Part of a multi-storey car park in central London will be turned into a free light show for a few days next month. It’s a promotional event for a car maker to show off their new vehicle, but a light show is usually good, and this is also free.

The location is significant as well.

The Poland Street garage, now managed by Q-Park, isn’t just any random multi-storey car park, in fact, it was revolutionary when it opened in 1925. Not that you’d know it, because every multi-storey car park looks like the Poland Street garage, but this one was the first in the UK to do what everyone does now.

That is to have staggered floors with ramps between them that motorists drive up and down.

It’s actually a patented idea invented in America by the engineer Fernand Emile d’Humy and has a formal name – the d’Humy Motoramp. Yes, those otherwise unremarkable ramps in multistory car parks have a specific name. Before the ramps though, the early multi-story car parks tended to use large lifts to get cars between floors and needed staff to use them. Now a motorist could just drive up to the floor they wanted, and no staff required.

This garage opened in 1925 and was promoted as meeting the needs of the theatregoers, and so novel was it that it became a bit of a tourist attraction for motorists. Today it’s less of a tourist attraction, but it’s worth a visit because the entrance ramp still has a number of very early motoring adverts plastered onto the wall.

But – back to the light show.

The event is being put on by Lexus to show off their latest hybrid car and they say that they will create “a series of immersive light environments that each elevate the moments of an everyday underground car park.”

There seems to be a number of light installations that you walk through until the final one where the car is revealed to you with background lights pulsing in time with your own heartbeat.

It might be really good, or maybe not, but it is free to visit, so what not to like?

The Lexus LBX Extraordinary Car Park event runs from Friday 22nd to Sunday 24th September 2023 and tickets can be reserved here.

You can find the Poland Street garage on, umm, Poland Street, which is next to the M&S on Oxford Street, halfway between Oxford Circus and Tottenham Court Road.


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