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The Illuminated River

Mayor of London calls for artists to light Thames bridges using green tech
The Illuminated River

A global search has begun for a team to come together and create The Illuminated River, an elegant and charismatic light installation for London’s celebrated bridges, harnessing the most innovative, green and sustainable technologies.

A free outdoor art gallery

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is calling on the world’s brightest minds to come up with ideas to create a permanent light art installation, extending across 17 bridges that span the Thames between Albert Bridge in Chelsea and Tower Bridge in the City.

Breathing new life into the river each evening, the project will be the world’s longest free, permanent outdoor river gallery, creating a ribbon of light through the city at night and revitalising public spaces along the river’s banks.

The Mayor has made protecting and promoting London’s position as a capital of culture one of his priorities. He hopes The Illuminated River will encourage new investment, increase use of the river, bridges and riverbanks at night and strengthen partnerships across the public realm between the public and private sector landlords.

It will encourage the expansion of a vibrant night-time economy, something the Mayor is keen to support through plans to appoint a Night Czar to help protect London’s live music venues, clubs and pubs, and the introduction of a 24-hour weekend Tube service on key lines from August.

‘A dazzling, free outdoor art gallery, for Londoners and all of our visitors to enjoy would encourage new investment and promote our great city to the rest of the world. With the right design, we can remind the world that London continues to be the global leader in innovation, sustainability and artistic creativity.’

Mayor of London

‘A low-carbon beacon’

Shortlisted competitors will be asked to create the most forward-thinking and environmentally friendly designs, enhancing London’s status as a low-carbon beacon and a world leader in cutting edge technology and engineering.

‘Even by London’s standards, this project is unprecedented in boldness and imagination: the opportunity to influence and transform the look, identity and experience of the world’s greatest city. We’re looking for the finest artists, architects, designers, engineers, technologists and specialists to work together to help realise this exciting ambition. What matters is bold and innovative thinking to put the art back into London’s greatest artery.’

Chair of the Illuminated River Foundation

Building on London’s Olympic and Paralympic Legacy, the Illuminated River will complete the technical infrastructure upgrade, which began with Tower Bridge in 2012, when a new world-class, energy-efficient lighting scheme lit up the attraction with a series of light shows to celebrate the Games.

The Illuminated River International Design Competition is commissioned by a new charity, The Illuminated River Foundation, supported by The Rothschild Foundation. The project has been developed collaboratively by a number of organisations with responsibility for the bridges and the river, including The City of London; the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea; Network Rail; the Port of London Authority; Transport for London and Westminster Council.

The bridges

The 17 bridges are, Travelling West to East, the 17 bridges are: Albert Bridge (1873), Chelsea Bridge (1937), Grosvenor Bridge (1859), Nine Elms Bridge (in development), Vauxhall Bridge (1906), Lambeth Bridge (1932), Westminster Bridge (1862), Hungerford Bridge (1864) and Jubilee Bridge (2002), Waterloo Bridge (1945), The Garden Bridge (in development), Blackfriars Bridge (1869), Blackfriars Railway Bridge (1886), Millennium Bridge( 2002), Southwark Bridge (1921), Cannon Street Railway Bridge (1866/1982), London Bridge (1973) and Tower Bridge (1894)

The shortlisted schemes will go on show in a public exhibition at the end of the year, after which a winner will be announced.

Click here for full details of how to enter the competition, have a look at the Search Statement on the competition website.

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