Lighting London with LEDs: The Illuminated River Project
LED Monkey first reported the new LED transformation of London's bridges back in December 2018. Now, the first four bridges have been spectacularly illuminated. So, read on to find out how the LED lighting project has progressed!
Phase One: Complete
The first phase of the project focused on London, Cannon Street, Southwark and Millennium bridges. As you can see from the image below, the four popular London bridges now look fantastic!
Working in unison, the idea from the very beginning was to create a subtle, yet beautiful transition of colour.
As you can see, the gentle nature of the playful lights is clear. They mimic the soft movement of the Thames water below. The privately-funded project is supported by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. Khan said:
"The project will showcase creativity, boost life at night and transform the way we think about the Thames."
American Light Artist, Leo Villareal was inspired by famous Impressionist painters for the project. Villareal said:
"I’m hoping to follow in the footsteps of Monet, Turner and Whistler and reveal the truly unique, inspiring and poetic character of the Thames.
"The integrated nuances and motions across the bridges create a unified piece that celebrates and enhances the river as a continuous living entity.
Hannah Rothschild, the spark behind the project and famous philanthropist, hopes the finished project involving all 15 proposed bridges "will transform a snake of darkness into a ribbon of light."
And, due to the nature of the installation, it's free for all to enjoy! The rows of light are sure to enchant tourists and Londoners alike.
Once finished, it will cover a massive 4.5 nautical miles (8.3km) of the Thames. This will make it the longest public art installation ever commissioned!
Whilst this is an incredibly long total distance, the costs of powering the strong of colour changing lights will be offset by LED's reduced energy-consumption.
In comparison to conventional light sources such as sodium lamps and incandescent lighting, powering LEDs will save you a bundle! By way of illustrating, a 60W incandescent bulb will use up 80% of its energy creating heat. This means only 20% of your energy is actually going towards creating light. Which is the whole point of a light bulb, right!?
However, an equivalently bright LED light bulb will only use around 7W! Not to mention, it will actually convert 80% of your energy into LIGHT and not the wasteful by-product of heat!
In another attempt to save more energy, the lights will even be turned off at 02:00AM every day. As part of the design, they were also intended to be subtle enough so as not to disturb the marine life that live beneath London's bridges.
A Project of Massive Proportions
Due to the widespread location of the bridges across London, this is the largest planning application ever made without an Act of Parliament! This is because the project involves seven different authorities.
British architects Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands, hope that the lights will provide the bridges with a more memorable future. However, they also hope that the lights will highlight the bridges' exemplary history.
Founding Principal, Alex Lifschutz said:
"This arts project will illuminate not just the river but also the history and architecture of our wonderful city by revealing its iconic bridges in a new light. The art subtly reveals their beauty and in some cases their muscularity, transforming even the humblest railway bridges into iconic forms.
"Of particular interest to me is that transformative quality – with literally the lightest touch, the art alters our view of our city and unites the river as never before."
It is believed that the bridge illuminations will be in place for at least ten years. However, similar projects that were originally meant to be erected for just ten years have been re-installed after public furore followed the removal of the installation.
During the ten years it will be shining, it is believed that it could be seen up to a BILLION TIMES!
Sounds well worth it to us, what do you think?
The second phase is set to be completed by Autumn 2020. It will transform Blackfriars Road, Waterloo, Golden Jubilee Footbridges, Westminster and Lambeth bridges.
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