Waterloo: Illuminating Local History

25 July 2018

The Project:

The urban landscape of Waterloo is defined by the network of vaulted railway arches and tunnels. We were commissioned by Lambeth Council to work with lighting designers Michael Grubb Studio and local people to enliven two of these tunnels, with projections exploring the area’s journey from rural marshland to bustling entertainment district.

Process:

Historical Cartography

We began by researching the history of the area. The Lambeth Archives have reams of amazing old maps (let’s face it – who doesn’t love an old map!). We were struck by how just glancing at these beautiful objects in sequence you could see the changing landscape and social functions of the area as the density shifted over time. Both the form and content of these maps were the basis for our co-design workshops.

Co-design workshops for all ages

We developed a series of workshops using the maps as inspiration for the artwork and an overhead projector to instantly show how the designs would look as light installations. The OHP was particularly exciting for the school children who had never seen such a thing.

In our session with Oasis Johanna Primary the students acted as archaeologists in order to identify features on the maps which they turned into paper-cut artefacts.

With Oasis Academy Southbank and adult learners at Morley College, students took different approach, using tape and stickers to create bold graphic patterns based on the forms of the maps themselves.

We used the printed maps to create a custom set of festive paper-cut snowflakes with the Friends of Archbishops park parent and toddler group to create a festive set of alternative projections for Carlisle Lane.

Outputs:

Local people of all ages helped create more than 40 projections. These run along Carlisle Lane and Westminster Bridge Road, transforming once dingy underpasses into bold, abstract timelines. Celebration events were held with the opening of the artwork on each tunnel with the latter of which launched to coincide with the Lumiere Festival London.

Timeline
April 2017 – January 2018

Client
Lambeth Council | Michael Grub Studio

Feedback:

“I had a lot of fun on this project working with Catherine and the team again to make an ordinary project a joyful project.

make:good were really thorough in their research of the local area and were able to run some really fun and educational workshops for pupils at Oasis Academy and Johanna Primary School.  The sessions were really well tailored for children mixing in arts and crafts with history, geography and a bit of show and tell.  People make projects and with participation being a core part of what make:good do this scheme will be remembered not just for its use of technology, but for its community engagement.”

Steve Wong | Lambeth Council / PWLC projects