Artichoke’s Lumiere London 2018 comes to a close with over 1.5 million visits

The second edition of Lumiere London drew to a close on Sunday 21st January 2018, with organisers and critics declaring the festival an emphatic success. London’s cityscape was transformed over four nights, as its streets, buildings and public spaces were illuminated by more than 50 artworks by UK and international artists from 14 different countries.

First estimates indicate that there were more than 1.5 million visits to the festival over four nights, with visitors traversing the pedestrianised city centre and taking in sites across six city destinations: London’s West End, King’s Cross, Mayfair, Fitzrovia, Westminster & Victoria, and South Bank & Waterloo. Produced by arts charity Artichoke, the UK’s largest producer of art in the public realm and commissioned by the Mayor of London, the festival was completely free to attend and is the capital’s largest art event.

Above: Eye Love London, Coca-Cola London Eye, South Bank. Lumiere London, 18th – 21st January, produced by Artichoke and commissioned by the Mayor of London.

More than 80 technicians and crew took part in the technical install and build of this vast Central London event, while almost 1,000 stewards and volunteers managed visitors over the four nights ensuring that everyone had a comfortable and enjoyable experience.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Lumiere London has been one of the brightest and most exciting festivals ever to hit the streets of the capital. With more than 50 artworks across the city, this was an incredible opportunity to see our city’s iconic architecture and streets in a completely new way – and best of all, it was free for everyone to get involved. Lumiere London has shown that London is open to Londoners and visitors from across the world, open to creativity and ideas, and open for business.”

 Helen Marriage, Artichoke CEO and Lumiere London Artistic Director, said: “It has been an extraordinary four days, achieved through an amazing team effort. Delivering an event on this scale in a complex world city, is only possible through the combined work of artists, technical crew, volunteers, stewards, partners and sponsors, and all the people involved in the intricate planning process that has taken place in the 18 months leading up to Lumiere London 2018. Our aim at Artichoke is to create extraordinary moments that disrupt the everyday and reach the widest possible audience. We’re very proud to have done exactly this through Lumiere London 2018 and I’m enormously grateful to everyone who has played a part in enabling this festival to take place”.

Lumiere London receives major support from London & Partners, London’s West End, King’sCross and Bloomberg Philanthropies with additional support provided by a host of partners and funders including Grosvenor Britain & Ireland, Wellcome, The Fitzrovia Partnership and the Victoria, South Bank and Waterloo BIDs, as well as Cain International, Marriott and Universal Music.

Above: General Views at the launch of Lumiere London at W hotel, Leicester Sq on January 17, 2018 in London, England.

Despite taking place over some of the coldest nights of the year, enthusiastic festival-goers were undeterred by the wintry weather and thronged the streets of London. Artists from around the world adorned iconic London landmarks with work made from light; Child Hood by Collectif Coin filled Trafalgar Square with a canopy of 256 luminous spheres; Ulf Langheinrich animated the National Theatre flytower with his abstract projection OSC-L, while The Lantern Company with Jo Pocock created Nightlif , an oasis with woodland creatures inhabiting Leicester Square Gardens.

Above: Child Hood by Collectif Coin, Trafalgar Square. Lumiere London, 18th – 21st January, produced by Artichoke and commissioned by the Mayor of London.

A firm festival favourite was The Light of the Spirit Chapter 2 by French artist Patrice Warrener who returned to London to add to his digital painting of Westminster Abbey’s intricately carved North and West doors, in bright and luminous colour. In Seven Dials, people were delighted by the return of Aquarium, a traditional red London telephone box filled with tropical fish.

As well as lifting spirits and bringing joy to the darkest days of winter, Lumiere London encouraged artists to use light as a medium to address topical global issues. Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde flooded Granary Square to create an underwater world lit with blue LED lights. His work Waterlicht responded to the climate change crisis showing viewers what it would be like if sea level continue to rise. Meanwhile in St James’s Churchyard artist Alaa Minawi , played tribute to Syrian refugees with My Light is Your Light and Tony Heaton explored subtle questions of disability with Raspberry Ripple on the Southbank Centre.

