Internationally Renowned Artists Selected to Put Gloucester’s Kings Square in the Spotlight


Two internationally-renowned architecture, art and design studios have been appointed to help transform Gloucester’s Kings Square as part of multi-million pound proposals to regenerate the area.


Gloucester City Council put out two tenders to search for artists in March; one to design new space around the edge of the square and the other for the creation of an exciting new approach to lighting Kings Square.

A total of 33 submissions were received and George King Architects (GKA) whose founder hails from the city, were successfully selected to design the space around the square.

GKA, which works with architecture, art and design to create unique pieces, have been behind such heartfelt work as the Sousse and Bardo memorial to the victims of the 2015 terrorist attacks in Tunisia, as well as the ‘One Thousand Thank Yous’ gold heart hanging installation in the entrance atrium of the Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.

Further afield, they have designed a collaborative piece called the ‘Centipede Cinema’ commissioned by the 2012 European Capital of Culture Guimarães in Portugal.

George King, Principal at GKA said: “As a designer born in Gloucester with lots of happy memories visiting the square as a child, I understand the important role the square plays in the life of the city. We are excited to create something memorable that the people of Gloucester can be proud of and that will delight locals and visitors alike. This is a very exciting time for the city and we are grateful for the opportunity to play a part in the ambitious Kings Quarter improvement works.”

Multi award-winning Michael Grubb Studio, which has worked with world-wide brands including Amazon, McLaren and LUSH on lighting public spaces, stadia, installations and interactive projects has been selected to create a unique and inspiring lighting design for Kings Square.

Their portfolio includes exterior lighting schemes for Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and Pier Approach in Bournemouth as well as the temporary installation ‘Gardens of Light’ also in Bournemouth, to boost its winter tourist appeal. 

As well as working across the UK and Europe, the studio has also undertaken lighting strategies and masterplans for large developments in Russia, Egypt and Morocco.

Michael Grubb, Creative Director at Michael Grubb Studio said: “We are very excited to be able to take part in the creation of a unique scheme that will re-imagine and transform the Square taking into account its history and providing an engaging and exciting experience by day and by night.” 

Now both studios will begin working on a selection of different designs and concepts for Kings Square set to delight, inspire residents and visitors and create a sense of place and community.

The Kings Quarter Art Commissioning panel - made up of councillors and officers, the project manager of Gingko Projects and other key figures from local cultural and community organisations -selected the winning companies and will work closely with them to guide the work.

The preferred design from each practice will be presented to the panel in July.

The selected art work and lighting design will fit around the reinstated fountains, which will include arcs of water, coloured lighting and mist effects, inspired by the River Severn, with different computer-controlled jet patterns.

Leader of Gloucester City Council, Councillor Paul James, said: “Both of these practices are dynamic and exciting, with a brilliant portfolio and a great understanding of exactly the sort of concept we are looking for.

“We can’t wait to see the ideas and designs that will create a new feature embedded into the square and stunning uses of lighting – both of which will be unique to Gloucester and its history. We know it will capture the imagination of the local community, enhance the new public realm and create a positive identity for Kings Square.”

Funding for the transformation of the square has recently been approved by Gloucester City Council. This is part of the overall Kings Quarter redevelopment project which has been submitted for planning permission by Gloucester City Council. If successful, it will see a more modern development, including 150 homes, 40,000 sq ft of office space and a new multi-storey car park.