Thames Bridges Will Light Up With One Of These Bold Designs

Will Noble
By Will Noble Last edited 25 months ago

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Thames Bridges Will Light Up With One Of These Bold Designs

Bridges spanning the Thames in central London will be lit up in bold new after-dark schemes from 2018, thanks to innovative project, The Illuminated River.

A shortlist of six international teams — representing Asia, Europe, North America and South America — have submitted ideas for illuminating four London crossings (Chelsea, London, Waterloo and Westminster) and an 'overarching masterplan' for the main road, rail and pedestrian bridges between Albert and Tower bridges.

You can see images and videos of the proposed designs in a free exhibition at the Royal Festival Hall from 9 November.

Here's a taster of what to expect:

Blurring Boundaries

Adjaye Associates' designs include this rather dramatic pretty-fication of London Bridge.

See full proposal.

The Eternal Story of the River Thames

AL_A want to "reveal the river as a breathing, pulsing organism". It's not just the bridges that get the light treatment here, but the fringes of the river too.

Images (c) MRC and AL_A.

See full proposal.

Synchronizing the City: Its Natural and Urban Rhythms

As the sun sets, the bridges along the Thames will slowly "fill with light like a vessel with liquid, until they are full". The huge beams of light, meanwhile, are described as a 'night kiss', although remind us somewhat of the Blitz.

Images (c) MRC and Diller Scofidio + Renfro.

See full proposal.


Villareal's proposal is perhaps the subtlest — although it'll still look striking when you're coming into land at Heathrow.

Images (c) MRC and Leo Villareal and Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands.

See full proposal.

A River Ain't Too Much To Light

The bridges would be lit one by one, by Les Éclairagistes Associés. A nice touch — although is it just us, or have they basically used the Tricolore here?

Images (c) MRC and Les Éclairagistes Associés.

See full proposal.

Thames Nocturne

Live data taken from the Thames is used to create an "ethereal display that ebbs and flows in register with the river." We're not quite sure what those Georgians are doing on the riverbank.

Images (c) MRC Sam Jacob Studio and Simon Heijdens

See full proposal.

You can share your views on the project via a survey at the exhibition, although the final winner will be selected by a jury of designers, technicians and others.

The winning team will be announced on 8 December, and the first stage of the project will start in 2018.

The Illuminated River exhibition is on level 3 and 4 of Blue Side, Royal Festival Hall, from 9-29 November 2016, 10am-10pm daily. Entry is free.

Last Updated 07 November 2016