Leo Villareal’s 'Illuminated River' Adds Westminster and Lambeth Bridges

Source Credit:  Content and images from Ocula Magazine.  Read the original article - https://ocula.com/magazine/art-news/leo-villareals-illuminated-river-project/

Spread over a five kilometre stretch of the River Thames, the project has been described as the longest public artwork in the world.

Leo Villareal, Illuminated River (2018–2021) from London Bridge to Lambeth Bridge © Leo Villareal.

Two more London bridges are now lit up as part of the Illuminated River project. Using LED lighting designed by American artist Leo Villareal, the project aims to visually connect the city’s iconic bridges through subtle lighting sequences and colour schemes conceived to showcase the architecture and history of each bridge.

Westminster Bridge’s latticework is now illuminated with soft green hues, evoking the green benches of the House of Commons’ debating chamber, while Lambeth Bridge’s red glow reflects the red benches of the chamber in the nearby House of Lords. This extends the theme in the paintwork of both bridges, which has long symbolised Britain’s two-chamber parliamentary system.

Leo Villareal. Courtesy Leo Villareal Studio.

‘The illumination of Westminster and Lambeth bridges brings a fresh new spirit and atmosphere to the political centre of London that will transform this part of the Thames as we begin, gradually, to ease out of the challenges of the last 12 months,’ said Lord Neil Mendoza, Chair of the Illuminated River Foundation.

These latest unveilings brings the total number of bridges illuminated through the project to nine. The first four bridges—London, Cannon Street, Southwark, and Millennium—were lit up in 2019, with Blackfriars Road, Waterloo, and the Golden Jubilee Footbridge added earlier this year.

Villareal created designs for 17 bridges on the Thames in his winning proposal, submitted in partnership with architects Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands, for the Illu­min­ated River Inter­na­tion­al Design Com­pet­i­tion, which launched in June 2016. The Illuminated River Foundation says the project is now complete, but there is capacity to expand it ‘on a bridge-by-bridge basis’.

Leo Villareal, Illuminated River (2018–2021). Cannon Street Bridge, July 2019 © James Newton.

Spread over five kilometres, the Illuminated River Foundation describes the project as ‘the longest public art commission in the world’.

Aside from seed funding of £500,000 from the City of London and £250,000 from the mayor’s office, the £31m required to install the installations and maintain them for a decade has come from philanthropy kickstarted by Hannah and Jacob Rothschild, who first conceived the Illuminated River project.

Represented by Pace Gallery, Villareal has extensive experience producing large-scale illuminations of civic landmarks. In 2013, for instance, he lit up San Francisco’s Bay Bridge with 25,000 white LEDs for The Bay Lights project. —[O]

Source Credit:  Content and images from Ocula Magazine.  Read the original article - https://ocula.com/magazine/art-news/leo-villareals-illuminated-river-project/