UK's Historical Station Relit by LEDs from acdc

Kings Cross Southern Square, Cubitt Facade, London 

Client: Network Rail

Architect: Stanton Williams

Lighting Design: studioFRACTAL

Photography: Will Scott

Products: Iglu, Integrex

One of UK's most popular land marks, King's Cross Station, was transformed with LED lights from acdc.(All Photo Courtesy of Will Scott)


In 2010, following a competition winning submission together with architects Stanton Williams, studioFRACTAL were commissioned to design the lighting for the first new public square in London in 150 years, situated in central Kings Cross. The project brief also called for the rejuvenation of the Grade 1 listed Cubitt Façade.

 Project brief

With a footfall of 140,000 users per day to contend with, this extremely complex and challenging project included the removal of existing retail units, relocation of transport services, as well as the accommodation of underground vents and other building structures. studioFRACTAL worked closely with the Client, various stakeholder groups (including Network Rail, London Underground, English Heritage and the local authorises) and the wider design team throughout the design and construction phases to create a subtle but characterful space that balanced these complex needs whilst creating a memorable visitor experience.

The station façade lit by in-ground luminaires.

 acdc solution

A highly sustainable, all LED lighting scheme was devised by studioFRACTAL, whose strategy of integrating lighting into numerous building elements provided the required balance between functional and accent lighting. This approach allowed the design team to design discrete lighting details into furniture and structural elements producing definition of these forms at night.  Bespoke stainless steel columns provide the ambient lighting within the square, carefully designed and positioned to afford maximum views of the historic Cubitt façade – which forms its focal point.

 acdc worked with studioFRACTAL to realise their design for this historic piece of architecture. Light from iglu in-ground luminaires grazes up the ground floor of the building to reveal the brickwork, connecting the façade to the ground plane at night. Further up the façade, acdc’s integrex surface mounted luminaires are employed to subtly and gradually wash light up the façade, fading out as the light travels up.

A demonstration of the illuminated station.

Chris Sutherland, of studioFRACTAL explains further:

As well as the highlighting broad expanse of the façade, we also wanted to gently pick out the small niches and cornices with the same lighting effect, so that the horizontal surfaces would be illuminated as well, adding interest and drawing the eye towards the façade itself. The product we used needed to be available in a range of lengths to suit the variation in space available. Being grade listed meant that the luminaire fixings had to be located in existing mortar lines to ensure no damage was done to the façade – and this all had to be approved by Camden conservation office and English heritage. “

The integrex high power linear luminaire proved to be the right choice, offering the power to wash up to 10m together with a fully integrated dimmable DMX driver for optimum control possibilities to tune the lit effect.  The slim 53mm profile ensured a discreet presence on the facade. Integrex is also available in lengths from 400mm up to 1200mm, and is connected simply with a single combined power and data cable.

Chris comments:

“The Integrex optics allowed us to achieve the even and gradual wash of light onto the façade we wanted. We selected 3000K warm white LEDs to reflect the warm tone and bring out the texture within the brick work.  acdc’s dual binning process gave us the confidence to be sure that all products would be colour consistent, right across the façade, for both the Iglu and Integrex products.”

The overall effect is spectacular, yet elegant, with the façade forming creating the perfect  backdrop against which the new square and station sit.

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