Centre Point letters light up London

November 08 2017 — by Karina Armburg Jennings
We're very excited to see the new Centre Point Tower signage and roof edge lighting switched back on last night after an absence of three years.

We started design work on Centre Point London in summer 2012. The iconic illuminated letters have always been key to the exterior identity of the development after dark. The signage announces the full Centre Point development, incorporating the Tower, Link, and House buildings, which surround a public realm square beside the new Cross Rail station entrance.

The main challenge for the signage was to design the lighting to maintain the appearance of the existing iconic wayfinding beacon, as required by English Heritage, whilst creating a contemporary evolution of the design that would also look attractive when viewed from the apartment behind. Conran and Partners developed the proposal to use a solid letter outline and mesh infill, to allow views out through the letters. Unusually, each letter shape is unique, just like the font of a barcode. For example, what appears to be a straight line on the top of the letter ‘R’ is actually a slightly concave unique shape, and the same applies for all of the letters. Templates of the exact shape outline and size of the letters were taken and replicated identically by Artisan Solutions.

During construction, the original letters were relocated to Trafalgar Square for a few nights during the London Lumiere festival in 2016, allowing the public to get up close to the original cold cathode light boxes for the first time.

We worked with Conran and Partners to finalise the mesh material by testing light on different material samples, studying how light revealed different weaves and apertures. The design of the outline was developed to incorporate the sideways graze light onto the mesh, as well as the glowing outline on the outer edge of the letter. The sideways graze provides light onto the letter infill, but the mesh design minimizes the impact of the light when viewed from behind. We visited Artisan’s workshop in Dublin to review the first full prototype to help us refine the design, measuring the spill light back through the mesh. The detailing incorporates all wiring within the letter, so that it also looks attractive from the balcony behind. The letter graze light and outline light are independently controllable so that the intensity of each can be balanced.

We tested many product types and colour temperatures to find the best balance between recreating the original glowing letter appearance, and making sure that the letters would look right within the context of a newly residential building and the warm interiors of the occupied apartments. Samples were also tested to ensure that the letters would be visible from far away to ensure the building would continue to serve as a wayfinding node within the night cityscape.