Elephant Park is a new two-acre green space at the centre of a multi-phase revitalisation project for the Elephant & Castle area of London. Inspired by the local community’s need to get close to nature, relax and have fun, the approach to the lighting balances light, darkness, texture and colour with unique lit ‘moments’, creating a comfortable yet exceptional after-dark experience.

Dubbed the green heart of the master plan for the entire area, the new park forms an urban oasis that doubles as a social hub. Extending Elephant Park’s use through the evening hours, soft, organic lighting reveals and enhances natural colours and textures and supports relaxed interaction after dark by creating places where people feel comfortable meeting up and hanging out.

The light is built in layers, beginning with discreetly lit pathways. Low-level illumination creates an intimate ambience, balanced with directed highlights of trees and foliage that support intuitive wayfinding and creates positive vistas within the park.

Secluded from the paths, small pockets of light invite people to take a moment to pause and interact. Selected benches glow with softly integrated lighting, transforming the structures into lantern-like seating spaces. Others feature unique individual ‘reading lights’, reminiscent of a task lamp over a sofa, which have proved very popular as places for people to sit and chat.

The Tree House is both an important landmark and a key social space, housing a coffee shop, event space, and public roof viewing platform set amongst the upper boughs of the magnificent tree. Here, a balanced lighting design describes the distinctive architecture of the building and, by emphasising the vertical surfaces, helps to draw people seamlessly to the pavilion from the park or associated public realm. Light levels are kept low on the balustrades to preserve views, while soft light to the tree foliage and timber panelling helps mark the Tree House as a warm and welcoming beacon within the local landscape.

The final standout feature of the park, Elephant Springs, is a water play area created from natural stone formations. Bringing a touch of magic to the scene after dark, softly overlapping lighting patterns create a dappled effect that enhances the textures and colours in the stone. The light also plays on the shimmering water and nearby planting, creating beautiful shadows that emulate the effect of sunlight through a tree canopy.

The lighting design promotes legibility by carefully balancing highlighted areas with retained darkness and degrees of shade, adding character to ensure the park feels intimate, inviting and secure while being more sustainable and ecologically responsible. No light source is directed upward, and most of the light is a warmer 2700K colour temperature, not only to support a relaxing experience but also to help limit any impact on wildlife and the ecosystem.

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