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Lift 109, Battersea Power Station

London, England

Battersea Power Station (BPS) opened to the public in October 2022, almost 40 years after it was decommissioned in 1983. Following 8 years of restoration, the Grade II* landmark is now an exciting retail, leisure, and residential destination. RAA was appointed to design a cutting-edge, immersive exhibition within the station’s Turbine Hall A, which honors BPS’s heritage and acts as an introduction to the “Lift 109” — a one-of-a-kind experience taking visitors 109 meters to the top of one of the Station’s chimneys.

RAA conceived a visitor experience that weaves together narratives of architectural innovation, industrial power, and popular culture. Center stage in the exhibition is a large, multiplayer interactive table, paired with a dynamic lighting installation evocative of a turbine. Visitors can learn how energy was generated and controlled at BPS — which once produced one fifth of the city’s electricity. They then enter an interactive 360-degree media space before ascending to the pinnacle of the chimney for astonishing panoramic views over London. At the summit, visitors can engage with a graphic ring and QR code-activated AR technology to reveal information about iconic city landmarks.

RAA’s design principles derived from BPS’s role as an industrial and cultural powerhouse. Industrial materials and tones recall the look and feel of the working station, while the sleek circular turbines and Art Deco interiors inspired the exhibition’s sleek setworks, dynamic lighting installations, and decorative inlays. Both large- and small-scale artifacts from the original station were incorporated, bringing an authentic element to the exhibition. Graphically, RAA’s bespoke primary typeface, inspired by the view up the chimney shaft, embodies the magic of rising up inside the iconic chimneys, giving the experience a 21st-century twist. The secondary typography was drawn from typefaces found throughout the Power Station, staying authentic to historic visual textures.

Size 6,458 square-feet

Year 2022

Project Details

AVHSysco

LightingMichael Grubb

PM & QSFraser Randall

Security and MEPSteensen Varming

Independent researchJonathan Clarke

Media Design Input and ProductionSquint Opera

OperatorsIMG

Lift DesignOTIS (Main Lift) and Schindler (Express)

FabricationBeck

Mechanical interactiveFrozen Fish

AwardsRed Dot Award: Winner, Exhibition Design

Photography Andrew Lee, Joshua Atkins