Lumiere London review – the light festival returned for a spectacular second edition

We at Londonist love what London has to offer, and there is so much to do basically every single day. Last weekend from Thursday 18th to Sunday 21st January 2018 the second edition of Lumiere London took place.

Lumiere London is a world-class light festival that took place over four evenings. It showcased London’s spectacular and iconic architecture and streets, with more than 50 works created through the vision of leading UK and international artists.

The free outdoor light festival is the biggest festival of light in London to date. It returned to London for the second time following the success of the first edition in January 2016, when it attracted an estimated 1.3 million visits over four nights in London’s West End, Mayfair and King’s Cross.

The 2018 edition had an expanded footprint extending north to south, from King’s Cross, through Fitzrovia, Mayfair, and London’s West End, to Trafalgar Square, Westminster, Victoria, Southbank and Waterloo.

Each Lumiere festival invites international and local artists to create works that light buildings and public spaces, transforming cities across the UK and changing the way we think and feel about public space.

We asked our team members here at Londonist to pick the top 5 installations of this year’s Lumiere light festival. Find our Top 5 as follows:

1. Mick Stephenson with Electric Pedals: The Rose

Discover how simple technology is changing thousands of lives across the world with The Rose at Westminster Cathedral. Lumiere London celebrated light in all its forms but for many people access to light is a luxury, and Mick Stephenson’s installation with Electric Pedals (UK) highlights how communities can be transformed by light.

A rose window with a difference, this work is made from thousands of recycled plastic bottles transformed into beautiful illuminated art. In another twist, The Rose is powered by bicycles pedalled by members of the public.

Artist Stephenson explores issues relating to poverty, sustainability and climate change in his works. Filled with bottles designed during workshops with local school children, The Rose asks us to acknowledge the growing need for alternative technologies to support our everyday lives.

Stephenson’s Litre of Light installation for Lumiere London 2016 attracted thousands to Central Saint Martins. He also created installations for Lumiere Durham in 2015, 2013 and 2011.

2. Camille Gross and Leslie Epsztein: Voyage

Spectators could follow an extraordinary passage through the years with Voyage, which explores our physical journey through time and space, at Piccadilly Circus.

Projected onto the Hotel Café Royal building (viewed from Piccadilly Circus), Camille Gross and Leslie Epsztein’s work has a station clock at its centre, which revolves through days and years, hours and minutes. As the hands of the clock swing around, they mark our changing world through the Belle Epoque and the Industrial Revolution, to the frantic speed of our travel through to the present day. Originally commissioned by Lyon Fête des Lumières, this installation was certain to bring traffic to a standstill and delight hundreds of thousands of visitors each night.

Gross and Epsztein (France) met while working for painter and video producer Xavier de Richemont, creating monumental projections and international lighting projects throughout the world, including Mexico, Canada and Morocco. Both now work as freelance designers, coming together to create Voyage, which has enchanted audiences across the globe.

3.TILT: Lampounette

Curious visitors at King’s Boulevard could enjoy TILT’s surreal take on the area’s corporate environment with Lampounette, which pays homepage to the iconic office desk lamp but in giant size.

The French artistic studio, which created the Leicester Square installation during Lumiere London 2016, focuses on the exploration of light and its interplay with art, architecture and space. TILT’s work takes in all aspects of light art, whether temporary interventions or permanent installations, with the aim of changing our view and experience of familiar urban landscapes. Inspired by nature or objects of everyday life its works create a dreamlike universe using humour and poetry.

4. Patrice Warrener: The Light of the Spirit (Chapter 2)

See French digital artist Patrice Warrener’s magnificent The Light of the Spirit (Chapter 2), at Westminster Abbey. Warrener created one of the most popular installations during Lumiere London 2016; and for the second instalment, in 2018, he brings the facade of the abbey’s Great West Gate to life by incorporating sculptural details in his distinctive colourful style.

Bathing Westminster Abbey in colour and light, the projection highlights the architectural mastery of the building, enabling us to witness the glorious statuettes of 20th-century martyrs reimagined. Usually perched unobtrusively on the facade above the Great West Doors, the figures are once again transformed into kaleidoscopic illuminations, a tribute to their lives in technicolour.

Warrener is recognised worldwide for his chromo lithe projection system. His polychromatic illuminations on buildings give the impression of a spectacularly bright painted surface. He has designed more than 80 astounding creations and continues to share this unique art form across the globe.

5. Vertigo: The Wave

Laugh, shout, dance, run. Vertigo’s interactive installation The Wave responds, allowed you to co-create the evening’s experience, with a constantly changing pattern of sound and light along Riverside Walkway on the South Bank.

Designed by the Danish company, The Wave consists of 40 triangular, interactive, luminous gates. These gates respond to movement sonically and visually allowing audiences to co-create the artistic experience. The Wave acts as a beacon of light in the ongoing darkness of winter.

The installation was originally created for display at Ofelia Plads, Copenhagen, Denmark as part of Frost Festival 2017. It was commissioned by Frost Festival and in Association Ofelia Plads.

[All images via @levanterman]

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