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Winter Lights @ Canary Wharf 2018

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This was my third year of visiting the annual Winter Lights festival at Canary Wharf, an event that now lasts for two weeks from mid-January. This year, the event started last Tuesday, but I did not visit it last week because London Lumiere was taking place and I wanted to conserve my energy for that. Each year, I notice that Winter Lights becomes more popular. This year, it probably gained in popularity due to the success of London Lumiere. 


This year, I completed the trail in the opposite direction, finishing with the installations in the Crossrail building. I was disappointed that there were not many outdoor installations when compared with previous years. Most of the installations were interactive ones for visitors to interact with and smaller ones. However, the improvements this year was the signage and staff presence. In the past, the trail has never been clear and I've spent awhile trying to locate a particular item when it was either labelled incorrectly on the map or easy to miss. I'm also more familiar with Canary Wharf now, so less time was spent "lost" in the shopping malls.


Playful Shadows (Malgosia Benham)
Located inside a black box in the middle of the shopping centre, I waited to see the experience inside. Three lights (cyan, magenta, and yellow) are located inside the box, and visitors step in front of them to create shadows of different colours using the light. The shadows are very photographic.


Vapour (Fenella Osborne)
A series of light and glass installations are located inside a cabinet inside the shopping mall at Jubilee Walk, Canary Wharf. Light is refracted from the glass and creates shapes of different colours. I don't think the lighting was quite right in the cabinet to see the full effect here.


Coup de Foudre II (Bill Culbert)
'Coup de Foundre II' is a permanent art installation at Canary Wharf at Churchill Place. The installation is located both inside and outside the building to create an illusion of a continuous piece. 



Abstract (Collectif Coin)
Time and relativity inspired the light sculpture "Abstract", which features several triangular elements attached to a pole. The triangles move up and down along the pole to represent time and movement. They also turn colour from blue to red, and this appears to be relatively random. This installation is also accompanied by sound.


Sunlight Graffiti (Little Sun)
The light and art installations that encourage selfies are always the most popular with visitors. 'Sunlight Graffiti' certainly meets that criteria. This had a queue of approximately ten people in front of me, and apparently it was going to take 30 minutes before I had a chance to see what it was about. However, I did get a sneak peek of the set-up, and they showed me a photograph from the previous occupants so that I did not need to wait for much longer than 10 minutes. A little sun solar lamp is provided to visitors, which is also an affordable way to bring light to people in struggling countries. The visitors can move around to create different light 'shapes', which are then photographed through a long-exposure camera. They said that I could use one of their Instagram photographs, and the above one is the only one I can locate with what was happening in the little box.


Colour Me Beautiful (Tine Bech)
Five colour 'runways' bring this interactive installation to Jubilee Place mall. Visitors can step onto this coloured runways to have their photograph taken, and these photographs are then added to the large screen with a colour filter.


Interlude (Amanda Parer)
This huge white rabbit has made its home at Canary Wharf. The rabbit has a cute appearance, but it is considered a pest in Australia. It was one of the more show-stopping pieces. She was responsible for the giant floating "alien" form two years ago in Westferry Circus.


Sonic Light Bubble (Eness)
Unfortuntely, this large inflatible 'bubble' was packed away and not on display when I visited. It was not that windy, but they were afraid the wind would pick up, so they left it deflated. I'm sure that if it was deflated today, then this installation has not been on show much as other days have been a lot worse with the wind. From what I can gather, 'Sonic Light Bubble' is a light and sound installation that reacts when approached. It looks amazing and was a pity to miss it, particularly as all of the other exhibitions (except for two, in my opinion) were lacklustre when compared with previous years.


Bit.Fall (Julius Popp)
This permanent art installation has been on display as a part of Canary Wharf Winter Lights every year that I have visited. It takes words from current news and events and projects them as water, which momentarily forms before falling into the wharf below.


Estuary Poem For Wyndham Lewis and Other Works (Robert Montgomery)
This poem brings together the Thames Estuary and landscape into Canary Wharf. This poem can be burned on the beach, and it is brought back and constructed into artwork with neon.


Polaris (Laurent Font)
The northern lights were the inspiration for this installation, which connects art to the natural world. The soft green glow is emitted and projected onto the wall, changing slightly in colour and form.


Halo (Venividimultiplex and Fosfor Design)
This giant halo is positioned above the fountain in Cabot Square, using the reflection as a part of the artwork. It is an eye-catching piece with good photographic points.


The Cube (Ottotto)
The pedestrian bridge and this cube-shaped neon sculpture form an interesting installation that has merged together.


Lightbenches (LBO Lichtbank)
These lightbenches are a permanent collection at Canary Wharf; they first featured last year in Winter Lights. The light benches gradually change colour.


Urban Patterns (Kasjo Studios)
'Urban Patterns' changes the surrounding landscape using UV rays and horizontal lines. This same installation featured last year where it was larger and took up a wider area. This one features multi-coloured threads.


Apparatus Florius (Tom Dekyvere)
Sound and light come together to illuminate the trees and geometric patterns created with threads in Westferry Circus. I found this installation disappointing this year when we had the multi-changing flowers that used sound and synchronisation the year before and the giant alien sculpture the year before that.


We Can Meet (Martin Richman)
This is a permanent installation outside Crossrail that has featured in the past few Winter Lights at Canary Wharf. These rods change colour and frequency throughout time, and they are inspired by reeds in nature.  


Dazzling Dodecahedron (Amberlights)
This jewel-like structure was one of the highlights of Winter Lights this year. The piece is eye-catching as it glows and sparkles like a gem or kaleidoscope. Visitors can step inside it to see the colours and reflections up close and become truly dazzled by the immersive reflections and light inside.



