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Bournemouth Pier Approach, UK

Encouraging people to interact and feel part of a space they are in is a rewarding process. Michael Grubb Studio developed, designed and delivered an exterior lighting scheme for Bournemouth’s coastal gateway. This became a unique visitor attraction for the town.

The story behind our project dates back to 1896 and inspired by Princess Eugenie of France.

Bournemouth was well known as a health spa resort during the 19th century. The princess visited Bournemouth on the advice of her physician. During her stay, candles lit the route through the gardens to the sea

This story has been celebrated in the town ever since with an annual celebration during the summer. This candlelight narrative was the motivation for the project.

A lighting design was originally developed solely for the Lower Gardens. However, after a competitive tender process, Michael Grubb Studio was appointed to deliver Pier Approach (from stages E to L).

As part of the scheme Michael Grubb Studio was asked to continue the Lower Garden’s narrative down into Pier Approach. This resulted in the previous scheme being reconceptualised to achieve an all-encompassing lit experience.

The client was also eager to develop a scheme that actively promoted and unlocked an under used and underperforming space by night.

Michael Grubb Studio provided a range of lighting scenes for specific times, days and events during the year. This included, the Air Festival, Wheels Festival, Arts by the Sea Festival and Gardens of Light (for which Michael Grubb Studio curates).

The final lighting scheme was represented by a range of lighting effects incorporated within the bespoke wooden lighting masts. All of which combine to create a magical, theatrical and immersive experience at predetermined dates and times.

The scheme creates a vibrant, bright and lively space to provide a sense of place.


Bournemouth Borough Council

Scope of Works

Technical Design & Production Information, Construction to Practical Completion & Post Practical Completion

Design Team

Mouchel, Aecom, Michael Grubb Studio, CEC, Hydrock, Ustigate (Water Feature) & Willmott Dixon PBWC


Mike Massaro


Bournemouth, UK