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Olympic Way, London
Speirs Major

The after-dark experience of the journey between London’s Wembley Stadium and Wembley Park tube station has been transformed by holistically designed and beautifully integrated lighting designed by Speirs Major.

Informed by the practice’s original masterplan for New Wembley, the lighting approach recognises the need to adapt the ambience in response to the changing density of users – from the vast crowds on high-profile football match days, to the smaller number of residents who use the route most frequently.

On the main boulevard, elegant bespoke columns deliver a range of tailored atmospheres while meeting agreed lighting standards for a particular day or occasion. 

Designed in collaboration with the architects, each 13.5m tall column holds a lit banner and five custom-engineered projector types. 

Variation in the balance of distribution is achieved through dimming of selected fixtures. 

Engineered to support up to one tonne of equipment, the design allows for digital banners to be installed in the future, supporting fully immersive live content.

At the station, pedestrians pass beneath Bobby Moore Bridge when arriving and departing. 

A previously unwelcoming environment, the client required high-definition media advertising screens on the fascias at each end. 

Speirs Major explored how these screens could be incorporated into a positive experience of the space both by day and after dark. 

The design sees the entire underpass transformed into a medium for dynamic content, with low-resolution media screens added to the walls and illuminated slots into the ceiling. 

An abstracted version of the media content flows into the tunnel, becoming a form of light art that envelops users, successfully incorporating the advertising into an immersive brand experience.

At the stadium, a new terrace of steps has become a vertical plane of light that caps the main vista from the boulevard, welcoming visitors in. 

The steps and plazas are lit from rows of projectors mounted vertically on tall masts. 

This is supplemented by integrated handrail lighting, ensuring changing light level and uniformity demands can be met even on crowded match days.

Beneath the steps, a new public space is flooded with natural light from roof lights. As daylight fades, cross lighting into the space simultaneously allows the disc-shaped domes to gently glow, animating the plaza above.

Phased and delivered over time, all three components of the scheme are individually successful. 

As a holistic scheme, the lighting delivers a vibrant and engaging experience for all users of the space, whether they be residents, shoppers or football fans.

The Build Back Better Awards judges described the light as ‘having great visual impact and bringing safety, functionality and beauty’.

Lighting design team: Mark Major, Hiroto Toyoda, Philip Rose, Jaime Fuentes McGreevy, Martin Fiera Alessandri

Artist: Tom and Miriam

Main Suppliers: Urbis Schreder, ewo Lighting, Stoane Lighting, Pharos

Bridge Screen Contractor & Systems Integrator: The Light Lab

Photographs: James Newton, Alex Bland