Interactive installations proved a crowd favourite, encouraging children and adults to play on the streets of London. Visitors laughed and beamed with pleasure as they took turns riding Impulse,  a series of illuminated seesaws by Lateral Office , that lined South Molton Street. In Grosvenor Square, visitors became musicians as they made the musical sculpture Illumaphonium chime. On South Bank, The Wave by Vertigo, an 80-metre-long path of 40 glowing sound gates responded sonically and visually to visitors, while at Westminster Cathedral the public cycled furiously on stationary bicycles to light The Rose, a colourful work made from thousands of recycled plastic bottles.

Above: Illumaphonium by Michael Davis, Mount Street, Mayfair. Lumiere London, 18th – 21st January, produced by Artichoke and commissioned by the Mayor of London.

Miguel Chevalier’s Origin of the World Bubble 2018 delighted visitors at Oxford Circus, who watched changing shapes project onto the giant sphere suspended across the world-famous junction. Grosvenor Square was transformed by Aleksandra Stratimirovic’s Northern Lights, an artwork inspired by the experience of viewing the aurora borealis, while in Chinatown viewers watched Flamingo Flyway created by Lantern Company with Jo Pocock. King’s Boulevard in King’s Cross was lined with TILT ’s giant desk lamps in a surreal nod to the area’s business economy, while at St Martin-in-the-Fields, Ron Haselden’s neon ladder, Echelle, adorned the steeple and was visible from as far away as Parliament Square and the South Bank.

Many of the works were accompanied by sound. In Fitzrovia, Cosmoscope was an ambitious sound and light installation supported by Wellcome, which explored our place in the universe. The piece created by Simeon Nelson and featuring an impressive soundscape by Rob Goodman and Nick Rodwell, was the culmination of two-years of research, used 12,000 LED lights and involved the participation of 700 primary school pupils from 25 schools across the country.

At King’s Cross, Architecture Social Club fused light, music, and performance in their electrifying installation Aether, while breakdancers performed in front of Philippe Morvan’s DOT. In the Royal Academy of the Arts’ Courtyard, Rhys Coren ’s Matisse-inspired paper-cut figures in Love Motion danced to a romantic soundtrack. In Piccadilly Circus, Voyage ’s specially created soundtrack took viewers on a journey as they watched the hands of the Hotel Café Royal clock speed through time, created by duo Camille Gross and Leslie Epsztein.

There were moments of contemplation too, with works such as Entre les Rangs, a field of 15,000 flower-like reflectors by artist Rami Bebawi; Droplets, a sonic installation by Ulf Pedersen in Fitzroy Place; and the mesmerising Harmonic Portal, a soothing display of changing colour on St James’s Church by Chris Plant.

Londoners also provided the inspiration and content for some of the artworks. For Asalto London, Spanish artist Daniel Canogar filmed 220 local people so that they appeared to be climbing the 20-storey Westminster City Hall on Victoria Street. Light on Their Feet: Footfalls for Rambert was created by artist David Ward who photographed the soles of the Rambert dancers’ feet and projected images which faded in and out of visibility on the Rambert building.

Above: Bough 1 by Simon Corder, Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf, South Bank. Lumiere London, 18th – 21st January, produced by Artichoke and commissioned by the Mayor of London.

With an expanded festival footprint, which for the first time took in sites on both the North and South side of the River Thames and a host of community outreach initiatives, the 2018 festival truly did transform the whole city, making this extraordinary cultural event one that benefited all Londoners.

Artichoke worked with partners in the outer London boroughs of Greenwich, Lambeth, Sutton, Croydon, Redbridge and Waltham Forest to engage communities in the creation of new artworks. Over 500 community participants helped to create artwork, Bottle Festoon, by repurposing 6,000 plastic bottles into glowing chandeliers. Local community members were also at the heart of The Umbrella Project, a glowing and meditative performance piece which was choreographed after a series of community workshops and performed across various locations throughout Piccadilly, Victoria, Mayfair and Fitzrovia during the festival.


Further details about Lumiere London 2018 are available at:

#LumiereLDN @ArtichokeTrust


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