Illuminating Christchurch Gardens

Christchurch Gardens adjacent to Victoria Street and Broadway in the City of Westminster is a former burial site and dates back hundreds of years. Christ Church was destroyed by bombing in the Second World War and the churchyard was opened as a public space in the 1950s and it has been maintained by Westminster City Council ever since.

Recently, the Victoria Business Improvement District (VBID) spearheaded a project to transform the site to create a more welcoming, biodiverse public space, working closely with Westminster City Council Officers.

After a tender process earlier this year we were commissioned by Victoria BID to join the project team working on the regeneration of Christchurch Gardens. The team already included Gardner & Theobald and the Landscape Architect, ReardonSmith Landscape LLP who designed the new garden and public space. tothepoint were commissioned to design the history panel and site sign graphics and look at how a series of gobos (spotlight features) could be used in the space at night. Working with the appointed contractors, the site is now finished and the illuminations are well worth a visit at night.

The history panels

It was important that our design of the history panel (fabricated as a large circa 2m x 4m bespoke build system) conveyed the fascinating story of the site to visitors, providing them with a richer garden experience. The history of the site was reflected in our design solutions and was a combination of interlocking graphics comprised of interesting characters from its past, the impact of the wartime period on the site, political activities that originated in the area and illustrations of flora and fauna.

The key challenge was actually from a production perspective. We needed to ensure that our design solutions not only attracted and enticed people to the site, but could be reproduced based on the limitations of the signage printing process. Colours had to be applied as singular pantone references (no more than 6) which were screen printed on the base metal material, whilst imagery was applied over the top as durable, large format, crystal powder-coated transfers.

The other key challenge was designing and producing the panels at a time when the height of the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions had kicked in with limited testing and printing resources available. The team pulled together and delivered!

The gobos

In conjunction with the history panel and site sign designs we also produced designs for the gobos that were distributed around the site. These are basically high level multi-directional spotlights that can project a singular graphic based on simple glass stencilled shapes we needed to create. The stencils themselves were based on flora that related to the garden. These stencils were tested extensively before the chosen designs were installed. Designs included foliage, trees and species of plants and they take on a magical shimmering effect when projected on the pathways, reacting to the texture and material below. The images directly below are the final artworks that were used to create the glass stencils. Below this is our photography of the various visual tests that were undertaken one cold evening in October. The final images are now being produced and these will hopefully replace the test images over the coming weeks. These images will also be rotated for spring and summer.


David Beamont of Victoria Business Improvement District said:

“The history panel and site sign engage visitors to Christchurch Gardens in new ways whilst the light projections offer a delightful visual experience at night. Collectively the designs enrich peoples’ experience of this historic and important area of greenspace in Victoria.”


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Richard Rogers of Gardiner & Theobold added:

“Christchurch Gardens has been a fantastic project to be involved in and extremely satisfying overseeing the transformation of what was an unloved corner of Victoria. The project team have worked extremely well together to deliver the entire works package through the COVID 19 pandemic with no discernible issues or delays. The Gardens will be greatly appreciated by the people living and working in Victoria as well as visitors to London for many years to come.”
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