Pixels (Jonas Vorwerk)
'Pixels' is an interactive installation featuring several glowing coloured blocks. The visitors to this installation can create their own interpretation of it, whether it is to create a wall, animal, or "disco floor". I watched the people interact with it and take photographs with it; this was a popular one with children.



Luma Paint Light Graffiti (LichtFaktor)
This graffiti light installation captured many admirerers, and there were several people waiting to participate. It is another one where people can take "selfies" and interact to show some creativity, and I find that these installations are always the busiest and most-photographed. The wall is refreshed after each use, but the first step is to take a "photograph" using light, which is mysteriously and magically placed onto the wall behind the subject. The visitors who have had their photographs taken can then get creative with a variety of tools that help to create different colours of light.


Helios (DPA Lighting Consultants LED Linear & Architainment Lighting)
Clean lines of neon inspired this piece in order to create a range of perspectives with different colours and 'eclipses' of colour. The sculpture gradually changes colour and appears to change form.



Reflecting Holons (Michael Martens & Jetske Visser)
The artists experimented with reflecting materials in order to create this piece, which includes long strips of transparent foil and spinning motors. The installation mimics water droplets. They gradually get larger and then smaller again, raising up as they lose form and become a thinner shape. The floor appears to be a reflective puddle, making this appear like giant drops of water.


Made by Manos (Manos Kalamenios)
These sculptures were on display in two separate locations. They are made of porcelain and bone china with LED lights. The wall pieces were actually creayed from medieval tiles found on the Thames. 


Luna (Kinetech Design)
Paper-folding and kinetic art has inspired a series of light sculptures known as 'LUNA'. The sculptures are a tribute to the work as architects who create structures in architecture and interior design that can fold up.


Fracture (Jessica Lloyd-Jones)
Colours and patterns of this piece change when observing from different angles. Art and science come together to create this sense of energy.


Reduced Landscapes (Maja Petric)
The light art box has a very abstract rendition of the sky, sun, and stars which change depending on the angle of it being viewed. 


Clones (Joachim Slugocki)
These complex but geometric patterns are painted with UV light, which glows in the dark and helps to create multi-coloured shapes. Circles feature in this installation, which  was repeated throughout one wall of the room.


Tempus (Ben Rousseau)
'Tempus' is a creative way to create a timepiece that is both art and functional.



Selected Works (Amberlights)
The creators of the outdoor piece have also created some smaller models with metallic colours, reflections, and forms. These are eye-catching pieces that create beautiful reflections and colours on the walls.


Future Fashion (Cutecircuit)
Wearable technology has been one of the growing trends in the past few years. Here, visitors can interact with an app provided to change the pattern on the dress.



On Your Wavelength (Marcus Lyall)
This installation ("On Your Wavelength") was present at last year's Winter Lights. It was busier this year than the previous year, and I now wish that I had visited it last year. The participant wears a headset, which reads the activity in the brain. This will then create the different shapes, colours, and patterns seen and also control the audio frequency.


Flora (Phillip Artus)
This interactive installation is placed at the edge of the water by Crossrail Place. Visitors can design the patterns produced.

There were just over thirty pieces on show this year, but there were more indoor pieces than ever this year. I missed seeing the larger-scale outdoor pieces. Overall, only a couple of the pieces really stood out to me. Also, a few of the pieces I had seen before so they were not new. 

To visit, head to Canary Wharf from 5:00pm daily. The event is free and is on display until January 27, so you still have a few days to see it.

London Lumiere Cocktail Trail

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One of the most popular events in London's calendar in January was the Lumiere London 2018 (read about the event in my extensive review here) installations of light-meets-art throughout various locations in the city. I spent my Thursday and Friday evenings visiting all of the locations. When it was clear that I would not make it to quite all of the installations before 10:30pm on Thursday night, I decided that I would need to return the following night. As an additional incentitive, I decided to purchase the London Lumiere Cocktail Trail. 


The cocktail trail included stops for three cocktails at a number of "Le Meridien" hotel locations along and near the installations. Cocktails could be enjoyed at one location or three separate locations. I went to three separate locations.


First stop for me was before the lights were switched on. I ended up at W Hotel, which is located between Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus. I have actually been here (the name of the  tea room and bar area is called 'The Perception') before for their Fashion / Power Afternoon Tea. The staff had confusion over my cocktail trail voucher, so that did not put me off to a good opinion, and the special cocktail was not really Lumiere-inspired. It was called "London Lights" and tasted fruity, but the name was all it had for a reference to Lumiere. 


Leicester Square was host to "Nightlife" (by Jo Pocock and Lantern Company), a natural paradise of illuminated frogs, plants, butterflies and woodland creatures. 


Around the corner in Chinatown, visitors were greeted with "Flamingo Flyway" (by Lantern Company and Jo Pocock), a small group of flamingo birds that were orchestrated by volunteers to 'fly' above the crowds and occassionally say 'hello' to the children by looking down.


My next stop was Le Meridien Picadilly, and I went to "The Terrace" bar, which is located upstairs. The bar was empty except for one person, and the staff here were friendly. Again, the garnish did not look very 'illuminated', but it was the sole cocktail on the Lumiere menu. It had a fruity taste.


Piccadilly hosted several illuminations within a short walk. Across the street at St. James' Church was the beautiful and hyptnotising "Harmonic Portal" by Chris Plant, which changed colours and produced a humming sound. This ended up being one of my favourite installations. Tracey Emin's neon sign "Be Faithful to Your Dreams" was also located here as was "My Light is Your Light" by Alaa Minawi, featuring neon stick figures and which I'd now seen for a second year in a row.


