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Four major London bridges just got a stunning makeover

James Manning

Did you notice the river looking a little snazzier than usual last night? Yesterday evening, the switch was flicked on the first stage of a major art project that’ll transform the Thames at night.

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Illuminated River

Photograph: James Newton, taken from One Blackfriars

The epic Illuminated River scheme will install brand new lighting – designed by artist Leo Villareal and architecture studio Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands – on all of the 15 bridges from Tower Bridge to Albert. So far London, Cannon Street, Southwark and Millennium Bridges have been given a shiny new look, which is set to stay in place for the next decade.

Illuminated River – Southwark Bridge

Photograph: James Newton

It’s not just about making the Thames even prettier, either: the foundation behind the project says that the new lighting will reduce the energy usage of these first four bridges by 18 percent.

Illuminated River: Cannon Street Bridge

Photograph: James Newton

There’s a series of events to celebrate the big switch-on: after-dark tours by foot, boat and black cab; nocturnal mudlarking; and special musical pieces performed beside the river. Or just head down and see the lights every night until 2am. Never mind Amsterdam: it’s time to celebrate our own city of bridges.

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