North Lanarkshire Council commissioned Bigg Design and Zero-Waste Design to deliver an exciting project that saw the regeneration of an underpass in Cumbernauld with stunning lighting and mural designs.
Working with local school pupils and engaging with members of the community, we developed a design that transforms the experience of using the underpass (previously a dark, intimidating area subject to vandalism) into an inspiring, unique journey that feels bright, airy and welcoming.
Murals on the underpass walls celebrate scenes from the local landscape of Cumbernauld and include a mixture of people, parks, wildlife, and architecture, whilst the LED lighting slowly changes hue over the course of the night to symbolise the colourful lighting transitions from day to night to day. A large group of pupils were involved in the creation of the mural, which has enabled them to have a sense of ownership of the space that they pass on their daily journey to school.
Energy efficiency was a key priority and through the use of innovative lighting, the whole underpass only consumes the equivalent of 6 typical domestic incandescent light bulbs. Carbon emissions were further reduced by specifying aluminium housings (a readily recycled and recyclable material); and using local manufacturers (LEDtek and Scott Associates) which also stimulated local economic activity.
Throughout the project we worked with students from St Maurice’s High School and introduced them to a real-life design process. We started with site research, mapping of the local area, interviews of local people, understanding user experiences and how we could change it for the better. We then introduced the students to a range of design and artistic inspiration, along with research into the cultural and historical highlights of the local area. This led to brainstorming, sketching, and prototyping of ideas with the use of physical model making and computer techniques. Testing ideas out on members of the community, we refined a series of concepts down to a stunning final design that had great local ownership.
“This project was targeted at Senior School students of Art and of Graphic Design. Hamish [Bigg Design] and his colleague developed the project exactly as I would envisage a Senior School Curriculum for Excellence project going in the future. They linked aspects of Sociology, Human Behaviour Theory, Art, Science and Engineering in a meaningful way which took a project from the ideas stage to the drawing board and to its fruition materially present in the local community….They listened to the students’ original ideas, led them with design advice to an understanding of the complexity of their project to create a bright, safe underpass which local people would want to walk through and, in the end, supported them to make this a reality.”Laurence Byrne, Head Teacher
Bigg Design took responsibility for making the ambitious concept a reality and work included design + detailing of bespoke lighting and custom-made vandal-resistant housing, sourcing of manufacturers, materials and components, overseeing manufacture, mural design and ensuring successful site installation.
CLIENT: North Lanarkshire Council
Bigg Design(design and project management)
Zero-Waste Design(design collaboration)
Pupils and teachers from St Maurice’s High School (joint concept and mural painting)
LEDtek Lighting Ltd(Bespoke LED lighting)
Scott Associates(Bespoke fabrication of lighting units)
IMAGE CREDIT: Bigg Design
Wonderful! And involving students – great move!! Imagine how that will stay in their memories. It’s an inspiration to merge beauty with utilitarian spaces.