Also at Piccadilly Circus was 'Voyage' by Camille Gross and Leslie Epzstein. This projection onto a building was charming and featured clocks, stars, and industry to celebrate the Industrial Revolution and time and space. It was one of my favourite installations.


Another installation close by at the Royal Academy was "Love Motion" (Rhys Coren), a Matisse-inspired animation projected onto the building and showing a couple dance and kiss to a slow-moving soundtrack.


From there, I headed up to King's Cross where I visited "The Booking Office" at St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel. This was very popular without a spare space in the room. I ordered the Lumiere cocktail, which was Lumiere-inspired this time and came with a green glowing bottle. The cocktail was mainly ice, however. 

After drinking the cocktail, I headed to King's Cross. Near this venue was the permanent installation, "IFO" by Jacques Rival. It is a giant birdcage with a seat in the middle, and it has rainbow colours that circle around it. 


TILT's "Lampounette" is also located here, and these giant desk lamps help create a coloured spotlight on the ground below.


"DOT" (Philippe Morvan) was one of the most popular pieces with crowds, and it featured rows of lights reacting to a soundtrack. 


King's Cross was possibly the star of the show in terms of interesting installations in a close area. The candy floss trail was brought back for the second time this year; basically, visitors could get a map and collect stickers to receive free candy floss with a glowing stick. This year, people were taking advantage of this, and there were less stickers/stamps to get when compared with the previous year. This year, the food market area was large and actually had a selection instead of just one "rave" tent. So, it was better than last year but also more busy. However, the crowds could be attributed to the fact that I was not able to get to King's Cross until Friday whereas I was able to complete the Lumiere trail in one evening the last year it was hosted.


Did you get to see any of the installations for Lumiere this year?

London Lumiere 2018

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London Lumiere returns for its second time in London in order to brighten the dreariest of January days. The January days are dark and cold, and since the country has just finished its holidays, everyone is in need some brightness. This is where London Lumiere comes in; it helps to add some light, colour, and excitement. The first London Lumiere featured in 2016, and I covered it in my post here (London Lumiere 2016). This year's event was announced last summer, and I have been looking forward to it, but due to crowd problems in 2016, the installations have been spread out over a large area, which makes it impossible to see in an evening (unless, perhaps, you have a bicycle). I did try to complete the trails on Thursday evening, but two of the installations were shut early, and I started to struggle with sore feet. So, this year, I had to return to complete the trail on Friday evening.


The areas of the installations included King's Cross, Victoria, South Bank, Mayfair, Fitzrovia, and Soho. I managed to see each installation and document them below. As I've had a busy weekend this weekend and there are a lot of photographs to go to and write-ups to write, I have had to delay my post. However, there's still one more day of the event to see as many light installations as you can.

The Rose (Mick Stephenson with Electric Pedals)
This rose window, located outside Winchester Cathedral in Victoria, is made out of recycled plastic bottles. The sculpture is illuminated when the bicycles around it are cycled, converting human energy into a source of power. In this sense, visitors transform and create the artwork, which makes it special. The only downside is that all of the bicycles have to be pedaled and pedalled agressively in order for the sculpture to be completely illuminated. This was the first installation that I saw for London Lumiere 2018, and it certainly is worth visiting as it is picturesque and interactive.


Lightbench (Bernd Spiecker for LBO Lichtbankobjekete)
The first time that I saw these illuminated benches was in the London Lumiere festival in 2016. Since then, I have seen them at Canary Wharf, where they have been installed permanently. The lightbenches always encourage visitors to sit on them to get photographs as they change a subtle glow from pink, blue, turquoise, yellow, green, purple, and orange.


The Wave (Vertigo)
'The Wave' along the Thames on the South Bank is a walkway consisting of forty triangular gates. As visitors walk underneath these gates and through them, the gates respond with audio and visually illuminate. The artwork is highly interactive and encourages visitors to 'play'. This is one of my highlights of the event.



Reflektor (Studio Roso)
Inspired by art, design, and architecture, 'Reflektor' is a multi-faceted piece suspended two storeys up in mid-air between buildings off St. James' Market. The piece is illuminated from within, casting reflections and shadows on the nearby buildings and ground below. It is an eye-catching piece and one of the most visually-interesting of London Lumiere 2018.



Sixty Minute Spectrum (David Batchelor)
The Hayward Gallery on South Bank is transformed into a work of art with several glowing pyramids placed on its rooftop. The pyramids colours gradually shift in a 60-minute cycle, starting and ending each hour in red. I caught them in dark blue, which then switched to deep purple by the time that I had walked around the opposite side of the building.


The Light of the Spirit (Patrice Warrener)
Westminster Abbey comes to life again through colour during the second installation of London Lumiere. I covered this installation during London Lumiere 2016 (covered here). It quickly became a favourite due to the fact that it photographs very well. This installation is created by using filters of different colours and projecting them onto the facade of the abbey. It highlights the architecture. In fact, sculptures (like the ones on the side of the abbey) were always painted in the past in some parts of the world. This illumination and colour brings the abbey to life in a way that we do not see every day. As always, this is a beautiful piece and is just as stunning as it was two years ago. This year, we also had the bonus of both the west side (the original side) being lit up along with the northern gate, which has been added to the artwork. This is one of the highlights for the second time, so do not miss it.






