Shortlisted Projects Unveiled for Lighting London’s Bridges

Lighting London's Bridges Project

The six shortlisted proposals by international teams, representing seventy-three artists, architects, designers, planners and engineers from Asia, Europe, North America and South America will be unveiled on Wednesday 9 November in the Illuminated River Exhibition, a free exhibition running for three weeks at the Royal Festival Hall (RFH) until Tuesday 29 November.

The Illuminated River is a design commission on an unprecedented scale: a scheme conceived to light central London’s bridges along the River Thames. The Illuminated River International Design Competition, organised by Malcolm Reading Consultants, with a brief for designs that include new technologies and display outstanding aesthetic quality, attracted entries from 105 teams working in the fields of art, technology, and design from all over the world.  The shortlist of six teams has been selected by an independent panel.  The winner will be chosen by a jury supported by a technical advisory panel.  The winning team will be announced on Thursday 8 December

The exhibition at the RFH showcases the shortlisted proposals by six international teams, which are also available to view online.  The public is being invited to share its views on the project via a survey at the exhibition and at

With the first phase of the fundraising campaign already underway, it was announced today that £10 million has been pledged towards the Illuminated River project:  £5 million by Peter Baldwin and Lisbet Rausing through the Arcadia Fund and a further £5 million is being donated by the Rothschild Foundation.

Speaking at the launch of the Illuminated River Exhibition, Hannah Rothschild, Chair of the Illuminated River Foundation, said today:  “Since the founding of London, the mighty Thames has been the city’s main artery, linking north and south, east and west, encouraging business, activity, and recreation.  But at night, the river becomes a ribbon of darkness, a place that few enjoy and at odds with the ambition to make London a 24-hour city.  This project will bring light, energy, beauty and recreation to the river and at the flick of a switch, transform the city at night.”

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, said: “I am delighted that the Illuminated River Foundation has put these ideas on show.  We believe that the Illuminated River will not only be a wonderful celebration of the River Thames, London’s vital artery, but will make a major contribution to the growing importance of London’s night-time economy, underlining London as a world-class city, and a centre for creative industries.”

Lighting London's Bridges
Adjaye Associates. Lighting London’s Bridges

The shortlisted proposals on show are:

1. Blurring Boundaries

Adjaye Associates with Cai Guo-Qiang, Chris Ofili, Larry Bell, Jeremy Deller, Philippe Parreno, Richard Woods, Mariko Mori, Lorna Simpson, Teresita Fernández, Joana Vasconcelos, Angela Bulloch, Thukral & Tagra, Katharina Grosse, Glenn Ligon, Doug Aitken, Tomás Saraceno, onedotzero digital consultants, Plan A Consultants, DHA, Hurley Palmer Flatt, AKT II, AECOM, Arup, Sir Robert McAlpine, Tavernor Consultancy, DP9, Four Communications, Hayes Davidson digital visualisers, Bosch and iGuzzini

2. The Eternal Story of the River Thames

AL_A, Asif Kapadia, Simon Stephens, SEAM Design, Arup, GROSS. MAX., Mark Filip, Soundings and DP

3. Synchronizing the City: Its Natural and Urban Rhythms

Diller Scofidio + Renfro with Oliver Beer, Arup, Copper Consultancy, L’Observatoire International, Penoyre & Prasad, Jennifer Tipton and Transsolar

4. Current

Leo Villareal with Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands and Future\Pace, Atelier Ten, Beckett Rankine, Bradley Hemmings, Core Five, Futurecity, Greenwich+Docklands International Festival, MBNA Thames Clippers, Montagu Evans, Pentagram, Price & Myers

5. A River Ain’t Too Much To Light

Les Éclairagistes Associés (L.E.A.), ecqi ltd. and Federico Pietrella in association with GVA Lighting Europe Limited and ewo srl

6. Thames Nocturne

Sam Jacob Studio and Simon Heijdens with Studio Dekka, Daisy Froud, Elliott Wood, Jackson Coles and Professor John Tyrer

In a related competition, developed in collaboration with Thames Festival Trust, pupils’ ideas were selected from four London secondary schools in the Boroughs of Ealing, Enfield, Sutton and Westminster, and the London Design and Engineering UTC in Newham, responding to a similar brief to that given to the shortlisted teams.  These will also be shown in the Illuminated River Exhibition.

Seed funding of £100,000 was granted for The Illuminated River from the Olympic Reserve, to support the process for the design competition, alongside funding of £250,000 from the Rothschild Foundation, and a contribution of £500,000 from the City of London Corporation (via the Bridge House Estates) towards the delivery of the first phase.  The Illuminated River Foundation will seek the balance of the costs of the project from private and philanthropic sources rather than the public purse.


Level 3 and 4, Blue Side Royal Festival Hall 9 – 29 November 2016 10am – 10pm daily FREE


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