The Competition

The Illuminated River International Design Competition was launched in June 2016 and attracted entries from 105 teams working in the fields of art, technology and design from all over the world.

A shortlist of six teams was selected by an independent panel and invited to submit design proposals. These proposals were displayed in a public exhibition at the Royal Festival Hall in November 2016.

In a related competition, developed in collaboration with Thames Festival Trust, pupils’ ideas were selected from four London secondary schools in the Boroughs of Ealing, Enfield, Sutton and Westminster, and the London Design and Engineering UTC in Newham. These were exhibited at the Royal Festival Hall alongside the shortlisted designs.

The winning team was chosen by a jury supported by a technical advisory panel, and the results were announced by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, on 7th December 2016.

The Illuminated River International Design Competition was run in accordance with EU procurement guidelines and the Public Contracts Regulations 2015. The competition was advertised in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) on behalf of the Illuminated River Foundation and was administered by Malcolm Reading Consultants.

Left to right: Michael Craig Martin, Dame Julia Peyton-Jones, Justine Simons, Lord Rothschild, Professor Ricky Burdett, James Turrell, Hannah Rothschild, Ralph Rugoff, Lucy Musgrave.

Christian Sinibaldi

The Jury

Michael Craig-Martin, artist

Dame Julia Peyton-Jones, Director, Serpentine Galleries 1991-2016

Justine Simons, Deputy Mayor for Culture and Creative Industries, City Hall

Lord Rothschild OM GBE, Chairman, RIT Capital Partners plc, Chairman, Rothschild Foundation

Professor Ricky Burdett, Professor of Urban Studies and Director, LSE Cities and the Urban Age Programme

James Turrell, artist (Honorary Jury Member)

Hannah Rothschild, Trustee, Illuminated River Foundation

Ralph Rugoff, Director, Hayward Gallery

Lucy Musgrave, Director, Publica

Malcolm Reading, architect and competition director (Professional Chair)

The Supporting Panel

The Jury were assisted in their decision making process by a report prepared by a supporting panel of experts and stakeholders.

Dr Piers Barnes, Research Associate, Department of Physics, Imperial College London

Jennifer Blake, Project Manager, Network Rail

Fabia Bromovsky, Trustee, The Illuminated River Foundation

Professor Ricky Burdett, Professor of Urban Studies, LSE

David English, Historic Places Advisor, Historic England

Nick Evans, Deputy Harbour Master Upper, Port of London Authority

Andy Foster, Service Manager, Bridges & Structures, Westminster City Council

John Gill, Infrastructure Services Director, Network Rail

Mark Major, Principal, Speirs+Major lighting designers

Paul Monaghan, Assistant Director, Engineering, City of London Corporation

Gary Noble, Chief Engineer, Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea

Matthew Thomas, Principal Policy & Programmes Officer, Environment, Greater London Authority

Adrian Westbury, Cost Consultant, Ridge

Susannah Wilks, Director, Cross River Partnership

The Shortlist

  • Blurring Boundaries

    Blurring Boundaries

    Adjaye Associates

  • The Eternal Story of the River Thames

    The Eternal Story of the River Thames


  • Synchronizing the City: Its Natural and Urban Rhythms

    Synchronizing the City: Its Natural and Urban Rhythms

    Diller Scofidio + Renfro

  • Current


    Leo Villareal with Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands and Future\Pace.

  • A River Ain’t Too Much To Light

    A River Ain’t Too Much To Light

    Les Éclairagistes Associés (L.E.A.), ecqi ltd. and Federico Pietrella

  • Thames Nocturne

    Thames Nocturne

    Sam Jacob Studio and Simon Heijdens