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Sneak peek: London’s bridges will be illuminated by British-American team

The ambitious public art project was designed by Leo Villareal and Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands

Aerial rendering of a winding River Thames in London at night showing bridges illuminated in purple, orange, blue, and pink lights.
An aerial rendering of the winning proposal.
Images via LDS

Last night, London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced the winners of the Illuminated River, a massive £20 million (about $25 million) public art project that will light up central London’s many bridges. A proposal submitted by New York-based light artist Leo Villareal and the British practice of architects and planners Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands, titled “Current,” was chosen from 105 submissions in 20 countries after a seven month-long search.

The team’s scheme involves bathing each of the 17 bridges spanning the River Thames—on their cables, suspenders, decks, or girders, for example—in a soft glow of subtly shifting lights in warm hues like pink, purple, and orange. Launching next year, the installation, which will be funded through private and philanthropical sources, will be permanent.

In a press statement, Villareal, who created a honeycomb of LED lights for New York City’s Bleecker Street subway station, and a responsive light sculpture called the Bay Lights on San Francisco’s Bay Bridge in 2013, explained the philosophy behind the London project:

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 night time experience for residents and visitors.

Watch a video of the winning proposal below.

Via: The New York Times