The Illuminated River
Number of Project Partners: 28
The Illuminated River will be a long-term art commission on an unprecedented scale; a scheme to light 15 of central London’s bridges along the River Thames, starting in 2019. The project is led by Sarah Gaventa, Director of The Illuminated River Foundation.
The Illuminated River will transform the capital with a unified light installation across central London’s bridges that will connect, celebrate and capture the spirit of the Thames and its diverse communities.
Incorporating up to 15 bridges, from Albert Bridge to Tower Bridge, once complete Illuminated River will be the longest public art commission in the world at 2.5 miles in length, along 4.5 nautical miles of the River Thames. It will be viewed over 200 million times each year.
Following an international competition launched in June 2016, which attracted more than 105 submissions, the winning scheme, led by American light artist Leo Villareal (the artist responsible for lighting San Francisco’s Bay Bridge) and London architects Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands, impressed the jury with their exciting kinetic artwork as well as their respect for the natural environment, local inhabitants and the architectural character and history of the bridges.
Villareal will use the latest LED technology to ‘paint with light’, taking influence from the natural and social activity of the river and producing sequenced patterns that play across the bridge structures. His lighting design will engage specifically with the site of each bridge, respecting and revealing their distinctive histories and architectural features, while the integrated motion across fifteen bridges will create a unified artwork that references the river as a continuous living system.
The Illuminated River will act as a catalyst to improve lighting conditions, cultivate new opportunities for use of the riverscape, and define the bridges as renewed civic spaces for Londoners.
The installation of the first 4 bridges, London, Cannon Street, Southwark and Millennium has already been competed!
CRP is extremely pleased that this first phase includes its original flagship project, the Millennium Bridge, and has enjoyed advising The Illuminated River Foundation on strategic aspects of the project ever since the original idea first came about.Visit the website