Located in the northern residential quarter of the new King’s Cross redevelopment, beside Regents Canal, Gasholder No. 8 is the largest of the iconic gasholders that once dominated the skyline at King’s Cross. This magnificent heritage structure has undergone a major offsite restoration and been repurposed as the frame to contain a new public pocket park and event space designed by Bell Phillips Architects.
Our design for the lighting is focused on making the most of the uniquely juxtaposing materiality of the circular heritage structure and the concentric mirror polished canopy set within it. Inspired by the idea of a solar eclipse, our scheme turns the park into a beautiful night-time landmark, as well as an enlivening immersive experience.
In an eclipse, the form of the moon is revealed by a soft corona of light, which shifts in intensity and position as the sun and moon move relative to each other. To create a glowing ‘corona effect’ each of the new canopy uprights are uplit, the cool white light enforcing the architectural rhythm and reflecting from the canopy roof back onto the path. The historic gasholder frame itself is also uplit with cool white light from the inside, creating a highly legible silhouette and reinforcing the special sense of enclosure with the illusion that all light is emanating from the canopy ‘corona’.
Twenty minute ‘eclipse’ cycles begin with all of the lights on, followed by cross fading from east to west over three minutes, a pause of two minutes in darkness (full eclipse) and then a slow east to west cross fade back up to full brightness. This apparent movement of the light creates fabulous shifts in the shadows and inter-reflections from the polished surfaces, gently animating both park and users