Millennium Bridge

Summer 2019

Modes
Owner
Bridge House Estates
Completed
2000
Designer
Arup Group, Foster + Partners and Sir Anthony Caro

When it opened in 2002, the Millennium Bridge was London’s first new pedestrian bridge for over a century. The design was chosen through public competition and the winning entry was by Foster & Partners and Sir Anthony Caro with Arup. The bridge is an unusually shallow stressed cable suspension bridge and the design highlights the views onto St Paul’s Cathedral and Tate Modern at either end.

There are over 400 works of art on this bridge but they can be easy to miss. Artist Ben Wilson can often be found here painting his miniature works around discarded chewing gum on the walkways. The grooves and thread of the bridges are what appeal to Ben, leaving endless possibilities for bright colours, patterns and whatever else his creative mind can produce.

The high profile opening of the bridge was beset with teething problems as the bridge quickly gained its nickname, still often used, as the ‘wobbly bridge’.

Photo: Sean Pollock

Artist’s Vision

Inspired by superhero Flash Gordon, the lighting scheme was originally designed to incorporate a ‘blade of light’. Having dulled over the past decade, Illuminated River worked with Fosters & Partners to revamp the original lighting concept.

Illuminated River's pulse of light mirrors the movements of people crossing the bridge, highlighting their faces and casting silhouettes that enhance the bridge structure, while preserving the inky darkness of the Thames below.

Left: the former lighting on Millennium Bridge. Right: Leo Villareal’s Illuminated River artwork.

Leo Villareal discusses the architecture of Millennium Bridge and the inspiration behind his artwork.

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