Child Hood (Collectif Coin)
Trafalgar Square has been transformed into a sea of floating luminous white balloons. This is a simple installation covering a large area with the balloon-spheres glowing and dimming depending on the movements of the wind and kinetic energy around them. The changing of the luminosity of the balloons fluctuates, and the moment is shared by an atmospheric soundscape. Although large on scale and one of the largest in the event this year, I did not feel that this one was memorable.


Flamingo Flyway (Lantern Company with Jo Pocock)
Floating and flapping their way down the streets of Chinatown are a flock of pink flamingos that rise above the crowds. At times, the luminous flamingos interact with the crowds below. Flamingos are migratory birds, and this parallels the ancient migrations of humans across the world a long time ago, and this mimics travel. The colourful birds also naturally fit into Chinatown, so this is well-placed.



Spectral (Katarzyna Malejka and Joachim Slugocki)
This installation is created using lights and coloured threading to create sharp angles and shapes. This artistic duo created a similar piece for Canary Wharf's Winter Lights in 2016, which I covered here. The horizontal lines provide a stark contrast with the nature elements of Grosvenor Park, illuminated with bright colours. It is a striking piece that bends itself around the trees in the park. It's a little under-whelming when entering from the western gate, but entering from the eastern gate is more of an immersive experience.


Frictions (Mader Wiermann)
This projection onto a building on Regent Street explores architecture, and it is set to a soundtrack. The artist has uses geometric shapes to manipulate the building's fabric. These patterns and shapes create an illusion to make it appear as though the building is actually moving. 


Echelle (Ron Haselden)
A simple pink ladder is the subject of this installation. The ladder is a means of escape, but it also allows the viewer to climb high. The ladder is placed onto the spire of St. Martin-in-the-Fields church in Trafalgar Square.


Supercube (Stephane Masson)
'Supercube' is a highly interactive installation that will appeal to people who enjoy social media and documenting their life through selfies. The installation is a cube filled with rows of glass jars on three of the sides, and these jars have images projected onto them. Music with lyrics is played, and I heard English being played in one visit and French in a second visit. The song was sang in a catchy-but-naive tone and talked about people going to university and coming out "all the same", but it also celebrated individuality (or people obsessed with selfies) by giving the viewer the chance to look into a camera and have their photograph projected into the jars and into a larger jar on the opposite side. This is actually a fun installation and captured a lot of interest, so this is not one to miss.



Footfalls for Rambert (David Ward)
David Ward and Rambert's company of dancers collaborated on this artwork. The artwork features photographed images of a dancer's feet and the relationship of the foot to the surface. These are shot individually and then animated.


Harmonic Portal (Chris Plant)
Colour, sound and shape come together to create this 'portal' projected onto a brick wall. Three of these portals were located on Jermyn Street behind St. James' Church, and I missed them the first night because the app erroneously listed them as located in the church. These installations were hyptnotising and used the texture of the old bricks as a part of the artwork. They gradually cycle through different colours with a consistent humming sound.




Asalto London (Daniel Canogar)
A building in Victoria has several large people scaling up it to reach the top. Do not worry for these are merely illuminated people projected onto the scaffolding of the building. The video plays recordings of people crawling to mimic the climb to the top, and some help each other while others carry a baby. The delay on this illumination is a little too long to wait, and I found the scenes to be very repetitive.


Be Faithful To Your Dreams (Tracey Emin)
Tracey Emin brought The Connaught Christmas Tree (covered here) to life last year with her neon phrases, and she had used neon as a medium again for this London Lumiere 2018 installation above the doorway into St. James' Church. This is an inspiring phrase that everyone should follow to realise their full potential. The work is similar to London Lumiere 2016's neon sign installation by Beth J. Ross, which was placed at the entrance of the nearby arcade.


Thames Pulse (Jason Bruges)
A permanent exhibition, 'Thames Pulse' is located on the Sea Containers building along the South Bank (next to Blackfriar's Bridge). The art installation uses data obtained from the river to reflect the health of the river, which is then portrayed via the lights on the building (the hotel). Its purpose is to highlight water conditions and environmental causes.


Voyage (Camille Gross and Leslie Epsztein)
The journey through time and space is illustrated in this animation projected onto a building at Piccadilly Circus, which has a Victorian and time travel theme. It is beautifully created, showing stars, clocks, moving gears, historical landmarks, and cityscapes. I loved the "steampunk" feeling of this piece with its clocks and Eiffel Towers. Beautifully created and accommpanied by its own reflective and melodic soundtrack, it is one of the highlights of London Lumiere 2018.




Control No Control (Daniel Iregui)
'Control No Control' is an interactive experience with sound and LED lights positioned onto a cube. Visitors can use their body to manipulate the graphics produced to create different shapes and patterns. The cube has different geometry and pattern sequences that it cycles through, giving users the option to create their own interpretation.


Lampounette (TILT)
The desk lamp is now portrayed in giant form, adding colour and a sense of space to the street; it also reminded me of the logo for a popular animation film studio. The light emitting from the lamps gradually changes to become a new bright colour, such as blue, green, pink, red, yellow, or turquoise. These lined the pathway from King's Cross to Granary Square and were difficult to photograph with the crowds. For Lumiere London 2016, this group were responsible for bringing Leicester Square to life by transforming it into a garden.


A-BIT Immersive (Imagination London)
Inspired by 8-bit games of the 1980s is this "ping pong" game projected onto a building on Store Street. A round dot is the ball, and the object of the game is to block it from going past the outter extremities of the projection. The teams are blue and red, and if it does pass through, the goal is claimed by the opposing team with the facade of the building lighting up in that colour. This is an interactive piece where the visitors enable the bars to block the balls based on movement. (Note that the sound in the video clip posted below is from the 'Cosmoscope' installation, which is located next to this one.) 


