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King’s Cross tunnel transformed into light installation


From March pedestrians using the King’s Cross tunnel in London will be greeted by ‘Halflife’, an immersive light installation created by award-winning design practice Speirs + Major.

Known as Halflife, the installation is a site specific work using the medium of light to synthesise a digital journey through light and colour. Creating an experiential and dynamic adjunct to the moving traffic that inhabits the space on a daily basis – an evolutionary experience where no one moment is ever the same.


Built upon a construct of digital, ordered cycles building from light to dark and beginning with bold, dramatic steps gradually becoming calmer until they dissolve ghost like – leaving just a trace of the light that has been – before the sequence resets itself to reveal an altogether new cycle.


The installation forms around British physicist Ernest Rutherford’s principal of decay, ‘Half-life (t1⁄2)’. The concept being that visitors may witness the changing cycles of growth and deterioration through light and colour.


Within the tunnel’s 90m-glazed wall are concealed 180 sources that work together to create a rich palette of animated colour. Each of the sources consists of five individual elements: red, green and blue light, complemented by warm and cool white. These then are carefully blended together to create a wide variety of hues, tones and saturations.


Whilst, the juxtapositions of light and dark, order and chaos, past and present, peaceful and energetic are possible to observe in one viewing, the gradual evolution of hue and saturation are only recognisable across the piece’s entire duration, creating a new
experience on each journey and even each footstep.

Keith Bradshaw, principal at Speirs + Major, said: “We have designed Halflife so that no two moments in the tunnel will be experienced the same. Each visitor will have their own perception of time and distance, immersed in light, dark and colour.”

Halflife will be available to view daily from 6 March, King’s Cross tunnel, London, England,

Images courtesy of James Newton

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March 4, 2015 | Design | View comments

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