A New Art Project Will See London Bridges Illuminated

Art & Culture

Bridges across the Thames will become illuminated artworks after New York based artist Leo Villareal wins £20 million commission.

Villareal, the man behind The San Francisco Bay Bridge’s much lauded light fixtures, will be working with British architects and urban planners Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands on a new project that will see 17 bridges across London’s River Thames being lit up as works of art. The project will be the UK’s largest ever public art commission.

The Illuminated River project will be a permanent fixture stretching six nautical miles from Tower Bridge to Albert Bridge. The winning concept, entitled ‘Current’, came out on top from a shortlist of six. There had been 105 applications for the commission, an idea originally put forward Hannah Rothschild, chair of the London National Gallery's Board of Trustees.

The lights on the bridges will be controlled by an adaptive computer code, meaning they will change colour and pattern in response traffic, pedestrians and to the flow of the river.

According to Villareal, the project is one that “reduces pollution and wasted energy, is sensitive to history and ecology and subtly rebalances the ambient lighting on the river to provide a beautiful night-time experience for residents and visitors”. 

While the project is still in its early stages and will take a couple of years to fully manifest itself, the above CGI impression will give you an idea of what the end result may look like.




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