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Whitfield Gardens | The West End Project, London

The urban regeneration initiative aimed to revitalise the public space, enhancing its usability and aesthetic appeal while preserving its cultural and historical heritage. Whitfield Gardens is the first public realm space completed as part of Camden Council’s hugely ambitious The West End Project.

Central to the transformation is the innovative lighting scheme by Michael Grubb Studio, designed to improve safety and create a welcoming atmosphere after dark. The lighting not only illuminates key architectural elements but also accentuates natural features, contributing to the area’s attractiveness and functionality.

  • Lighting design by Michael Grubb Studio for Whitfield Gardens in Camden, London
  • Lighting design by Michael Grubb Studio for Whitfield Gardens in Camden, London
  • Lighting design for public realm for the west end project, London


The West End Project addresses traffic congestion, road safety, poor air quality, and the fact that this area has previously had less than the Camden average of public open space. Areas like Whitfield Gardens are vital in bringing people into close contact with nature even in the busiest parts of the city. The gardens now provide an open and well-lit space for people to come together to socialise, or sit and have a moment of quiet reflection in the daytime and evening.

Before the initiative, Whitfield Gardens had deteriorated into a space that was uninviting and in dire need of a refreshed narrative and visual identity. Therefore, lighting was critical to the project as the space had become a hub for anti-social activity after dark. The objective was to transform it into a welcoming destination, rather than a place to avoid. The community’s vision was to revive Whitfield Gardens as a social hub where everyone could feel welcome. The design team aimed to ensure the space would be enjoyable for people at all times of the day. The project includes the introduction of improved pedestrian pathways to facilitate easier access and movement, alongside strategically placed seating areas. Landscaping enhancements enrich the environment and reflect the local character.


Lighting Shapes A New Visual Identity

Recognising the pivotal role of lighting in this transformation, we focused on replacing traditional park benches with innovative modular furniture. This included contemporary, adaptable cluster seating made from high-quality materials, such as timber slats. The new benches come with or without backrests, and wider blocks are provided to accommodate larger groups and facilitate outdoor dining. Equally important, linear lighting, integrated within the benches, provides visual impact and leads the eye around the space. We achieved this by layering light, with a strong emphasis on using 2700K lighting throughout to complement the warm tones of the timber elements in the landscape design.

Overall, the lighting scheme supports the design strategy with warm, tranquil, and inviting atmosphere. The new lighting scheme addresses this by using layers of light to create an inviting space. The lighting design incorporates all soft and hard landscape features, from the large London Plane trees to the newly installed seating and the Fitzrovia Mural.


  • community enjoys new lighting scheme in Whitfield Gardens, London
  • Lighting design for public park in London

Bringing The Familiarity with Light

The lighting ties the new space and the restored features together. It also creates a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

The transformation of this relatively small garden in the heart of central London has made such a big impact. The lighting design opens up the space and gives an enhanced feeling of safety and reassurance to visitors by night. It also celebrates its importance as a central London location. A centrepiece to this, as well as a physical centrepiece to the park is the newly restored ‘Fitzrovia Mural’.

This massive piece of urban art records and celebrates the life of the local community within and around the park in the 1980s, showing scenes of local life and portraits of local people. Along with other details, it has been faithfully restored as part of the project. Naturally, the lighting scheme lights up and illuminates the mural, while allowing it to become a dramatic and colourful backdrop. The renovated mural supported by illumination provides a bright personality to this part of Fitzrovia. Additionally, numerous up-lights in the trees create an almost fairy-tale enhancement, natural canopy of light over the gardens.

As a result, Whitfield Gardens’ redevelopment underscores Camden’s commitment to sustainable urban development and community engagement, aiming to provide a vibrant public space that enriches the quality of life for residents and attracts visitors to this historic part of London.



“When we listened to the community, there was a strong desire to create a safer, more welcoming and sociable green space, both during the day and at night.”

Stephen Richards, director at LDA Design



“After years of natural decline into an overgrown, badly lit and unwelcoming space at night, Whitfield Gardens in central London has been given a new vibrant visual identity, one that will give it renewed purpose and civic resonance as we emerge from lockdown. And lighting has been at the heart of its regeneration.”

Melissa Byers, Head of Michael Grubb Studio Bournemouth



“Michael Grubb Studio successfully balanced place-making and technical considerations to create a beautiful and welcoming space that puts people first.”

 Sophie Thompson, Director at LDA Design



The West End Project, spearheaded by Camden Council, is the largest council-led public realm and transport initiative in Camden’s history. This £35 million project reimagines some of the most congested streets in central London, prioritising pedestrians and cyclists. The project addresses critical issues such as air pollution and urban wellbeing. The West End Project aims to reshape the heart of London’s West End including Alfred Place, Whitfield Gardens and Princes Circus, into a greener, more vibrant public space. Moreover, the initiative is a testament to the power of thoughtful urban design in creating healthier, more sustainable city environments that reduces vehicle dominance and increases green spaces.


This project is featured in the articles below

e-architect  |  Lighting Journal (Cover Feature)




London Borough of Camden

Lead Designer

LDA Design


idverde UK

Project Management

Norman Rourke Pryme


DSDHA (Overarching West End Project Strategy, Norman Rourke Pryme (Cost)

Structural Engineers

Arcadis (Civil, M&E and Structural Engineers)


Mike Massaro


London, United Kingdom


NLA Public Spaces 2019 (Unbuilt Award), The Pineapples 2024 (Winner), [d]arc awards 2024 (Shortlisted)