Dezeen Magazine

The installation aims to constantly adapt to the riverscape and its surroundings

Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands and Leo Villareal "enliven the atmosphere of Thames" with Illuminated River installation

Architecture studio Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands has collaborated with New York artist Leo Villareal to create a light installation that spans nine bridges in London.

Shortlisted in the architectural lighting design category at this year's Dezeen Awards, the LED installation was installed across nine bridges on a 3.2-mile stretch of the River Thames in central London.

Illuminated River installation
The Illuminated River installation was installed in London

Commissioned by the Illuminated River Foundation, the installation utilises custom software that accesses each LED pixel independently to create a series of never-repeated patterns on the underside of the bridges' spans and sides.

The lighting was installed on rail, road and pedestrian bridges including the Foster + Partners-designed Millennium Bridge, Giles Gilbert Scott-designed Waterloo Bridge and the Golden Jubilee Footbridge, which was also designed by Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands.

Illuminated River
Illuminated River spans nine bridges

The sequenced patterns of the lighting installation were designed to reference the activity on and along the banks of the river, while the colours were chosen as a nod to the shades of Impressionist and English Romanticist painters, "combining art and architecture".

"The artwork draws on the natural and social activity of the embankments, the kinetic energy of the water – barges, boats, cars, pedestrians, trains, and rising and falling tides," said the charity Illuminated River Foundation.

Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands and Villareal worked with animal protection organisations including the London Wildlife Trust, Zoological Society of London, Thames Estuary Partnership and London Biodiversity Forum to "ensure the Illuminated River has a positive effect on fish, bird and bat populations".

"We took great care to reduce energy/light spill compared with existing installations, radically improving the environment for birds, bats and aquatic species," said the Illuminated River Foundation.

Illuminated River light installation
The lighting constantly updates

Illuminated River is shortlisted at this year's Dezeen Awards alongside the Theatre Royal Drury Lane by BDP, Yabuli China Entrepreneurs Forum by Brandston Partnership and Sensasia Stories Spa Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates by Studio N.

The photography is by James Newton unless stated.

More images

Aerial photograph of Illuminated River installation from Blackfriars to Lambeth Bridge
Photo by Jason Hawkes
Illuminated River installation