Illuminated River was conceived by American artist Leo Villareal in collaboration with London-based architecture practice, Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands, each of the five bridges will be illuminated with a site-specific light artwork that has been sensitively developed, paying attention to heritage, wildlife and the built environment to create something exceptional.
The installations will transform the river by night, celebrating and highlighting the important role that the London bridges continue to play on the capital’s global identify and the important artery routes that link both parts of London.
The lighting is on every night from just before dusk until 2am, with lighting that moves softly, with every single bridge having a different algorithm designed to never repeat.
As a free outdoor art project, Illuminated River can be enjoyed by all, offering a much-needed ‘real life’ cultural experience in the city with no need to wait, pay or pre-book.
The second phase planned for Spring 2021 will illuminate five Central London bridges (Blackfriars, Waterloo, Westminster, Golden Jubilee Footbridges and Lambeth), in addition to the four bridges illuminated in 2019 (London, Cannon Street Railway, Southwark and Millennium).
Interesting, as a direct result and benefit of this public art commission, there has already been a significant reduction in energy use compared to previous bridge lighting, using a combination of LED fittings and reduced hours of illumination.
The Illuminated River public art commission will be in place for ten years, and once complete, will be the longest public art commission in the world.