New London Mayor Sadiq Khan wants to turn the spotlight away from himself and onto the London riverfront. His recently announced support for a massive public art project called The Illuminated River would recruit artists from around the world and ask them to turn 17 bridges spanning the Thames River into illuminated light shows.
Khan pledged £20 million ($29 million), which will come from the city, grants from the Rothschild Foundation, and private sources, to hire artists, architects, engineers, and designers to create the new public artworks. In addition to an aesthetic upgrade for the city, the project will also activate riverfront districts, enhance the night time economy, and provide a boost of tourism and activity in relatively inactive parts of the waterfront. The competition to chose the 17 finalists will accept entires through July 7.
"This is a really exciting opportunity to breathe new life through the heart of London each night in a new, permanent, fluid light art installation across the capital’s historic bridges," said Khan.
The brief asks for "forward-thinking and environmentally friendly designs, enhancing London’s status as a low-carbon beacon and a world leader in cutting edge technology and engineering." The scheme mirrors a popular project that illuminated the Tower Bridge during the 2012 Olympics.
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