For several years, the local governing council in the Southwark area of London was looking for a way to revitalize the Clink Street Tunnel, a well-worn Victorian railway tunnel in the heart of historic Bankside. The railway arch of the tunnel once covered an old medieval footpath, and is now a popular trail for local residents. The council wanted to incorporate a lighting effect, improve safety in the pathway area, and preserve the historical value of the arch. Halo Lighting, a London-based lighting design firm, was hired to provide the solution. Lighting designer Yann Guenancia suggested using a video wall similar to one they created for London's Fire nightclub. The same video wall design of a subtle firework display would be used to provide way-finding light for pedestrians in the pathway of the tunnel.
Halo knew that an LED lighting system would be the best way to create the effect they were trying to achieve and contacted supplier Architainment Lighting of London to find the best LED solution for the project. Architainment suggested Philips Color Kinetics iColor Flex MX, flexible strands of full-color LED nodes capable of producing two- and three-dimensional patterns and video on almost any interior or exterior surface. To form the video screen, Halo fixed 192 strands of iColor Flex MX to wire mesh and mounted it directly onto the railway arch.
"The LED system is not only more energy efficient and environmentally friendly but also offers great bright output with no maintenance," said Halo lighting installer Chris Page. "The flexibility of the LED strands allowed us to map to any shape—in this case the arch—to create a video screen."
The lights are programmed to correspond with the highs and lows of the pedestrian flow in the tunnel. During quiet times, there is a twinkling star effect, and in times of increased activity the firework effect builds up momentum, reaching a striking display climax.
The Clink Street tunnel project marks another success of the Light at the End of the Tunnel (LET) program. The program was launched to transform the 6 mile (10 km) stretch of disused Victorian viaducts south of the Thames River in Central London. This stretch consists of 97 roads and pedestrian tunnels, many of them dark and unwelcoming to pedestrians. The hope is that invigorating and unifying these areas with light will encourage investment, leading to jobs and other economic growth for the riverside communities.
"Southwark will become famous for the way it has transformed spaces that were previously dark and unattractive into bright and interesting routes for people to enjoy and walk through. Not only do the tunnel installations in many of the borough's historic railway arches enhance the original structures, they also provide a safer environment for pedestrians during the evening, "said Councillor Fiona Colley, cabinet member for regeneration at Southwark. "In addition to the sophisticated LED display fitted above pedestrians as they walk through this popular thoroughfare, Halo Lighting has also improved lighting along the footway, making it safer and more appealing for the public."