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The Illuminated River Foundation

Illuminated River, Preliminary Visualizations ©Leo Villareal Studio, 2018

Illuminated River

$6,684,000; 2017-2019

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Illuminated River is a commissioned art installation that is lighting 14 of central London’s bridges along the River Thames. Once complete, it will be the longest public art commission in the world at 2.3 miles in length – from Albert Bridge to Tower Bridge. The first four bridges – London Bridge, Cannon Street, Southwark and Millennium Bridge – were lit up in summer 2019.

In 2016, an international design competition selected a proposal by American light artist Leo Villareal and London architects Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands. Based on a single lighting concept, their site-specific kinetic artwork captures the unique history and identity of each bridge and responds to its distinct area of the Thames.

The project has undertaken extensive research and consultation to ensure that it leaves a positive legacy for London, respecting natural environment, local communities and the architectural character and history of the bridges.

Free and publicly accessible to all – almost 180 million people use these bridges every year – the project will help create more opportunities for people to enjoy and explore the river, the bridges and local amenities. By replacing existing excessive fittings with subtle energy-efficient LEDs, the installation will enhance the architectural beauty of the bridges, while also providing a better environment for wildlife along the river.

The projected is also funded by the Rothschild Foundation, the Reuben Foundation and the Blavatnik Family Foundation, and is upported by the Mayor of London.