Droplets (Ulf Pedersen)
'Droplets' is inspired by droplets of water falling into a still pool of water. Located in a dark square in Fitzrovia, the drops of water are lit up almost one-by-one, accompanied by melodic tones and dripping noises as if these are actual water droplets. The droplets light up randomly, one at a time, creating different patterns.


Neon Bikes (Robyn Wright)
The simple but popular design of the bicycle is celebrated here in a fun neon sign. The neon bicycles are provided in red, white, and blue colours. (Although they are not three-dimensional, I still witnessed some numpty getting told off because he tried to sit on one.)


Illumaphonium (Michael Davis)
This is a musical sculpture that has light-changing patterns. The sculpture contains several flowing bars arranged, and each one makes a sound when tapped or struck with one of the hammers provided. It is a very interactive piece that moves and encourages play as interacting with it provides instant feedback and gratification to the viewer/participator. This was highly interactive and changed with each experience. It is very fun and one that should not be missed.


[M]ondes (Atsara)
Overlapping sound and fading lights appear and disappear in the dark Mount Street Gardens. I wll describe this as an eerie installation because it stars of flickering light float in the atmosphere around viewers while small shapes of light are transferred onto nearby walls. Meanwhile, hyptnotic sounds overlap and play into the square while the lights fade and 'twinkle'. This is an immersive piece that is primarily sound and well-placed in the darkness of the Mount Street Gardens. I've heard two people call this their favourite piece in the area, so it is one that should not be missed.


Cosmoscope (Simeon Nelson with Rob Godman and Nick Rothwell)
This is a light and sound sculpture that has been inspired by molecules, the human heart, and the universe. It is a collaboration between scientists and artists. The sculpture lights up with primarily red LED lights intermittently, and this is accompanied by an immersive soundscape.



Origin of the World (Miguel Chevalier)
Towering above Oxford Circus, 'Origin of the World' is certainly one of the highlights of London Lumiere 2018. It is a large globe suspended between the buildings in the middle of Oxford Circus. It glows with multiple colours and patterns. Sometimes these patterns are pixelated, and sometimes they are fluid and reminscent of lava lamps and 1970's pop art. The artwork responds to movement from the viewers around it. The large sphere is surreal and reminded me of planet Earth in some of the patterns.



Northern Lights (Aleksandra Stratimirovic)
This installation is inspired by the ever-changing glow of the northern lights, a phenomenon that your writer has never received the chance to witness yet. The lines of light fade and change shape to create the ebbing glows. Unfortunately, I think that this one would have looked nicer over a reflection of water instead of inside dark Grosvenor Square. I had actually approached from the opposite side of the square and was told that there was only one entrance and three exits, even though only a few people were visiting when I did.


Bough (Simon Corder)
Vivid and colourful tubes of light are attached to the building, creating colourful abstract shapes as they climb up. The lights are stationary and very colourful. There are two sets on display at Lumiere, and I am unsure if they are permanent pieces. One is located on the OXO Tower, and the other is located on a buiding in Mayfair. The ones on the OXO Tower actually reminded me of lightsabres.



Was That a Dream? (Cedric Le Borgne)
This is an illiuminated sculpture of a bird in Berkley Square. It was accommpanied by the song " Nightingale Sang in Berkley Square" (I'm pretty sure that it is the Frank Sinatra version), which is a lovely song and a song that I always hum to myself when I am around Berkley Square. This is the first time that I've ever seen a bird here, though. Perhaps the artist is envisioning the paradise of the romance (or wanted romance) as "too good to be true" or a dream. In Lumiere London 2016, the artist was responsible for creating several figures in different poses, which were placed around Grosvenor Square.


The Umbrella Project (Cirque Bijou)
This is a roaming installation during London Lumiere, and it is a choreographed performance featuring LED umbrellas that change colour. I happened to discover them on Piccadilly Street near Piccadilly Circus, and apparently they are in various parts of Mayfair and Fitzrovia during the four days as well.


Waterlicht (Daan Roosegaarde)
One of the highlights of London Lumiere 2018 for me was this immersive installation, featuring a haze of blue waves of light (with plumes of smoke leashed above the crowds) engulfing the atmosphere. The installation highlights the issues of global warming and rising sea levels, and the blue immersive waves can represent water. The installation also includes a soundtrack, which can be listened to on a mobile app.



OSC-L (Ulf Langheinrich)
The National Theatre has become a work of art along the South Bank skyline. The tower is illuminated with a projection that reacts with the brutalist architecture of the building. The projected lines help to add movement to the tower.


Love Motion (Rhys Coren)
Projected onto the facade of the Royal Academy on Piccadilly Street is this short animation and story of two lovers who kiss, dance, and embrace to a slow soundtrack. The figures are stylised in a simplified manner and appear to be cut out from paper shapes.


Grabber (Mader Wiermann)
Cranes create cities, and King's Cross has been transforming for the past few years now, making cranes a familiar sight. Perched high on a crane is a white sheet with projections illuminated onto it on both sides. The animation is a playful one, featuring various cranes with their hooks, picking up items and sometimes fighting over them, dropping them, or passing them to other cranes. It also reminded me of "claw" machines where the user tries to grab a toy and successfully pass it into the dispenser.


Aquarium (Benedetto Bufalino and Benoit Deseille)
The ever-popular 'Aquarium' has returned for a second time at London Lumiere. It first premiered in London Lumiere 2016 (covered here) and was very popular, but it was so popular that they had to close it to visitors due to the crowds. The simple British telephone box has been transformed into an aquarium with fish, and it was located a bit further away in Seven Dials this year, but it still drew in the crowds.


