SELECTED WORK: The WONDERPASS, Baker Street / Marylebone Road, London

The Marylebone Road’s once bleak pedestrian underpass outside Baker Street Station has been transformed into an intriguing Wonderpass.  Gone are the dingy walls and unreliable lighting: in its place is an engaging cultural walkway, offering pedestrians an enlightening way to cross the road.


Part optical illusion, part local encyclopedia, part gallery, The Wonderpass introduces a new kind of urban crossing – one that actually encourages lingering en route.  The walk-through experience includes five Cabinets of Wonder.  Each invites the passer-by to peek inside to learn about Baker Street’s rich cultural history and has been designed in partnership with a local cultural attraction.


The walls, too, are filled with curious facts and local firsts.  Did you know that Madame Tussaud perfected her art making death masks of executed aristocrats during the French Revolution?  Or that Britain’s very first Indian restaurant – the Hindostanee Coffee House - opened here in 1810?  Or that Baker Street was named after one William Baker, the man who built it?  


The Wonderpass has been commissioned by the Baker Street Quarter Partnership and funded by Transport for London and Westminster City Council through the Bryanston & Dorset, Marylebone High Street and Regent’s Park Ward contributions.  Penny Alexander, Chief Executive of the Baker Street Quarter Partnership, says “The Wonderpass provides the magnificent fanfare welcome this area deserves celebrating its fascinating past and showcasing our great attractions.”


Ben Plowden, Director of Surface Strategy and Planning at TfL, said: “The Wonderpass is a fantastic example of maximising the opportunity of essential maintenance and safety improvements to transform a once bleak walkway into a cultural destination in its own right, which matches the rich history of the local area.”


Working in partnership with Sing London, Bigg Design created the overarching concept and detailed design for the Baker Street Wonderpass, based upon themes of Victorian peep shows, showmanship, vintage funfairs and a strong sense of the theatrical. The bold red and white spiral visually distorts the tunnel, whilst providing a novel canvas for the fun facts and innovative display cabinets - the contents of which can be changed over time, ensuring continued interest over time.


Bigg Design was additionally commissioned to design and produce the Baker Street Underground Station display cabinet and peep holes. Revolving around the fact that it was one of the world’s first underground railway stations, we produced a 3D model from a 19th Century engraving of the station, using a mixture of advanced digital manipulation, CAD and physical model making. The models reference Victorian-era dioramas, paper theatre and shadow boxes.

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