Michael Grubb Studio was appointed by London Borough of Lambeth to provide a creative vision and then technical designs for Black Prince Road tunnel.
Housing almost 30,000 people and home to the International Maritime Organisation, Lambeth is a district in Central London with a rich, ever-changing history. In the 14th century Edward of Woodstock – known as Edward, the Black Prince – lived in Lambeth. The eldest son of Edward III of England, his presence has caused much of the freehold land of Lambeth to remain under Royal ownership to this day, with one area named after him: Black Prince Road.
WHAT WE DID
The Michael Grubb Studio chosen design was a depiction of the crystallisation of ruby, in reference to the Black Prince’s Ruby – one of the oldest parts of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom. The Black Prince’s Ruby belonged to Edward of Woodstock in the 1300s and has been worn by royalty ever since.
After Michael Grubb Studio had developed the concept and brief, Schréder UK supported the implementation of this unique design. Samples were produced and used in an experimentation phase which looked at the different materials and light sources that would create the desired effect.
The final installation consists of a 52-meter custom red LED strip. The lighting reflected off of a ‘hammered’ aluminium panel onto a polycarbonate protector with vinyl custom graphics applied. 27 of their LED handrail modules were built into the base of the strip to provide the desired lighting levels needed on the road, chosen for their small size and photometric performance.
A challenge for the project was to appreciate the historical significance of the structures as well as gain approval from a host of interested stakeholder groups. The final scheme was approved by both Network Rail and TfL prior to installation.
For engineers, the bridge presented many difficult challenges. Its tunnel walls were old, uneven and in a state of disrepair. The LED strip mounted onto the walls had to be level and true to achieve the desired effect. Therefore, a levelling mounting channel was used by the specialist installation crew to ensure a fantastic finished result.
The strip was divided into two-meter modules that were designed to fit together as a jigsaw, with each having custom graphics and a specific place on the tunnel walls. As a result, the process required communication between suppliers, designers, manufacturers and engineers to create the stunning end result and do justice to the original vision for the project.
Client: London Borough of Lambeth
Lighting Design: Michael Grubb Studio
Contractor: Bouygues & Urbis Schreder
Awards: 2018 DARC Awards, Winner & 2019 Surface Design Awards, Winner