Bottle Festoon (Community Partners across London Boroughs)
Various community groups have volunteered their time to create chandeliers out of used plastic bottles. These are lit up with lights. Several of these were on display across the different locations.


Guardian Angel (Maro Avrabou & Dimitri Xenakis)
Nature and gardening is an important aspect of urban settings, and this sculpture pays homage to it. These plastic watering cans are suspended in mid-air and are transformed at dark with a brightly-coloured glow with silvery lines coming out of their mouths. This is certainly an eye-catching piece.


Entre Les Rangs (Rami Bebawi / Kanva)
Fields of wheat blowing in the breeze have inspired this artwork in a square north of King's Cross. The plastic reflectors appear to be flowers in a field, and they change colour and reflect at different intervals as the lights move. This is an immersive piece, allowing visitors to walk amongst the installation and pose for photographs. It is another one of the highlights for Lumiere London 2018.



Aether (Architecture Social Club with Max Cooper)
Designed by a collective of arcitechts, technicans, designers, and poets, this light and sound installation works together to create various forms and colours reacting with each other. I saw spots of colour and cubes being formed and then collapsed in conjunction with the audio.


Impulse (Lateral Office and CS Design produced by L4 Studio and Wireframe Studio)
These illuminated and musical seesaws made an appearance last January in Leicester Square in order to brighten the mood. They have returned for Lumiere to offer visitors the chance to target their inner child. The seesaws glow and make musical sounds when used.


Eye Love London (Coca Cola London Eye)
The London Eye has taken its place amongst the illuminated buildings during London Lumiere 2018. The colours cycle around the wheel to create different combinations and then playing on the "I love" theme. I've seen The London Eye illuminated many times before, but I enjoyed seeing it and most of London's buildings illuminated over the past few days.


Deconstructing the Domestic (Nathanial Rackowe)
Nathaniel Rackowe has produced light and form installations for previous London events, such as Sculpture in the City (the most recent 2017 edition is posted here) and the previous London Lumiere. The installations on show were similar to what was shown in Sculpture in the City with his 'deconstruction' pieces. The work features various common urban pieces used in building and construction, deconstructed and illuminated in some manner.


IFO (Identified Flying Object) (Jacques Rival)
IFO is a permanent installation at King's Cross, and it also featured in London Lumiere 2016's line-up. The installation is in the shape of a giant rainbow-coloured birdcage, complete with a little swing inside; it is powered during the day and then transformed into light at night. I love this piece as it is colourful, and the rainbow colours are always shifting and circling around the cage.


Raspberry Ripple (Emma Allen)
This pink neon glow appears to be a neon sign. It is playful but can also take on any meaning that the viewer gives it. Personally, I picture ice creams at the seaside with raspberry sauce. The text is located on South Bank and projected onto a building, but it looked very fuzzy and was not easy to photograph.


My Light is Your Light (Alaa Minawi)
This installation features several stick-like figures standing in the same direction with their heads held low. The figures represent refugees who have had to flee their homes to migrate to safer places across the world.


DOT (Philippe Morvan)
DOT is accompanied by a soundscape composed by Soloman Gray for Lumiere London. The installation's 175 lightbulbs react with the soundscape, changing into different patterns and shapes by lighting and dimming onto the long horizontal canvas. This is a piece that is immersive and better to experience in person.


Nightlife (Lantern Company with Jo Pocock)
Leicester Square is transformed into a natural mystical garden with illuminated wildlife, butterflies, flowers, and plants. The fountain in the middle of the square has been transformed into a pond with toads and lillies. This installation is very similar to London Lumiere 2016's exhibition in Leicester Square, which also displayed illuminated flowers and plants. It is one of the highlights of this year's London Lumiere.




Shaida Walking (Julian Opie)
Featured at London Lumiere 2016 (covered here), 'Shaida Walking' is a permanent sculpture of a walking lady in Carnaby Street. It is created at approximately a normal height to a person so that we can feel a connection with it.


The Plug and Bulbs (James Glancy)
These sculptures have brightened up the Carnaby Street area for a few years now. The bulbs are a newer addition to the area, but the plug on Ganton Street has been around for several years now, and I usually cover it in Christmas posts as they decorate the plug. The bulbs are rows of lightbulbs that are bright in colour and change colour. These are permanent installations.


Ruby, Santiago & Adam: Grey Matters (Emma Allen)
Three short clips shown in Leake Street tunnel celebrate three individuals. The artist uses faces as a canvas to tell stories. Each of the three clips follow a different theme. 'Ruby' shows a young woman who grows older, then her face is transformed into a skull and then stars/dust. 'Santiago' shows the evolution of humans and a digital future. 'Adam' shows a person suffering from neurological disorder.


Upperground (Maya Mouawad and Cyril Laurier)
'Upperground' is projected onto a permanent installation located in the subway to King's Cross underground station. The idea of the installation is to bring the natural world on the upper-ground to the underground. In addition, it will visualise real-time weather data to connect users with the current weather conditions. It continuously changes colour and speed to respond to temperature and wind. I've seen it lit up in different weather conditions, but my most recent visit was the first time that I have seen it coloured white and moving very quickly; I suppose that this was as a result of the wind and cold temperatures.


Overall, it was an event-filled couple of evenings, and I am now nursing sore feet and tired legs from all of the walking. I did find that some of the installations were under-whelming this year when compared to the previous year that London hosted it, but there were a couple of real gems. Have you been to visit London Lumiere this year, or did you visit it in the past?

