Winter Windows at The Department Store

Parent taking picture of child in front of window

The Department Store windows of architects Squire & Partners on Ferndale Road lit up for the festivities yesterday. This year Winter Windows 2019, an eight-window illuminated installation, was created by students from Brixton’s Lansdowne School working with architects and model makers from the practice.

The launch at The Department Store on Friday 29 November, was attended by the Deputy Mayor of Lambeth Philip Normal and a children’s choir from Corpus Christi school.

Corpus Christi choir
Corpus Christi choir

Sixteen students from Lansdowne School – who live with a range of communication and learning difficulties – were joined by their families and school governors to see their sketches and ideas come to life.

Over the course of two workshops run by the architecture practice, students were challenged to create interactive winter shapes using a continuous line of light, in which the human body could take centre stage.

Pupils and other participants in front of the windows
Pupils and other participants in front of the windows

The final designs include a superhero cape, reindeer antlers, fairy queen wings and a musical microphone.

Now in its third year, Winter Windows is a collaboration between a group of local school-aged children and designers from Squire and Partners. Previous schools were Stockwell Primary in 2017 and Hill Mead Primary in 2018.


The first workshop at Lansdowne School introduced the students to the concept of designing abstract shapes based around emotions or senses such as excitement, light or cold.

Children explored these alongside more traditional winter symbols such as presents, trees and gloves, drawing with pencils on paper and testing out the ideas with a ‘line of light’.

Lansdowne head Jonathan Juckes addresses the crowd of parents and other supporters
Lansdowne head Jonathan Juckes addresses the crowd of parents and other supporters

A second workshop in Squire and Partners’ making room focussed on testing ideas and working up a final design.

Students were asked to refine their idea to one continuous line, which didn’t cross over itself or have any sharp angles.  The children presented their final idea on a sheet of A4 paper.

The winning designs

A panel of judges from Squire and Partners selected eight designs varying from rainbows to monsters!

A spokesperson for Squire and Partners said: “Occupying an entire glazing panel along the street, each bespoke light is made by the practice’s modelshop team using a sheet of Perspex with a coloured LED light set into a CNC cut channel.  This way the students’ sketches are transformed into physical light installations, exactly as they were drawn.”

Deputy mayor Philip Normal
Deputy mayor Philip Normal
Appluse as the lights go on
Applause as the lights go on

Jonathan Juckes, Head of Lansdowne School said:  “As a school we strive to create good community links for the benefit of our children. We have been tremendously excited to work in collaboration with Squire & Partners to design their Winter Windows.

“Through this partnership, our students had the opportunity to create their own winter light design, inspired by the warmth and support of our community, and proudly watch their creativity come to life in the form of these strands of light.

“Our students, many of whom are on the autistic spectrum or have other learning difficulties, deserve the chance to be a full part of the Brixton community and to one day contribute to their own social and economic wellbeing. With the help of companies like Squire & Partners we can light the way for them.”