The sixth and final AJ/iGuzzini Place: Light First proposal aims to help regenerate the space around Wilson, Son & Aldwinkle’s dilapidated but much-loved Gothic Revival Ladywell Playtower (1885) in London SE4
The Ladywell Playtower in the south London borough of Lewisham is a crumbling Grade II-listed Victorian bathhouse on the English Heritage At Risk register.
Completed in 1885, largely abandoned in the 1960s and partially destroyed in a fire in 2006, it is nonetheless an important and much-loved landmark that the local community would dearly love to see brought back into use.
‘Well Lit’ is our proposal to harness the power of light to attract people to congregate and dwell awhile in the space around the Playtower and, ultimately, to help it become a catalyst for community regeneration.
Unexpected ethereal rings of light dance and shift in intensity as people move beneath them, drawing people off the street while reintroducing a civic function to the space directly in front of the building.
Light spills onto the magnificent walls of the Playtower, simplifying form and detail: this performs an instant renovation that hides imperfections and celebrates the rich primary architectural language and leaves the local community with a bold image of the building as it could be.
The tower is transformed by lighting into a new social destination, physically manifest as a beacon.
This signifies ‘activity’ and, along with a scattering of lights in local parks and streets, helps visitors locate the building and other activities in the area.
Finally, glimpses of the lights through the trees around the site draw people closer to a gathering space at the base of the tower, supporting a new landscape of social activity and interaction and creating a platform for participation and regeneration.
Lighting designer’s notes by Tim Downey, founder, Studio Fractal
The proposed regeneration of the historic Ladywell Playtower will create a dynamic new social centre within the community and a unique meeting place by day and night.
Good lighting that balances aesthetic and functional criteria are key to the project’s success, and the proposed lighting strategy seeks to demonstrate how lighting can rejuvenate a local landmark within a surrounding landscape of illuminated features, trees and parkland.
This masterplan will show how lighting can link various landmarks, ensuring safety and security while creating visual interest and moments of delight.
Sitting within open parkland and wooded areas, the tower should be sensitively illuminated with warm white light to complement the brickwork and enhance architectural details and visible evidence of its past life. A series of circular, lit features in the surrounding areas would create vibrant and invigorating focal points, enlivening and encouraging visitors to explore the site.
The structure would be created from a combination of miniaturised LED lighting and reflectors and mounted on lightweight poles and catenery wire systems. It would carry motion-sensing and Wi-Fi technology to enable interaction and dynamic change.
All lighting equipment and associated control gear and cabling would be minimised and concealed where possible, resulting in an unobtrusive and subtly balanced result.
iGuzzini case study: King’s Cross Square, London
King’s Cross Square, which was officially opened last year by the Mayor of London, is already proving popular, with an estimated 150,000 people using it every day. Part of the £550 million redevelopment of King’s Cross, Stanton Williams’ well-considered scheme reveals the brick facade of Lewis Cubitt’s 1852 railway station behind a generous 75,000 sq ft plaza. A critical component of the scheme is a comprehensive LED lighting design by Studio Fractal. The centrepiece of the scheme comprises three 20m-high bespoke lighting columns, custom-made by ProStainless with detailed, integrated LED lighting by iGuzzini. Each stainless steel column contains 120 custom-designed LED spotlights, set within a 5m-wide backlit ‘light-slot’. Each column has a unique aiming configuration to ensure that lighting is accurately delivered across the plaza without impeding views of the softly illuminated Grade I-listed facade.