Illuminated River Foundation

The Illuminated River Foundation is a registered charity (No. 1168375), and based in the offices of the Rothschild Foundation who provide administrative support.

  • Sarah Gaventa MA (RCA)

    Sarah Gaventa MA (RCA)


    Sarah, Hon Fellow, Landscape Institute, is a public space and public art expert and curator, and was previously Director of CABE Space at the Commission for Architecture and Built Environment. She has been Chair of the Elephant and Castle Regeneration Forum for the past five years.

  • Sue Davies

    Sue Davies

    Project Manager

    Sue has extensive cultural project management experience. She recently oversaw the opening week of Tate Modern’s Switch House extension. She also founded and directed the first two editions of the Shubbak Festival of Contemporary Arab Culture making it into the largest celebration of Arab culture in the world.

  • Emma Shilston MSc

    Emma Shilston MSc

    Project Assistant

    Emma studied Applied Social Sciences, Anthropology at University of Southampton, and holds an MSc in Social Development from University College London. She has previously worked with a children’s education charity for over three years, as well as local government in both London and Tanzania, Arusha.


The project is governed by an independent Board of Trustees including Hannah Rothschild, Fabia Bromovsky, Munira Mirza and chaired by Neil Mendoza.

  • Neil Mendoza

    Neil Mendoza


    Neil Mendoza, publisher and entrepreneur, is a Commissioner of Historic England and a Non-Exec Director on the board of the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. He is currently leading a government review of England’s museums and galleries. Neil is Chairman of The Landmark Trust and Vice-Chairman at The Soho Theatre.

  • Hannah Rothschild

    Hannah Rothschild

    Hannah Rothschild is a writer, filmmaker and Chair of The National Gallery. She is co-founder of the Artist on Film trust and a trustee of Waddesdon Manor. Her most recent book, The Improbability of Love, was published in 2015.

  • Fabia Bromovsky

    Fabia Bromovsky

    Fabia Bromovsky is Chief Executive of The Rothschild Foundation and former Chief Executive of Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire. 

  • Munira Mirza

    Munira Mirza

    Munira Mirza is an adviser on arts and philanthropy, and former London Deputy Mayor for Education and Culture.

Leo Villareal

Leo Villareal works with software and light to create complex, rhythmic artworks. His installations use custom, artist-created programming code, which constantly changes the frequency and intensity of the lights in sequenced patterns.

Leo Villareal has created temporary and permanent light sculptures for public spaces and museums throughout the United States and across the world, including the famous Bay Lights on the San Francisco - Oakland Bay Bridge (2013). Running a length of 3km (1.8 miles), the work consists of 25,000 energy-efficient, low voltage LED lights. Villareal was inspired by the surrounding area to guide his custom sequencing, integrating the kinetic motion of the water, air, and traffic to create abstract, organic patterns in light on the bridge's cables.

Initially covered for a two-year display, the light sculpture was met with positive public response and, through successful fundraising efforts, became a permanent installation in January, 2016.

"Our aim is for a lighting master plan which reduces pollution and wasted energy, is sensitive to history and ecology and subtly re-balances the ambient lighting on the river to provide a beautiful night time experience for residents and visitors." Leo Villareal

Competition submission film

Displayed in a random order for random amounts of time, the compositions have no preconceived outcome, resulting in sustained visual interest. Initially conceived for a two-year display, the light sculpture was met with positive public response and, through successful fundraising efforts, became a permanent installation in January 2016.

The Bay Lights, San Francisco (completed 2013)

Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands

London-based practice Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands (LDS) were established in 1986, and have since completed a range of award-winning projects - from long-standing work on London’s South Bank, to innovative residential and office buildings, masterplans and the Golden Jubilee footbridges.

LDS have won over 80 national and international design awards, ranging from RIBA awards for excellence in architecture and British Council for Offices industry awards, to respected awards for house building and urbanism. 

LDS has worked extensively in London, with partners including Great Portland Estates, Coin Street Community Builders, Derwent London and Exemplar.

Project Team

The project team combines the expertise of numerous companies. They include:

Atelier Ten
Beckett Rankine
Core Five
Iceni Projects
London Wildlife
Montagu Evans
Price & Myers


The Illuminated River Foundation is working with many partners along the Thames, including:

To learn more about the Illuminated River project sign up to receive updates.