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Illuminated River – Huge Art Project to Light London’s Bridges

A massive design competition to spectacularly light up a slew of London’s bridges has narrowed its entrants down to a final six eye-catching concepts.

The Illuminated River art project tasked designers with creating concepts for a £20 million light installation, spanning 17 bridges between London’s Albert Bridge and Tower Bridge.

Image of "The Eternal Story of the River Thames" design concept for The Illuminated River project

“The Eternal Story of the River Thames” is one of 6 stunning concepts for The Illuminated River

And now, the final shortlist has been unveiled – the innovative proposals include a design in which the lighting would change depending on the tide, and one in which a variety of lampposts would emerge from the waters of the Thames.

The illuminated river: ART ON A GIANT SCALE

With an aim of being completed between 2018 and 2020, The Illuminated River has already attracted £10 million in funding, half of it from the Rothschild Foundation.

Over 100 design teams put forth proposals for the permanent installation (championed by London mayor Sadiq Khan), with the shortlisted 6 already receiving £15,000 for their efforts.

Image of the "Synchronizing the City" design concept for The Illuminated River project

Beams of light would extend into the sky in the “Synchronizing the City” design concept

The full shortlist is as follows:

  • Current – A dynamic concept from artist Leo Vilareal which “integrates light and colour on the 17 bridges” and includes additional Japanese installations.
  • Blurring Boundaries – Adjaye Associates’ ambitious proposal includes plans for a series of towers, loggias and an auditorium along the river banks.
  • Thames Nocturne – An expansive “ribbon of light” would extend between bridges in this proposal from Sam Jacob Studios.

The winner of the massive competition will be announced on 8th December, after each of the shortlisted concepts have enjoyed a three-week display in London’s Royal Festival Hall.


For more stories and features like this, check out the Design section of the Creative Drum blog.

Feeling inspired? Why not explore IDI’s art and design courses, fully accredited by the University of Hertfordshire?

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