Illuminated River has started on site

Illuminated River is a public art commission to light up to 15 bridges along the River Thames. The artwork is being created by acclaimed light artist Leo Villareal with architects Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands, and will be in place for at least ten years.

The Illuminated River Foundation has begun installation work on the first four bridges; London, Cannon Street, Southwark and Millennium Bridges, which will be illuminated in summer 2019. Working our way upstream, the next group of bridges will be completed next year, with the project due to be finished by 2022.

Two years ago, Mayor Sadiq Khan announced that the team, led by artist Leo Villareal and London architects Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands, had been successful in winning the international design competition to reframe the Thames at night and celebrate London's historic links with its river. A lot of work has been done since this announcement; surveying and inspecting the bridges, speaking to communities and stakeholders, securing planning approval, and understanding the logistical challenges behind installing the latest generation of LED technology onto the bridges to allow Leo to begin to ‘paint with light’ and realise his beautifully sequenced patterns for us all to enjoy.

Illuminated River reframes the Thames at night, celebrating London’s historic links with its river and creating a legacy for London in an artwork that will be in place for at least 10 years.

We are committed to minimising any disruption caused by the installation of Illuminated River. Our contractors have worked hard to ensure that only minor footway closures are needed on the first four bridges and they work outside of the busiest times on the bridges, such as rush hour on London Bridge, and in daytime as much as is possible to avoid disturbance at night. In fact, we believe that the majority of works will go unnoticed, and where they are more visible, such as on Millennium Bridge, they will be an interesting and exciting spectacle.

The philanthropically-funded project incorporates a maintenance programme, funded for the lifetime of the artwork. The Illuminated River Foundation has committed to raising the funds for the project from private and philanthropic sources.

A tremendous amount of work has been done since the winning team of Leo Villareal and Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands was announced almost two years ago. Much of that work has been undertaken in collaboration with organisations up and down the river, including one of the largest and most detailed planning processes London has seen. We are grateful for the contribution of all our partners and look forward to continuing our work together.

Neil Mendoza, Chair of the Board of Trustees

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