The project provided an opportunity to completely transform the area to meet the demands of the town centre, both now and for many years to come.
Stockton’s recent history recognises its role as the ‘North East’s Capital of Street Arts’. Stockton International Riverside Festival (SIRF) has created an important signature and personality for the town. One of the major aims of the High Street regeneration was to improve the quality of the experience for shoppers, visitors, and to local businesses.
The main ethos behind the scheme was to create an environment that, through the delivery of a great public space in the town centre, would attract people in, inspire them to spend longer in the space, to interact with others and to engage with elements within the space, and thus add to the vitality and vibrancy of the town.
The council initially commissioned Stainton Lighting Design Services Ltd (SLDS) in 2013 to undertake a critique of a lighting solution that had been submitted by a lighting manufacturer. It became quickly clear that the proposed solution was in essence a more modern version of the existing lighting scheme (but utilising white light High Intensity Discharge lamps), and with a large number of lighting units that was ‘at odds’ with the vision for a modern clutter-free public realm. It offered very little to the aesthetics of the built environment with no ability to create a differing experience to shoppers or visitors.
In addition to the original commission SLDS were asked to work with the council on creating a lighting master plan for the High Street project and also to provide a lighting feasibility study for the project which would eventually lead on to full lighting/electrical design for the complete High Street scheme.
When discussing the requirements and aspirations of the master plan it was clearly evident that the new lighting scheme should have the ability of creating differing user experiences via the use of colours and patterns and capture the spirit of the SIRF festival. The main key elements that were incorporated into the master plan were:
In addition to this, concepts for additional bespoke lighting installations were to be explored which could be implemented as part of the public realm scheme.