The Project

This transformative project will create a single lighting scheme for Central London’s bridges in order to connect, celebrate and capture the spirit of the Thames and its communities.

Leo Villareal working on The Bay Lights, San Francisco

This transformative project will create a single lighting scheme for Central London’s bridges in order to connect, celebrate and capture the spirit of the Thames and its communities.

As Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “The Illuminated River will give London free art. The project also means that a wasted asset and wasted resource will now be used. The team had thought through how the project is sustainable, how it will be energy efficient and use less energy.”

Following an international competition run under OJEU rules with more than 105 submissions, the winning scheme, led by American light artist Leo Villareal and the London architects Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands, impressed the jury with their exciting kinetic artwork as well as their respect for the natural environment, local inhabitants and the architectural character and history of the bridges.

Once complete, the Illuminated River will be:

  • the world’s longest public art commission at 2.5 miles long
  • completely free and always open
  • publicly accessible to all
  • in place for up to 20 years

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