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Friday 03 December 2021 , Royal Terrace Gardens

At Royal Terrace Gardens, Inspired by Local Heritage and Nature

The scheme at the gardens is called Lightplay and is based on idea of extending the sunset, with the aim of promoting a sense of health and happiness - very fitting for Torbay’s civic motto ‘salus et felicitas’. This has been reflected through the warmer colour choices used throughout the scheme. Designs within the new lighting columns are playful motifs inspired by the bay’s natural and local heritage. The public consultation, at the start of the project, resulted in themes being suggested that celebrated the bay’s UNESCO designation and exceptional environment, and the rich local heritage. Lightplay’s overall aspiration is to encourage people to enjoy, and be inspired by, the gardens.

Local connections and collaboration in practice

Improvements include new lighting columns with designs inspired by Torbay’s local heritage - including the work of scientist Amelia Griffiths (1768–1858) who became an internationally renowned collector of seaweeds, and geologist William Pengelly (1812-94) who excavated Kent’s Cavern and was founder of Torquay Museum. Alongside the new columns, repairs to existing lighting, replacement spotlights, and a new colour scheme for the staircases have been completed.

Lightplay was funded as part of the Torquay Towns Fund investment from the government’s Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities.

The works are a collaboration between numerous partners including Torbay Council, TDA, Drew & Co, Torbay Culture and SWISCo

Michael Grubb Studio led the overall concept and lighting design, with Anouk Mercier providing the surface design for the columns through partnership working with Torquay Museum. The museum is home to important collections of material relating to Griffiths and Pengelly. Lightplay curator and producer was Ginkgo Projects; and South Devon College student placements were involved in the creative process.


Seaweed collected by Amelia Griffiths from the collections in Torquay Museum.

Seaweed collected by Amelia Griffiths from the collections in Torquay Museum.