The Lumiere London Festival on Saturday became a victim of its own success when ten of thousands of people descended on the artworks at 30 different locations across the capital. Installations were temporarily switched off especially around the Kings Cross area.
It is the first time the festival of lights has been held in London and on a cold winter’s night it proved to be an irresistible attraction for many thousands of people. The illuminated art was mainly found in Piccadilly, Mayfair, King’s Cross, Trafalgar Square and Westminster.
It was at Westminster Abbey that one of the most spectacular installations was taking place. The Light of the Spirit by Patrice Warrener illuminates the West Front of Westminster Abbey in colour and light. The projection highlights the architectural splendour of the building and audiences witness the statuettes of 20th-century martyrs reimagined. The figures are transformed by the illuminations into the main focal point of the front of the building.
Patrice Warrener is recognised worldwide for his chromolithe projection system. His polychromatic illumination of buildings gives the impression of a spectacularly bright painted surface. He has designed more than 80 creations for locations all over the world.
Another popular installation is the Garden of Light by TILT, TILT are a French collective that reclaim public space for their art. They create luminous, dreamlike structures using recycled materials processed to high technical production quality.
Founders François Fouilhé and Jean-Baptiste Laude started the collective to give prominence to light art and to encourage audiences to view it from a new perspective.The crowds were fascinated by the collection of plant sculptures basking under the glow of giant flowers and trees in Leicester Square.
Nearby in Piccadilly, the crowds were entertained by Luminéoles by Porté par le vent, originally created for the Fete des Lumières Lyon, the brightly coloured fish dance gracefully over the street changing colours . Porté par le vent take inspiration from light and the elements for their creations, attempting to transform everyday locations into atmospheric dreamlands.
In Trafalgar Square, the Centre Point Lights are not particularly spectacular but offer a little piece of London history. For decades, the three-metre high neon letters at the top of Centre Point have been visible and been a familiar landmark in London.
Also in Trafalgar Square are Plastic Islands by Luzinterruptus, Plastic Islands is inspired by the ‘Eighth Continent’: the ‘Garbage Patch’ of marine litter that accumulates in the North Pacific Ocean. It comments on the alarming rate that rubbish is swallowing large areas of the Pacific Ocean and the lack of action to tackle this problem.
Made from thousands of bottles, this installation provides a message that waste from one part of the world can have consequences on other parts of the globe. Luzinterruptus are an anonymous artistic group, implementing urban interventions in public spaces. Light is an integral part of their work, and is used to draw attention to social, environmental and political issues within cities and other environments.
If you are thinking about attending the last day of the festival on Sunday, it may be worth checking with the organisers whether some of the installations will be switched off due to the large crowds expected.
If you would like more information, visit the Lumiere Festival website here
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