London lit up more than usual last night with the inaugural Lumiere Light Festival. A four day gala, the city’s iconic architecture is transformed with beautiful, vibrant light displays and installations. It’s curated by Artichoke and is the perfect antidote to beat the January blues. Highlights include:
Neon Dogs, Deepa Mann-Kler
A selection of bright neon balloon-like dogs in the window of Coutts bank on the Strand.
Plastic Islands, Luzinterruptus
Plastic bottles and other light-up litter fill the fountains in Trafalgar Square.
Luminéoles, Porté par le vent
Porté par le vent’s ethereal creatures light up Piccadilly, complete with a charming soundtrack.
Eléphantastic!, Top’ Lá Design
An enormous CGI elephant struggles to fit through the Air Street arch at the south end of Regent Street. You can hear his trumpet on many surrounding streets.
BAFTA (195 Piccadilly), NOVAK
Famous faces from the world of film and television are projected on the facade of BAFTA by animation studio NOVAK. They’re presented in a stunning watercolour style to pay homage to the origins of 195 Piccadilly as the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours.
Shaida Walking (2015), Julian Opie
One of Opie’s iconic walking figure screens lights up Broadwick Street, off Carnaby Street. The piece is a new permament public work and will remain after the festival – good news if you can’t get down this weekend.
Dresses, Taegon KIM
French-Korean artist Taegon KIM has produced three dresses lit up with LEDs, which gradually change colour. Two appear amongst the Kings Cross installations and one shines brightly in Liberty’s windows.
Keyframes, Groupe LAPS
One of our favourites, Groupe LAPS’ neon stick men dance and perform tricks on the front of Liberty House. These images do the scale and creativity of this installation no justice at all, so better check this one out for yourself.
1.8 London, Studio Echelman
Janet Echelman’s enormous net sculpture looms over Oxford Circus. Part sinister, part beautiful, this massive object is controlled by punters who log in to the Lumiere web app, gradually changing through a variety of colours.
Joining the Dots, Cleary Connolly
Our friends at German Gymnasium have been lit up by creative duo Clearly Connolly. Inspired by psychotherapy experiments in the 1970s, Joining the Dots uses the principle that we can recognise human movement from a series of tiny circle formations.
40, three metre panels span the Regents Canal by Central Saint Martins. The panels use electronic waves and mobile phone signals to light up and turn in unison.
Circus of Light, Ocubo
Ocubo’s animations have taken over historic buildings across the globe; as part of Lumiere they’ve drafted the huge Granary building (home of Central Saint Martins). A dazzling circus show with animated performers is the largest exhibit during the festival.
Litre of Light, Mick Stephenson
With support from Central Saint Martins and the MyShelter Foundation, Mick Stephenson’s installation reminds us that for many, light is a luxury. Turning bottles into homemade lights using water and bleach, Litre of Light explores new, sustainable techniques and offers a poignant message during the festivities.
Spectra-3, a space-age sculpture, reacts to movement around it, following participants and creating unique light patterns with the use of spotlights and mirrors. It’s a lot more compelling than it looks; we spent a fair bit of time watching this alien construction sense its guests and rotate accordingly.
Diver, Ron Haselden
In contrast, Ron Haselden’s Diver makes a big, playful splash. The childlike figures are drawn by primary school students.
Light Graffiti, Floating Pictures
Guests are invited to graffiti the floor with Floating Pictures’ lightsaber-like wands – you can draw and paint on King’s Boulevard.
Pipette, Speirs + Major
A permanent public footway, the Kings Cross tunnel connects with neighbouring St Pancras International station, and is the perfect way to end the festival when making your way home.
There’s lots more to see at Lumiere London that we couldn’t pack in to one night! To find out more information and download the map, visit the website.