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Exclusive: 10 dazzling light installations you’ll find at Lumiere London this month

Written by
Katie McCabe

Ah, January. Darker than the mould on your bathroom wall and twice as grim, right? Wrong. Things are going to be different for 2018. Why? Because Lumiere is returning after last year’s hiatus to fill London with luminescent playgrounds, interactive laser beams, flying flamingo lanterns and Tracey Emin’s neon art.

And it’s not just for show. There are fluorescent seesaws, lightwork gardens and sonic experiments. The festival is destined to clog up Insta feeds, but the organisers are keen for Londoners to experience the event with their eyes instead of their screens, and watch the city take on new, luminous forms.

More than 50 light installations will be beaming at different spaces across the capital from 5.30pm-10.30pm each night. And we’ve got the skinny on where to find the ones that haven’t been announced yet. 

King’s Cross

‘DOT’ by Philipe Morvan, 4 Pancras Square

This bank of 175 light bulbs will pulsate to a specially commissioned soundtrack, creating a shifting panorama of patterns in the square.

‘Lampounette’ by TILT, King’s Boulevard

These giant desk lamps poke fun at the business culture of King’s Cross. It’s like a surreal work dream that lasts four whole days.

‘Entre les Rangs’ by Rami Bebawi, Lewis Cubitt Park

Cut through a garden on a path filled with thousands of ‘flowers’ made from light reflectors. It’s ‘a tribute to fields of wheat that shimmer in the wind’. We’re watching you, Theresa.

West End 

‘Origin of the World Bubble 2018’ by Miguel Chevalier,
software by Cyrille Henry, Oxford Circus

Remember that giant orb that went rogue on Oxford Street? Well, once it’s all re-inflated, it will (eventually) come alive with psychedelic op art and pixellated images that will respond to the movements of pedestrians below. 

‘Be Faithful to Your Dreams’ by Tracey Emin, St James’s Church, Piccadilly

Emin sends an optimistic pep talk via her trademark neon cursive. Maybe People Like You Need to Fuck People Like Me just wasn’t church appropriate… 

‘My Light Is Your Light’ by Alaa Minawi, St James’s Churchyard

Palestinian artist Alaa Minawi responds to the experiences of Syrian refugees with this minimalist neon work. 

South Bank & Waterloo

‘The Wave’ by Vertigo, Queen Elizabeth Walkway

Have a ‘Battlestar Galactica’ moment as you walk through this glowing row of 40 triangles. The pointy gates will have a sonic and visual response as you stroll through, creating a beacon of light.


‘Illumaphonium’ by Michael Davis, Mount Street 

This beaming sculpture is activated by touch. Just grab a rod and make it sing.


‘Droplets’ by Ulf Pedersen, Fitzroy Place 

These six animated ‘water droplets’ are each tuned to a different note. Follow the melody at Fitzroy Place.


‘Cyclique’ by Collectif Coin, Trafalgar Square

A field of white orbs will be wobbling around in Trafalgar Square to create a ‘kinetic canopy’ of light. Balloons, but better. 

Lumiere London takes place across the city Jan 18-21. Find out more here.

Want to see the bright lights while sipping cocktails? No problem

How do you really feel about London? Take the Time Out City Life Index survey and fill us in. 

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