Public Light Art In LondonBack to all
January 19th, 2018
For four days, Lumiere London transforms the capital into a dazzling display of light art, reimagining the city’s streets and buildings into spectacular works of art. But once the festival is over, not all the lights go out. There is plenty of light art to enjoy with these pieces which, as well as forming part of the Lumiere London celebrations, can be enjoyed all year long.
Shaida Walking by Julian Opie, Broadwick Street
Situated just off the iconic and bustling shopping area of Carnaby Street, Julian Opie’s LED display of a woman walking on the spot first premiered at Lumiere London in 2016 where it was an immediate hit. It now stands as a permanent legacy to the city’s light festival, delighting shoppers, workers and visitors in the area. Opie is one of Britain’s most popular and influential artists, whose work can be found in galleries including the Tate Modern, the V&A, the National Portrait Gallery, New York’s MoMA and ICA Boston. He used light and animation to create the piece, which he wanted “to stride endlessly as a living drawing and as part of the crowd.”
IFO (Identified Flying Object) by Jacques Rival, Battle Bridge Place
French artist and architect Jacques Rival aims to add a touch of the unexpected to everyday life with his playful urban installations. With IFO, that element of surprise is a nine metre tall birdcage just a stone’s throw from King’s Cross station. By day, the giant structure glows white as it stores up energy, before coming alive after dark in an array of neon colours. The public can pass between the bars to enter the cage and explore, and play on the swing at its centre. First appearing as part of public art programme REPLAY in 2011, it is now a permanent part of the Central London landscape and on special occasions the cage is hoisted into the air to light up the night sky.
Lightbench by Bernd Spieker for LBO LichtBankObjekte, Weighhouse Street
Public benches don’t often command a second glance — but Bernd Spiecker’s Lightbench, perched on a Mayfair street and illuminated with glass light beams that regularly change colour, is a new take on public seating, intended to make people stop and get them talking. German artist Spiecker installed his first Lightbench in Berlin in 2011 as part of the city’s Festival Of Lights. He aims to build 100 all over the world in the hope they will encourage passers by to strike up a conversation with a stranger — while also allowing them to take the weight off their weary feet.
Thames Pulse by Jason Bruges, Mondrian Hotel
This striking installation on the facade of the iconic Sea Containers building on London’s South Bank not only illuminates the Thames, it also educates both Londoners and visitors on what lies beneath the river’s surface. Each day one of three different coloured light patterns is displayed, depending on the condition of the water that day — whether improving, static or declining. Created by artist Jason Bruges, it supports Thames21, a waterways charity that informs people on how they can help keep the city’s water healthy.
Bough 1 by Simon Corder, Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf
Tubes of fluorescent light climb the walls of Oxo Tower Wharf like branches of LED ivy in Simon Corder’s Bough 1, enlivening a building that is home to housing, shops, studios and restaurants. “We are delighted to have had the opportunity as part of Lumiere London to contribute to refurbishment of Simon Corder’s Bough 1 installation on the side of Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf,” says Louise King, Director of Communications, Coin Street Community Builders, who own and manage the building and first installed the work in 2004. “Public light installations like Bough 1 have helped us with establishing Oxo Tower Wharf firmly on the map as a design destination, and piquing people’s interest in the space and our wide range of exhibitions and events that take place inside the building.” This is one of three in Corder’s Bough series, the second of which is in Glasgow and the third will premiere as a brand new commission for this year’s Lumiere London 2018 on Mayfair’s South Audley Street.
The Plug and Bulbs by James Glancy Design, Ganton Street
Stroll down Soho’s Ganton Street and you’ll be greeted with the unusual sight of a giant plug socket, a feature of the area since it was installed in 2005. The plug lights up each night, and often changes colour and design. On the same street, the sight of 51 oversized lightbulbs hanging from the sky gives people a shopping experience they will never get online. The creative agency behind both pieces, James Glancy Design, aims to disrupt our routine, turning everyday environments into something a little more special. For Lumiere London 2018, both pieces will have a specially developed light show.