It’s a Saturday evening in January and it finally feels like winter has really arrived with temperatures dropping to almost freezing. I was pretty cosy on the couch and contemplated giving Lumiere London a skip but I’m so glad I got dressed and left the warmth of my flat instead.
The Lumiere London festival is a fascinating display of lights unlike I’ve ever seen before featuring artists from around the world. From a 3D elephant installation (which if you are from Africa is a little underwhelming) to a wonderfully inspired garden of light, it’s definitely worth checking out.This is the first time that the Lumiere festival has been held in London and by all accounts it was a success with droves of young families out in the heart of London on one of the coldest nights since winter began. Road closures around the areas featuring the installations meant that people were free to roam and snap pictures of the displays.
We started out at Trafalgar Square where there was a display of recyclable plastic bottles in the fountain called Plastic Island. We walked on to Leicester Square which featured the Garden of Light – definitely one of my favourites. From there we made our way down Piccadilly, stopping to take in the life size 3D elephant display and the giant flying fish which kept changing colours. Heading down towards Soho, we took in the giant lightbulbs hanging overhead before stopping at Oxford Circus to marvel at the jellyfish lookalike suspended in the sky. In fact, the sculpture billowing above the corner of Oxford and Regent Street named 1.8 is a fascinating woven web based on data that was captured from the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami – that just blew my mind! I later learnt that when connected to a dedicated Wi-Fi network, visitors can load an image of the artwork and select the hue they want to appear. Even to someone who isn’t really into arty farty stuff, that is pretty impressive and to me sounds like interactive art at it’s best!
Unfortunately in the end the numbness in my fingers and my roaring tummy won and we opted to skip some of the installations. Having since seen pictures of the Lumiere displays at Kings Cross and Grosvenor Square, I am inclined to go back this evening before the festival ends.
Top tips for making the most of your visit if you decide to venture out: Bundle up nice and warm, plan your route using the maps handed out by officials and a pair of touch screen gloves is a must so you can whip out your phone for pictures without losing all feeling in your limbs.
If you managed to check out some of the illuminating art around the capital, let me know which were your favourites.