PhiLux: Love of Light - CODAworx

PhiLux: Love of Light

Submitted by Ray King


Client: Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority

Location: Philadelphia, PA, United States

Completion date: 2019

Artwork budget: $225,000

Project Team


Ray King

Ray King Studio


Vladislav Vershinin

Ray King Studio


PhiLux, 2019, SEPTA City Hall Station, Philadelphia, PA
Commissioned by the SouthEastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority
28 Light boxes 8” x 6’ x 4”, LED Lights, Chromatic Glass, Stainless Steel
28 stainless steel illuminated structures clad the support columns on the subway platform. Each box contains a triple-laminated glass panel that shows a portion (or sliver) of a map of Philadelphia with streets and grids shown in a variety of color and holographic laminate films.


In designing PhiLux, Ray King was inspired by geometric elegance of the City of Philadelphia’s physical layout. Envisioned by William Penn as a Greene Country Towne, he took historic maps of Philadelphia and abstracted the geometry; identified the wards by color and then saturated and graduated the colors within each section. The large map was then sliced into 7 vertical strips, to distribute the imagery to the 7 columns. While walking the platform, the patterns and colors of two of the columns will align at one time and this will continue for a participatory experience.

King chose a map dating to 1910 as the primary source -- it shows the city’s development into an industrial center. In 1907 the Market Elevated Line opened to transport riders from 69th Street to the Delaware River. The imagery on the columns follows the route and the surrounding city fabric at that time. Additionally, the map is broken up to relate to the path of the train and the station platform. The columns on the Westbound side of the station shows the maps of the city’s western sections, while columns on the Eastbound side show maps of the eastern sections.


Adding color, luminosity and vibrancy to the commuter experience at SEPTA’s 15th Street Station, PhiLux: “Love of Light” consists of 28 illuminated, laminated chromatic glass and stainless steel reflector panels that clad the station’s central columns – two panels per column, 14 columns total, seven columns on each side of the platform.

The glass panels are laminated with colored and holographic film, and illuminated from behind with LED strip lighting. The glass and stainless steel panels are constructed as sealed units that fit into SEPTA’s stainless steel column surrounds. Each panel consists of one layer of 3/8” thick glass, and two layers of 3/16” glass sheets, laminated with EVA interlayer; total ¾” thick - the outer glass panel is tempered for extra-strength, and coated with a protective scratch-resistant layer of 3M anti-scratch Mylar film.

The illuminated light columns, and the luminosity of the color films that differentiate the wards, are intensified by internal stainless reflectors. In addition, the city street grids and the parks’ walkways are identified by holographic film that interacts with light to create a brilliant specular reflection of light and color. The holographic effect is especially dramatic when illuminated by the moving headlights of incoming trains.