Luminous London at Lumiere 2018

There is always so much to do in London. It’s indeed the most magnificent melting pot and a mosaic of people, colours, races, cultures, languages and faith. The internationalism of this sprawling metropolis continues to give London that vital spark. Combined with the experiences that arise from the multitude of festivals, exhibitions and other cultural events has allowed this melting pot to shape its overall identity of creativity. Working in the creative industry, a quick trip into central London with my family never fails to inspire, entertain and leave me yearning for more.

Even when I’m not visiting a particular event in London, I love a leisurely walk around the Southbank, popping in to see what’s on at the Tate Modern, Southbank Centre, The National Theatre or just wandering along the river bank and breathing in the diversity and taking in the magnificent views. After a weekend in our cultural capital, and being amongst other like-minded creatives, the start to my working week on a Monday commences with a renewed vigour and a creative enthusiasm that can only come from experiencing the diversity and hum of such an artistic city.

With mine and my husband’s love of lighting and our appreciation of the tremendous effect it can have on the appearance of a structure, or interior, we honestly couldn’t miss this year’s free four-day outdoor light festival that exhibited fifty temporary art light installations, all by leading international artists, across central London. This year the event expanded its footprint, extending north to south, from King’s Cross, through Fitzrovia, Mayfair, and London’s West End, to Trafalgar Square, Westminster, Victoria, South Bank and Waterloo.

The Lumiere London Festival returned to London on the 18th January until the 21st January for the second time following the success of the first edition in January 2016. Between the hours of 17.30 and 22.30, London turned away the traffic and turned itself on, and into a neon extravaganza! To say it was buzzing is probably a bit of an understatement. Roads were cordoned off all around the lighting exhibits, including Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus, and St James Church, to enable the swarm of Londoners and tourists to view the installations safely. Having the areas cordoned off was a pleasant surprise, especially when you are a family of five, with a young six-year-old who could easily be distracted while viewing the light installations.

We tried to visit as many as we could, but with temperatures around 1 degree, we moved quickly around central London but unfortunately missed the art installs in Mayfair, Fitzrovia and Kings Cross. We have always used lighting to great effect within our event designs to add the necessary drama, visual interest and aesthetics. One of my favourites was the meditative and hypnotic effect of the connecting colour, sound, light of UK artist Chris Plant’s Harmonic Porta.The soundtrack was derived from the frequencies of red, green, and blue light, creating a synesthetic colour organ that explored and magnified both the inside and the outside of the frame.

We adored the exhibits in Leicester Square Gardens by leading UK artist Jo Pocock and the Lantern Company who turned it into an illuminated world, bringing a sense of the wild into the heart of the city. The luminous secret garden played with the relationship between wild spaces and urban city life. The primary purpose was to transform this busy area into an area for quiet reflection and a gathering place to celebrate the beautiful and wild.

The subliminal and psychological impact great lighting can have in retail outlets or indoor or outdoor event, by skillfully using the interplay between light and shadows, lighting is unquestionably a design feature that can make a tremendous difference!

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We also loved the dreamy installation in Trafalgar Square where a cloud made up of a large number of luminous balloons on strings appeared to be wafting in space. With the lights responding to a digital sound composition, it was a beautiful and mesmerising install. Entitled ‘Child Hood’ from Collectif Coin (France) and co-produced by La Casemate, the balloons moved gently, or possibly not so gently on Saturday evening, in the wind at Trafalgar Square, to introduce an element of chaos into this otherwise meticulously ordered sound and light composition.

Visiting the art installations drove home our desire to continue to include new and innovative lighting into all our design solutions for our clients. And this event, without doubt, has provided us with some new ideas and further sources of creative inspiration to illuminate, illuminate, illuminate. The subliminal and psychological impact that great lighting can have in retail outlets or indoor or outdoor event by skillfully using the interplay between light and shadows, lighting is unquestionably a design feature that can make a tremendous difference!

Switch on, don’t ever switch off! Fumbling in the dark might be fun, but it’s always better to see what you’re doing!

To find out more about how Shapes can help you with your social and digital engagement give Amanda or Matt a call today on 01252 413771 or 01252 413772

Blog posts by
Amanda Bates – Marketing Director – SHAPES

About the author: Amanda is a professional CIM qualified marketer with over 15 years experience. Currently co-owner of a Design and Marketing Agency. She was previously Senior Communications and Marketing Manager for the BBC.