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Newcastle City Centre

Michael Grubb Studio has been appointed by Newcastle City Council to provide lighting designs for it’s £50M city centre public revamp, which aims to transform the city, both by day and by night. Led by Landscape Architects LDA Design with Pell Frischmann, Desco and Michael Grubb Studio providing the lighting design. 

The vision is for world-class public realm which reinforces identity and civic pride by providing a fitting setting for the city’s architectural buildings, landmarks and art installations. The Council aims to make the city centre a more beautiful and attractive place to spend time, bringing nature in and improving connectivity by re-connecting fragmented parts of the city.

Northumberland Street, the city’s main shopping street, will be transformed with trees and planting into a relaxed place to be enjoyed all year round. Nearby Ridley Place and Saville Row will host independent local retailers and craftspeople, with pop-up food stalls and a flower market in Ridley Place.

Further big changes include a longer-term plan to remove vehicle traffic from Grey Street and Blackett Street in the heart of the city centre, making them safer and improving the environment for residents and businesses.

This would see Grey Street transformed with new planting, paving and seating, to become a hub for cultural events and performance and ultimately the primary pedestrian route between the city centre and Quayside.

The ambitious Lighting Strategy, led by Michael Grubb Studio, looks to combine architectural and landscape opportunities to enhance and celebrate the city by night. Detailed proposals have since been developed for 7 areas within the City Centre, all of which are being implemented over several phases, with the first project already onsite. 

Leader of Newcastle City Council, Cllr Nick Forbes, said city centres need to adapt to survive. “Today we are launching our plans to create a city centre that gives residents and visitors what they want – pleasant open spaces to meet and socialise; a more diverse range of shops; safer streets that are free of traffic where people can walk freely, and attractions that offer families lots of things to do that are fun and educational.”

John Simpson at LDA Design says Newcastle is placing public realm firmly at the heart of its re-emergence and growth. “We are entering a new era for city centres, and Newcastle has ambitious plans to create a greener, more pedestrian-friendly city for all generations to enjoy. Our approach creates spaces that celebrate Newcastle’s history, heritage and culture, making the public realm a destination in its own right and bringing more people into the centre where they will want to stay for longer.”