Colourful lighting project of London’s river bridges signals the festive season

London bridges are about to get a whole lot magical! NewYork artist Leo Villareal with his team has won a contest for creating the most creative lighting installations, and now their contest-winning proposal called “Current,” will be applied to light up 17 bridges along the River Thames in London, the UK  from Tower Bridge to Albert Bridge.

The contest called “Illuminated River” received submissions from 105 teams from 20 countries around the globe. 10,000 people also visited an exhibition last month where the six shortlisted concepts were displayed.

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London Bridge/ (Credit: Malcolm Reading Consultants and Leo Villareal and Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands)

The Illuminated River is part of a public art project launched earlier this year, aimed at turning the River Thames into a viable part of London’s night-time economy. The project has already managed to gather over £10 million (US$12.4 million) courtesy private and philanthropic funders, and it seems as the mega project is very close to becoming a reality.

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(Credit: Malcolm Reading Consultants and Leo Villareal and Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands)

The lighting of the bridges is the first part of Villareal’s three-fold plan. After achieving this feat, they are looking to design the commercial lighting present along the banks of the river, while giving them a coherent illumination scheme and turning them into cultural projects. And as the last step, Villareal looks to install a series of “immersive installations” to compliment the bridge lighting.

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Waterloo Bridge/ (Credit: Malcolm Reading Consultants and Leo Villareal and Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands)

Villareal explains in a press release,

“In order to nuance the concept design and create presence and legibility, we intend to take time to study the river in all its manifestations. We want to listen to Londoners in developing the scheme to deliver at all levels of art and light, urban design and architecture, the environment and sustainability. Our aim is for a lighting masterplan which reduces pollution and wasted energy, is sensitive to history and ecology and subtly rebalances the ambient lighting on the river to provide a beautiful nighttime experience for residents and visitors.”

 

The project involves a total of 17 bridges around the British capital, and out of these four bridges’ configuration has been finalised. The London Bridge will host 498 LED lights spreading a wash of warm colours which will also change over time.

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Westminister Bridge/ (Credit: Malcolm Reading Consultants and Leo Villareal and Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands)

The Waterloo Bridge will be decorated using 640 LEDs and will light up its underside using the full spectrum of pinks and reds.

The underside of the Chelsea Bridge will be adorned in warm white tones, which will also be sequenced to change randomly. For this historic bridge, 172 LEDs along with 3,016 LED nodes will be installed along its cables and bars.

Lastly, Westminster Bridge will be bathed in soft violet and blue tones with 406 LEDs complimenting its green paint, also matching the nearby House of Commons.

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Chelsea Bridge/ (Credit: Malcolm Reading Consultants and Leo Villareal and Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands)

Besides being a wonderful addition to London’s landscape, Villareal also claimed that he will be able to achieve 50 percent reduction in energy consumption in lighting up these bridges using Philips LED luminaires and lighting them up at optimised levels throughout the night.

You can learn more about it by visiting The Illuminated River’s website.

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