London, it's often said, is a series of villages connected through a cosy proximity. With each village comes a culture and a pulse specific to it, but there’s a unifying thread running through London – the River Thames. Lately some have come to consider its potential as a canvas for artistic expression.
Enter internationally acclaimed American artist Leo Villareal, whose team recently won the pitch for the ‘Illuminated River’ project, a unified artwork conceived to light central London’s bridges along the River Thames. Coined as an “art and architecture commission of unprecedented scale”, Villareal is himself a trained sculptor and also the creator of major light installations and public projects across the globe. His work can be found at MoMA in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington and has previously been exhibited at the Hayward Gallery.
Recently green lit by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, ‘Illuminated River’ sees Villareal collaborate with renowned British architects and urban planners, Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands and curators Future/Pace. The full list of partners is Atelier Ten, Beckett Rankine, Bradley Hemmings, Core Five, Futurecity, Greenwich+Docklands International Festival, Montagu Evans, Pentagram and Price & Myers. The City of London is home to some of the most iconic and scenic bridges in the UK, and this initiative seeks to bind connected boroughs and neighbourhoods through an engaging and thought provoking method.
Launching in 2018 the bridges will serve as the perfect canvas for the delicate, softly changing light installation, which seeks to not only celebrate, but also to reveal each bridges unique architectural quality, heritage and innate beauty.
Image courtesy of Leo Villareal, LDS Architects and Future\Pace