London’s Illuminated River – creative concepts for the bridges of the Thames

London Illuminations

Bridges are at the heart of many a great city. They connect and they transport and they define an urban landscape, in a way that few other physical structures can.The bridges of London are a huge part of the capital’s landscape, criss-crossing the snaking route of the mighty Thames for generations. Now comes illuminated river, the most ambitious public art project of its kind, which aims to celebrate these iconic structures and put them literally in the spotlight as never before. This huge and ambitious project will cost about £20 million, of which half has already been raised but it will not be funded from the public purse but rather by independent donations from foundations or philanthropic individuals. 

Illuminated River

Every bridge from the Albert Bridge in the West to Tower bridge in the East will be a part of this magnificent installation lighting up these vital links across the river as darkness falls. Six spectacular proposals have been shortlisted from 105 entries. Teams of the best creative minds in architecture, design, planning and engineering across the globe have submitted their rationales and their visions for consideration. All of the ideas will be on public show at a free exhibition running for three weeks at the Royal Festival Hall until Tuesday 29 November. The winner will be chosen by a jury supported by a technical advisory panel and the results will be announced on Thursday December 8th

The project wants your feedback about these ideas, and you can go and see the proposals in situ at the Royal Festival hall or go on line and let the panel know what you think  through the survey at


A capital river

Hannah Rothschild, Chair of the Illuminated River Foundation, said today:  “Since the founding of London, the mighty Thames has been the city’s main artery, linking north and south, east and west, encouraging business, activity and recreation.  But at night, the river becomes a ribbon of darkness, a place that few enjoy and at odds with the ambition to make London a 24-hour city.  This project will bring light, energy, beauty and recreation to the river and at the flick of a switch, transform the city at night.”

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London said: “I am delighted that the Illuminated River Foundation has put these ideas on show. We believe that the Illuminated River Foundation will not only be a wonderful celebration of the River Thames, London’s vital artery, but will make a major contribution to the growing importance of London’s night time economy, underlining London as a world class city and a centre for creative industries.’
The proposals display a myriad of incredibly original high-tech ideas, styles and imaginative concepts, which will create a world class tourist attraction as well as showcase the river at the heart of our buzzing capital city.
Shortlisted proposals on show are

 Blurring Boundaries which would light up each bridge with a different stunning visual style in a smorgasbord of lighting effects travelling up the river.

Blurring Boundaries 

Check out their 3D fly by video here Blurring Boundaries

The Eternal story of the river Thames This concept takes it’s creative lead from the tides of the Thames lighting the underbellies of the bridges at low tide and their elevations at high tide.

The Eternal Story of the river Thames

Check out the 3D fly by video here The Eternal Story of the river Thames

Synchronizing the City; Its Natural and Urban Rhythms Concept number three will use vertical beams of light to draw the path of the river virtually in the sky.

Synchronising the City

Check out the 3D fly by video here Synchronizing the city

Current – Concept number four integrates light and movement to create colourful interplay with the river itself.


Check out the 3D fly by video here Current

A River Ain’t Too Much to Light – Idea number five proposes lighting the bridges up in sequence and would plant lamp posts within the river which emerge from the tide like an illuminated river pathway.


A River Ain’t Too Much to Ligh



 Check out the 3D fly by video here A River Ain’t Too Much to Light



               Thames Nocturne – This final concept proposes to create ribbons of light which will weave                                together forming a volume in space.


Thames Nocturne

                                           Check out the 3D fly by video here Thames Nocturne    

                                           THE ILLUMINATED RIVER EXHIBITION
                                            Level 3 and 4, Blue Side
                                            Royal Festival Hall
                                            Until 29 November 2016
                                            10am – 10pm



          It is hoped that this incredible display will be ready by 2018 and that it will add to the global reputation of                     London as a top destination for art, innovation, tourism and the creative industries.


                      The Illuminated River foundation is an independent charity, set up to lead and fund raise for the project     

                             with key partners across the capital.


Visit the exhibition or go on line at to fill in the on line survey.

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