting design of Circus Street sought to relate to the surrounding public realm and architecture. With three main gateways into the development, each entrance has its own catenary lighting flow system with a super-sized pendant, shaped either as a pyramid, cube or sphere. These forms, and their materiality, are directly informed by the adjacent buildings designed by ShedKM and work to assist those navigating the site by day or night.

It was important for the lighting design to blend seamlessly with the landscape design, curated by J & L Gibbons, whilst complementing the bold, honest and vibrant culture of Brighton. Exterior lighting within the site has been carefully configured and includes a balance of both horizontal and vertical illumination. The central core and main square contain layers of architectural lighting, with each complementing the other. This includes lighting of both soft and hard landscaping features, as well as surrounding building facades.

The site has been working towards a green future and more than 100 trees have been planted, including a mature elm as a centrepiece to symbolise regeneration ad growth. The creation of the public realm and associated lighting was put in place to encourage a sense of community and social interaction for those living and working there.

Michael Grubb Studio’s lighting strategy at Circus Street has successfully delivered on its core ambition of creating a meaningful environment that becomes a healthy, vibrant, sustainable community model of city life. The public realm lighting strategy looked to reinforce these core principles by supporting the needs of people, whether local residents, students or business owners operating after dark.


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