Bringing quality finishes and a true empathy for public cultural spaces back to travel architecture, the team has designed a streamlined destination environment for international rail travel at St Pancras International Station.
The brief from Eurostar to Arup and Land Design Studio was to design a series of showpiece interiors for the customer service areas in the transformed and extended historic St Pancras Station an area amounting to 7,000m2. Designed in collaboration, these areas included the International Departures and Arrivals Lounges, International Ticket Hall and Business Premier Lounge creating a new paradigm of quality and service for International rail travel.
The project was highly complex, including satisfying a number of interested parties, such as heritage groups. Furthermore, we had to integrate into an existing masterplan and engineering resolution created by the consortium responsible for the delivery of the entire railway system of which St Pancras was a small part.
Our initial work encompassed a full multidisciplinary approach including passenger flow analysis. The detailed design stages were undertaken in collaboration with Land Design Studio, whose objective was to bring a sense of experience to the various environments born out of the differing needs of the passengers.
In a wider context the design was carried out in close consultation with English Heritage at all design stages.
7,000m2 of renovated space
Grade 1listed building
6mgrand helical staircase
The passenger experience
Our task was to create an efficient and comfortable experience that encourages passengers to use the services again. Check in, security and passport control functions were designed to be as compressed as possible, so that the area available for passenger waiting for embarkation in the Departure lounge could be maximized. The column spacing naturally created a series of aisles, leading from the Check in and Security to the retail, providing good visibility between both. Waiting areas were arranged as a series of individual lounges, defined by the layout and style of furniture located off these aisles.
The Business Premier Lounges occupy a two storey linear space, forming part of the east façade of St Pancras, overlooks St Pancras Road and Kings Cross Station on the eastern edge to the Main Departures Lounge. The fit-out of the lounges incorporated furniture celebrating contemporary British design and were designed by the team as bespoke items. Wall paneling incorporates regularly updating departure information and interactive media installations, involving Eurostar’s partner input from The National Gallery and Google, contribute to a high quality, relaxed club like atmosphere.
Originally designed in 1868 by William Henry Barlow, the station had a number of unique features including cast iron column and arched roof that had to be carefully considered as part of the design process. As these spaces were unique and dramatic to begin with, our tasks as designers was to embrace the existing interiors and to imbue them with functionality and comfort whilst enhancing their strong architectural personalities, that reflected positively on the Eurostar brand. We were very keen on keeping as much of the original fabric exposed as possible, and where new elements were introduced, keeping a breathing space between the old and new. The palette of materials was restricted to those that would complement the historic surfaces of red brickwork, cast iron and painted timber. The palette consisted of gloss lacquer paneling, stainless steel, low iron glass, low iron glass mirror, acid etched low iron glass, tinted glass, hardwoods and leather.
The main feature in the reception space is a grand helical stair rising 6.0m from the entrance hall to the upper lounge level. Designed as a freestanding and sculptural element to entice passengers into the upper lounge. To the side and in a glass enclosure is a lift that performs the same purpose for the disabled and passengers with luggage.
The Eurostar staircase has been designed in stainless steel with curved laminated glass balustrades. Hardwood flooring continues up the stairs with the caprice of the stainless steel nosing marquetry of the stair spelling out the words ‘Eurostar’ in Morse code.