Design brings £100m Kings Place to fruition

The much anticipated £100m London arts and music venue Kings Place opens officially to the public this week, the culmination of a raft of interiors, signage, branding and environmental design projects.

The development, which lies in the heart of one of London’s largest regeneration sites, will house the capital’s first purpose-built concert hall since 1982, as well as two galleries, sculpture courts, cafés, restaurants and office space.

Branding for the venue, created by Spring House Design, along with signage by Together Design and Trickett Associates, launched earlier this year. Architectural and interiors elements such as the building’s red glass colour scheme are reflected in the logo, while signage throughout the development – including bronze directory panels – takes its cue from the statues in the Pangolin sculpture gallery (DW 1 May).

The developer behind Kings Place, Parabola Land, awarded architect Dixon Jones the contract to fashion the building’s interior as well as the structure, following a competition in 2001 from which three groups were shortlisted out of a total of 12. Each of the three was given £20 000 for their creative work.

The structure, located 150m from King’s Cross St Pancras station, will feature two auditoriums, practice rooms and teaching rooms, to house the London Sinfonietta and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

Key interior design features include the extensive use of oak veneer throughout the main and second halls, with panels, roof coffers, backs of seats, doors and desks throughout the main hall fashioned from just one 500-year-old German oak tree, according to Dixon Jones partner Jeremy Dixon.

In the second hall, oak veneer features mainly on panelling. Arup has provided expertise and direction on the acoustics, as well as lighting.

Managing director of Parabola Land Peter Millican wanted to create a significant public space. It is important to ‘offer a service to the community’ in a scheme like this and that it ‘should be built around transport links’, says Millican.

This has been realised in part by creating a public area with bespoke seating by Italian specialist Deko, as well as a café and two restaurants. A public art gallery will display abstract sculptures.

Office space has been built above the public areas and auditoriums. The Guardian newspaper will be among the new tenants, occupying a space designed by TP Bennett.

Kings Place opens officially on 1 October with a five-day festival of celebrations.

PLACE SETTING

• Branding created by Spring House Design

• Signage by London consultancy Together Design and Trickett Associates

• Dixon Jones designed interior and environmental elements

• The project was debt funded by Parabola Land through a bank

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