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Art and Architecture: Illuminated Cities

Art and Architecture: Illuminated Cities

In 2013 artist Leo Villareal unveiled the LED art installation The Bay Lights, across the Oakland Bay Bridge. The project aimed to create a canvas for light across the western span of the Bridge.

The Bay Lights

Inspired by the Bay Bridge’s 75th Anniversary the artist created a never repeating display of 25,000 LED white lights that illuminated the bay initially from March 2013 to March 2015. In January 2016 the lights became a permanent feature of the San Francisco nightscape.

The Bay Lights

The artist’s vision was to create a unified city through public artwork, allowing the people of San Francisco to create shared experiences.

The non-profit company behind The Bay Lights, Illuminate, have an ongoing mission to recreate this notion of shared experience and a unified city by continuing to create free-to-view LED public art installations that combine a city’s existing architecture with this ultra-contemporary art form.

Another of the organisations projects, Lightrail, aims to combine two worlds of San Franciso. The underground rail network and the streets above with a light installation in Market Street that tracks the movement of the BART and Muni metro systems in real time above ground. Creating unified experiences on the very spine of the city.

Lightrail

In 2017 artist Leo Villareal along with architects Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands and curators Future/Pace will bring a bit of this magic to the UK.

In December 2016 the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan announced that the team had the Illuminated River International Design Competition. The Illuminated River is a scheme that aims to light up central London’s bridges along the River Thames.

Illuminated River

Villareal’s vision integrates light and colour on the 17 bridges from Tower Bridge to Abert Bridge creating a sensitive and interactive display that will work together with the river below. The project applies contemporary software to harness the universal power of light and invite meaningful and accessible public engagement at the heart of London.

Westminster Bridge

Hannah Rothschild, Chair of the Illuminated River Foundation, said: “Their scheme is beautiful, ambitious and realisable but always considerate to the environment, lighting levels and energy conservation. The jury is convinced that the winning team will transform the centre of London while remaining true to the spirit and integrity of the Thames and its communities.”

Waterloo Bridge

T.E.D earmarked re-imagined cityscapes as a trend to look out for in 2017, the combination of art and architecture that aims to re-invent our urban spaces, unifying not only the people that inhabit them but also the architecture of the past with the technology of today.

What are your thoughts on an Illuminated London? Let us know on LinkedIn

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