Artichoke transformed iconic buildings across King's Cross and the West End, turning the city into a noctornal delight.
Supported by the Mayor of London, Lumiere London turned King’s Cross and London’s West End, including Leicester Square, Piccadilly, Regent Street, St James’s and Carnaby into a magical pedestrian playground and encouraged Londoners and tourists alike to explore the heart of the capital and view it in a new light.
Attended by over one million people over four evenings, visitors experienced 30 light installations including a glowing tropical garden filled with giant plants in Leicester Square Gardens and a technicolour animation featuring the faces of some of the UK’s best-loved TV and film stars, projected onto BAFTA, 195 Piccadilly. At Oxford Circus, which was closed to traffic during the festival, people lay on their backs gazing up at 1.8 London, Janet Echelman’s beautifully illuminated aerial sculpture strung between buildings at Oxford Circus.
Along Regent Street, pedestrianised for the event, crowds gathered to see Elephantastic!, a 3D, larger-than-life projected elephant stomping through the Air Street arch, while in St James’s visitors gazed at the ethereal Les Voyageurs – sculpted human forms flying high above the buildings. At Westminster Abbey, audiences stood mesmerized by The Light of the Spirit, a digital painting by French artist Patrice Warrener, who had bathed the Abbey’s West Gate in an electric riot of colour.
In Carnaby, on Broadwick Street, visitors gathered around Julian Opie’s animated LED monolith – Shaida Walking. The piece has been commissioned as a permanent installation and will be illuminated during the day as well as at night.
Aquarium, Benedetto Bufalino & Benoit Deseille’s iconic red telephone box filled with exotic fish at Grosvenor Square, was a firm festival favourite, drawing audiences to the leafy garden square in Mayfair. The square was also a temporary home to Elaine Buckholtz’s abstract digital painting, which uses light and music to re-imagine Van Gogh’s painting All Night Café.
Hundreds of Londoners of all ages played their part in the festival: from donating a recycled plastic bottle to the glowing Plastic Islands installation by Luzinterruptus in the Trafalgar Square fountains, to appearing on film in the spectacular Circus of Light projected onto the Granary Building at King’s Cross. 500 children also took part in workshops at schools in the area to help make Joining the Dots and Litre of Light, both also at King’s Cross.
The festival was made possible through founding support from Atom Bank, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Heart of London Business Alliance, London & Partners and King’s Cross, alongside other partners and sponsors, including Westminster City Council.
Pictured: Keyframes, Groupe LAPS / Thomas Veyssiére, Lumiere London 2016. Produced by Artichoke. Photo by Matthew Andrews.