Street Art Round-Up January, 2018

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The last time that I was in east London to look at street art was in mid-November, and I went back last weekend in order to see what had changed in east London's street art world. I know that the street art community in this area has changed significantly due to the gentrification of the area. This post features several new street art pieces that I discovered including works by Pad, Frankie Strand, ThisOne, Eddie Colla, Samer, Captain Kris, and others. Unfortunately, there weren't any larger-scale pieces.


Pad painted a tribute to elephants, quoting endangered species.


The building on Chance and Whitby Streets was given new paint; it was painted white and then scribbled over with black paint. I am not sure who the artist is, but I can see the name "Sue" on one of the sides.


Frankie Strand and Elno collaborated on this piece with a snake and face.


Jim Zina creates paste-ups that usually feature women illustrated onto newspaper or menus. Some of them are framed, such as the one above.


Woskerski is a street artist who paints portraits with a bit of a sense of humour, such as this punk man dressed as Santa and flipping the middle finger.



Street artist ThisOne is continuously adding new artwork to London's walls, and this is a very tasteful one on the side of this building off RedChurch Street.


Bonzai painted this 2018 street art on Great Eastern street.


Eddie Colla added this paste-up on Sclater Street.


I could not read the artist's name for the above piece.


This is an eye-catching mural on Great Eastern Street by John Beijer.


Captain Kris added a promotion for his show in December.


Samer added a colourful bird along with some work by grafitti artists.


Last, but not least, I discovered this tiles. One has mushrooms, and the other reads "I drink so others become interesting".

At the end of December, Fanakapan painted a mural on Hanbury Street using his glass animal style. The image depicts two glass geese following an animal (a fox perhaps), and the animal is holding a goose in its mouth. The background is blue with white lettering, which looks like the name of the American president and the branding and colours of the political party. According to the artist's Instagram, the piece is a political message as the president is not very popular. The artwork is titled "Follow the Leader". I don't like being reminded of the current events particularly and would have preferred a more comical piece that I've seen the artist make many times and have enjoyed.


Previous work by Fanakapan that has appeared on this blog can be seen by looking at the below links:

Peace for Manchester
Fanakapan Paints Shoreditch Clowns

Chrome Balloon Dog in Star Yard

Fanakapan Paints "Power Tools" on Village Underground Wall

Fanakapan Paints "Drunk Glass Elephants"
Fanakapan, Horror Crew, & Jerry Rugg
Louis Masai and Fanakapan: "Freedom?"
New Chrome Street Art Mask by Fanakapan
Balloon Animal Street Art
Cranio & Fanakapan
Fanakapan and Horror Crew

Pantone® 2018 Colour of the Year

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The Pantone® "colour of the year" has been decided, and next year is all about PANTONE 18-3838, better known as Ultra Violet. This is a warm purple shade that expresses mystery and intrigue. It is a colour of the night sky and a limitless colour expressing hope, originality, and inspiration for the future; it is also a colour used for spirituality and wealth. Last year's "colour of the year" was Greenery, which was a spring green colour that evoked a since of rebirth and hope.


Expect to see these colours used in the world of fashion, interior design, and other design over the next year, although I did not seen last year's colour used much in fashion. I believe that this year's colour is a more fashionable colour. Some past 'colours of the year' are listed below.

2017: Greenery

2016: Serenity & Rose Quartz

2015: Marsala

2014: Radiant Orchid

2013: Emerald

2012: Tangerine Tango

2011: Honeysuckle

1) Pantone®. [1 January, 2018].

At the end of each year, I take a look at the year in street art. I was lucky to be working on Brick Lane again, followed by Aldgate East, until the end of November. Because of this, I was able to see new street art appear regularly -- only, it didn't. This year was quiet for street art in Shoreditch, and we lost several great street art spots this year in the area. In fact, this was the deadest that I have ever seen Shoreditch's street art movement. Nonetheless, I will post a few pieces here that left an impact.


Vera Bugatti painted one of the largest and most different pieces at the start of the year. The piece, "Teratology", was located in Clerkenwell.


Pang, one of London's street artists that I have followed from the beginning several years ago, painted a mural "Carnival of the Weird".


Otto Schade was a regular contributer to London's street art scene with several murals, including this one on Hanbury Street, which tied into an existing sign.


Dale Grimshaw painted his tribal children portrait on Hanbury Street. Wasp Elder and Helen Bur also collaborated on walls. Jay Kaes, a London-based street artist, also painted quite a lot in the start of the year. Pedley Street was one of the walls he painted a couple of times.


The Village Underground walls also hosted a couple of great pieces, including the one by SER, "Sea of Knowledge". Sr.X also painted on this wall.


Tower Halmets Cemetery Park had at least two paint jams with various street artists to refresh the work here in Mile End with more environmental pieces. Fanakapan also painted glass clowns. Alex Senna also returned to London after a couple of years and painted a few new murals ahead of his exhibition and on Bacon and Hanbury Street.


Zabou painted a stunning piece, Frida 2, on Broadway Market.


Cosmo Sarson, who painted a breakdancing Jesus figure in Bristol, also visited east London and painted a breakdancing man on Pedley Street.


'Meeting of the Styles', which paints in Nomadic Community Gardens and off Brick Lane, returned later this year to refresh the walls in the garden. Airbourne Mark painted a series called "Origami Riots, and Fanakapan painted a tribute to Manchester after the terrorist attack at a concert. 


Lora Zombie visited London and painted some wonderful street art, but it did not last long before it was removed and replaced.


With the sadness of the fire at Grenfell Tower, Ben Eine returned to London and painted a fitting tribute based on a poem that had been written in relation to the event.


