The Illuminated River
Number of Project Partners: 28
Illuminated River is a long-term public art commission on an unprecedented scale; lighting nine of central London’s bridges along the River Thames for a minimum of ten years. The first four bridges – London, Cannon Street, Southwark and Millennium – were completed in July 2019. Five more bridges – Blackfriars, Waterloo, Golden Jubilee, Westminster and Lambeth – were illuminated in April 2021. The project was led by the Illuminated River Foundation.
Illuminated River has transformed the Thames at night with a unified light installation that celebrates the bridges as architectural, social and historical landmarks, whilst creating a symbolic link across the political, financial and cultural centres of the capital. At 3.2 miles in length, Illuminated River spans from London to Lambeth bridges, making it the longest public art commission in the world.
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 used 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 creation engages 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.
Illuminated River 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.
CRP is extremely pleased that the artwork 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.
If you would like to learn more about Illuminated River, there are a number of ways of engaging with the artwork, including walking routs and boat tours, as well as self-guided walking route options. Please visit the Illuminated River website for more information.Visit the website