Set above the tracks of Liverpool Street Station, Exchange Square is a unique tranquil new park within the urban heart of London. In designing the after-dark experience, lighting design studio Speirs Major have shaped a warmly evocative blend of light and darkness that reveals the multi-level topography and curved landscape elements, while supporting intuitive wayfinding and ease of access.
Revealing the natural texture, colour and movement in the foliage, stone, wood and water, the lighting design enhances the park’s character as natural light fades: a gentle respite from the surrounding glass, steel, and concrete.
A key project from the Broadgate Public Realm Framework for British Land, the park focuses on wellbeing and open access, marking an important milestone in their journey from an office-led campus to a truly mixed-use, creative environment.
Reflecting this, the designers at Speirs Major opted to keep much of the lighting a low height, preserving an intimate ambience that encourages easy social interaction. At the perimeter, light for circulation is provided from columns at a human scale while low-level bollards reveal the internal routes and low-level planting.
Across the multi-level site, light is beautifully integrated within landscape elements to
PROJECT NAME: The Lighting of Exchange Square
PROJECT OWNER/DEVELOPER/END USER: British Land
PROJECT TYPE: Cultural
TOTAL SQUARE FOOTAGE:
SPECIAL DESIGNATIONS (AWARDS):
LIGHTING DESIGNER: Speirs Major
PHOTOGRAPHER: James Newton
LOCATION: London, UK
YEAR COMPLETED: 2022
LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT: DSDHA
improve legibility and contribute to a warm ambience. An even wash reveals the dark metal vertical face of the curving ‘ribbon’ retaining wall that runs through the park, while the slatted timber benches that sit up above the wall are softly lit from beneath.
Slots cut into the faces of the terrazzo step seating and water feature also contain hidden light sources, creating mesmerising patterns and ever-changing ripples.
The tallest elements in the park are two rows of mature silver birch trees that are lit from within to create shifting patterns of rustling foliage and branches on the ground.
The colour of the light adjusts tonally with each season, with warmer white light enhancing the rich autumn leaves and bare wooden branches in autumn and winter and fresher cooler white light celebrating the green buds and vibrant leaves of spring and summer.
Associate Partner Benz Roos, explains:
“Our lighting design focuses on enhancing the sensory aspects of the park design, including the natural textures, and changing colours of the planting and the movement of wind and water. By playing up these elements, we aimed to encourage people to slow down, take note of their beautiful surroundings, and enjoy a moment of serenity in the city.”