As little as thirty years ago, the prospect of walking alone at night around the area behind London’s King’s Cross station would have filled me with utter dread. It was a deserted, run-down area where the only ladies to be found walking around there after 8pm were the kind that worked there late at night (if you get my drift), and the only fancy light displays to be seen were red ones shining out of ‘working’ bedroom windows.
Three decades on and King’s Cross is a very different place indeed; inviting open squares, manicured green spaces, posh apartment blocks, canal-side cafes and bars, fancy restaurants, and even a thriving theatre and arts scene… and not a pimp in sight. The area was finally cleaned up and regenerated after it was announced Eurostar services would be redirected from Waterloo International to neighbouring St Pancras station from 2007. A new international terminus was built and the surrounding area was transformed beyond recognition. It is now a clean, safe and family-friendly area where people come day and night to enjoy some of the finest culture and leisure London has to offer. A huge Waitrose store has also recently opened there, showing just how up-market the area has now become (PS – I wasn’t paid in any way by Waitrose, nor asked by them to make that last comment. Honest).
To help showcase the new look King’s Cross – especially to old Londoners like myself who still think of the 1986 movie Mona Lisa in connection with the area – the creative arts group Artichoke have produced Lumiere London, the capital’s first light festival. For fours nights from the 14th of January (2016), fabulous light displays and installations were on show across central London, with most of the pieces found in and around the King’s Cross area. The event was open to all and was absolutely free.
Below are all the installations found around King’s Cross during those four nights. All the other installations making up this delightful festival can be found on two separate posts: the Mayfair & Westminster ones here, and the Piccadilly ones here.
I have made a short YouTube film about the event (apologies, the sound is not great). The footage is automatically cued up next to each of the featured installations listed below. Just press play. However, to start off with here is the film in full. Enjoy x
Dresses (location 24 on the map)
Tae gon KIM
King’s Boulevard, King’s Cross
King’s Cross Tunnel of Light aka Pipette
Allies and Morrison / Speirs + Major
via Pancras Square/King’s Boulevard entrance to the Underground station, King’s Cross
along the Regent’s Canal, between King’s Boulevard and Granary Square
IFO (Identified Flying Object)
Battle Bridge Place, in front of King’s Cross station entrance
Circus of Light
projected onto the Central Saint Martins building, Granary Square
Lewis Cubitt Park
behind the Platform Theatre, Handyside Street
Dresses (location 24a on the map)
Tae gon KIM
Stable Street, King’s Cross
Dresses location 24b on the map can be found in the window of Liberty’s along Great Marlborough Street
Litre of Light
Mick Stephenson, Central Saint Martins Students & MyShelter Foundation
inside Central Saint Martins College, Granary Square
Joining the Dots
projected on a building leading to Pancras Square
along King’s Boulevard
Triton Square, off Euston Road, near Warren Street station
The Piccadilly installations can be found here …
… and the Mayfair & Westminster installations can be seen here