St Helen's Square

St Helen's Square
Light and shadow interplay for a London City thoroughfare

St. Helen’s Square is nestled deep in the heart of London’s primary financial district; it operates as a major thoroughfare amidst the iconic architecture of 30 St. Marys Axe and the Lloyds Building, in juxtaposition with the Leadenhall entrance.

StudioFractal have collaborated with competition winning landscape architects, 'Gillespies', to transform what was once a lacklustre public space, into an atmospheric meeting point for busy city dwellers and visitors alike.

Meticulously crafted lighting enhances the architects exquisitely formed urban design with its sinuous curving stone seating and pocket zones of park-like comfort.

Moving through the undulating landscape, you are instinctively drawn to the engaging movement of small points of light. Designed to mimic the natural swaying dance of the surrounding vegetation, these bespoke light-reed fixtures fill the area with an elegant playfulness. Warm pools of light inspire a feeling of safety; spilling from beneath the curved-stone seating, illuminated handrails guiding travellers across steps, giving safe passage through.

Providing much of the ambient lighting across this 3,325m open space (the third largest in London) are three tapered steel columns, each housing a set of theatrical gobo luminaires. Light projectors cast leaf-like patterns onto the stone paving, softening the hard landscape with hints of nature in dappled light. The tallest column stands proud at 18-metres tall, embellished with a spiralling finish marking the historical presence of a medieval maypole that once stood in its place.

StudioFractal have designed a lighting scheme which adds ambience and character whilst creating minimal impact on the daytime scene. Low energy integrated LED luminaires, secreted from view, offer longevity and minimal long-term maintenance. The exciting transformation of this historic square encourages a flurry of activity; from an established stopover point for hard-working city folk to an environment of suitable elegance to hold events and exhibitions. With a unique and dynamic character, St Helen’s Square boasts an elegance that’s befitting of its prestigious and pivotal location.

Photography by James Newton