RIBA award winning London Overground station staircase lighting 

The challenge

A new look Hackney Wick London Overground station was officially unveiled by Sir Peter Hendy CBE, Chair of Network Rail and the London Legacy Development Corporation, earlier this year, following improvement works undertaken by VolkerFitzpatrick.

Drawing on the area’s industrial heritage, architects Landolt Brown worked closely with artist Wendy Hardie to develop what now stands as an exceptionally successful railway station. The design included a new light and airy ticket hall, new stairwells and lifts to provide easier access to the platforms. To ensure safe passage for commuters, designers decided the staircase lighting should be integrated into the handrail. 

Image credit: Landolt+Brown / Wendy Hardie

Clients and partners


  • Client/Contractor


  • Architect


  • Artist

    Wendy Hardie

  • Consultant

    Mott Macdonald

  • Partner

    Network Rail

Key project requirements

  • Lighting for the internal and external staircases to be integrated into the handrails.
  • 150lux.
  • Lighting for people: help passengers get to their trains quickly, easily and safely.

The solution

The two mirrored staircases (internal and external) to the platforms are both fitted with Garda Aluminium handrail using 4000K asymmetric LED modules. Integrated emergency packs will provide safe operation if ever a power outage occurs.

Garda offers a powerful lighting performance and excellent uniformity through its unique glare-free asymmetric beam (the prismatic lens & reflectors face directly downwards without being angled - as many competing products), making it the optimum choice for public staircases, with high footfall.

Hackney Wick’s bespoke design includes 124m of illuminated handrail and a lower, 132m of non-illuminated handrail, in stainless steel which is looped into the upper rail. Garda is finished in a “not-cold-touch” London Overground ‘Orange’ (RAL 2003). 

Ensuring the integrity of the Transport for London design guidelines were followed and the interest of all stakeholders (the station straddles two London boroughs and three planning authorities), the design achieves 150lux on the stairs.

The outstanding design has been recognised in various awards including a national Royal Institute for British Architects (RIBA) gong for its contribution to architecture as well as a RIBA London award.

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