Leading-edge lighting design consultancy Nulty has recently completed work on the regeneration of Leake Street in London’s Waterloo, including lighting 300m of dramatic street art.
Below the tracks of Waterloo Station is Leake Street, a vibrant urban landscape known as the “Graffiti Tunnel”. Originally brought to fame by street artist Banksy, Leake Street is one of London’s most popular urban street art locations. As one of the few legal walls in the UK where artists can express their creativity in public, the atmospheric tunnel is a haven for graffiti artists around the world to leave their mark.
Working closely with the developers LCR, Nulty’s main objective was to highlight and celebrate the artwork, whilst improving the quality of the light throughout this urban and individual space.
Three main elements were considered in the design process: flexibility of the space for events, robustness of the light fittings, and showcasing the vivid, colourful and constantly changing graffiti.
A suspended theatrical truss with mounted spotlights spans the length of the tunnel to provide gallery-quality lighting to the art. Linear RGBW uplights sit on top of the truss to illuminate the arched ceiling with a wash of white light, and with colour-changing capabilities they offer a flexible range of coloured effects for different events. Luminaires positioned at the base of the arches, above the tunnel’s retail units, emphasise the curved architecture for some accent.
Accent lighting is provided by light fixtures that have been carefully mounted at the base of the arches, above the nearby retail units, to celebrate the curved architecture of the space.
Working closely with Secure by Design, the official UK Police flagship initiative combining the principles of ‘designing out crime’ with physical security, Nulty made sure that the light fittings used where practical can withstand a dose of spray paint; for example, a secondary glass lens has been used within the spotlights and can be easily removed and cleaned, without interfering with the light in the space.
Based in offices just beside Waterloo Station, Nulty Director Ellie Coombs says: “It’s not often you get a project right on your doorstep. It was fantastic to have the opportunity to collaborate with our local community and be part of the development of an urban space that our team know, love and use on a daily basis.”
Incidentally, Nulty is looking for designers and a creative director for its Dubai office.