Some of the most stunning murals this year throughout London came from London-based street artist Dreph (the last mural in the series is here). He paints portraits of women who have contributed to society. These appeared throughout the year, and I absolutely love this series "You Are Enough". The women who are the subjects are heroes for sure, and we need more heroes today.


FalkoOne painted a herd of elephants across London.


Street artist Samer also painted at least a couple of walls in Shoreditch; both featured colourful birds. In Pedley Street, Samer painted a series of birds and a peacock was painted in New Inn Yard.


Australian-born street artist Ketones6000 also painted quite a few walls in London during the summer with bees and flowers. The bees were very detailed, and he painted a series of these.


Banksy made the news this year, and ahead of the Basquiat tour, work was created near the Barbican as a tribute in Basquiat's style merged with his own. I also visited the Basquiat exhibition this month with a work colleague, and it was an excellent exhibition giving tribute to the New York City street artist and musician. An older piece of Banksy's work (the snorting copper) also was rediscovered and repaired off Curtain Road.


In time for the beginning of autumn and Halloween, I was happy to see that Zabou updated her wall on The Bell pub. In fact, I kept walking past sure that she would be updating it, and it appeared overnight. This time, it features 'Alice in Wonderland'.


The best time of the year was in October when many artists were visiting for the Monkier Art Fair on Brick Lane, so several new pieces appeared. Ben Slow, TelmoMiel, and Dulk were a few of the artists who painted.


London-based Jim Vision was probably the busiest street artist in Shoreditch this year as he returned multiple times to brighten the walls. He created some stunning work across the area on many of the walls, and he also tried to repair the hedgehog by ROA off Chance Street with his native fighters, but the whole piece was destroyed beyond repair a few months later and painted over.


Belgian artist Juane created his stencil-based sanitation workers and put them up in Brick Lane where they interacted with the items already in place.


Fleur De Lis street became the scene of a paint jam, and artists are now regularly using these walls to paint on. 


What did you think about Shoreditch's street art this year? What were your favourite pieces? 

London Christmas Window Displays (2017)

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The Christmas window displays in London are one item that I look forward to seeing each year. I enjoy seeing how creative the displays are and if there are any themes used in the displays. This year, I visited the usual shops on and around Oxford Street and Regent Street (Selfridges, John Lewis, Debenhams, Liberty, Fortnum and Mason, and Hamleys) to see what they have in store for us this Christmas (no pun intended!).


First stop is Selfridges, and they used many Christmas party themes and large inflatible items (Santa and robin) in their shop windows to create more movement and interest. The first corner of the building (the one opposite to the food hall entrance) has now been transformed into the centrepiece, featuring a giant inflatible Santa, which spins. The previous centrepiece corner window (at the side of Marks and Spencer) is now downgraded this year. Some of the settings depict people with a giant cracker, a Christmas float, a dinner party, and other scenes. The colours used are red with gold and blue.





On the food hall side of the building, we have lower-key London landmarks constructed out of different blue and silver shades, and I loved these and thought that they really rivaled the main window displays. 


Hamleys always have fantastic displays with their stuffed toys, and their windows are always so crazy-packed with children and adults photographing them that I try my best to avoid that whole area of the street. It's just too busy. In the past, it's been so busy that I've had to walk in the road to get around everyone. (Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if they want to move to Oxford Street once it is pedestrianised.) This year, I was around during the day and managed to avoid the nasty weekend crowds.


Fortnum and Mason went a bit abstract, exaggerated, and cartoonish with their series of mis-matched animals in over-the-top scenes this year. There was not a key feature window. 



Liberty was not worth photographing this year as they had simple window displays with the rooftops of old buildings (spires, Tudor-style timbers, etc). I was disappointed and did not feel that they deserved to be placed here this year because it was low-key. I also felt the same about John Lewis, Debenhams, and others.

Overall, I felt that this year was toned down on the Christmas window displays, and the only one worth really noting is Selfridges this year, even though it is not my favourite. The inflatible round Santa Claus and bopping robin were quite cute and grabbed my attention.

Previous write-ups about London's shop windows over Christmas can be read here:

This evening, Mount Street Lights took place in Mayfair, which was also the evening where The Connaught hotel illuminated their annual Christmas tree and businesses in the area had special opening hours and prizes/treats for shoppers. This year, the Christmas tree in front of the Connaught Hotel is designed by artist Tracey Emin. The tree is illuminated with soft pink neon glowing words, which create sentences. Her works usually exhibit her personal successes, failures, and other milestones in her life.


The Connaught Christmas tree is becoming a London art attraction as demonstrated in previous years when the tree was designed by Antony Gormley and Damien Hirst.




Previous Connaught Christmas trees that I covered on my blog are below:

Carnaby Christmas Carnival

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Each year, Carnaby Street host fantastic Christmas lights that are different every year. In the past, we have seen Carnaby Christmas Revolution, Carnaby Christmas PartyrobinsSanta, and Rolling Stones (rock and roll). This year's theme is "Carnaby Christmas Carnival" and transforms Carnaby Street into a tropical and colourful festival complete with giant parrots, palm trees, shimmery floats, and confetti. Early each Christmas season, Carnaby Street hosts a Christmas party with discounts on area businesses, and this coincides with the light switch-on.





A nice touch is the plug outlet sculpture on Ganton Street, which is always transformed into the Christmas light theme.


Kingly Court on Carnaby Street hosts a fantastic selection of restaurants, cafes, and drinking venues and is filled with a rainbow of lights this year.

To see previous Carnaby Street Christmas lights in my blog, see the below posts:


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