News / Architecture

Light artist Leo Villarreal wins Illuminated River competition to light up London’s bridges


Leo Villareal and Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands: A computer-generated image of The Illuminated River Overview

A team led by American light artist Leo Villarreal and British architects and urban planners Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands, has been announced winners of the Illuminated River international design competition by Mayor of London, Sadie Khan.

The design commission that will illuminate the bridges along the River Thames received 105 submissions from 20 countries around the world, the shortlisted entries were announced in November. The winning team will now begin to develop their concepts, collaborating with stakeholders and partners, alongside a consultation with the public. Their scheme proposes a kinetic rhythm of light across each of the bridges, with a design that aims to be “sensitive and site specific”. A rhythm will be created using code to monitor and respond to the flows of both the river and pedestrians crossing the bridge, and this information will be translated into a lighting installation.

The winning team includes Future/Pace, Atelier Ten, Beckett Rankine, Bradley Hemmings, Core Five, Futurecity, Greenwich + Docklands International Festival, Montagu Evans, Pentagram and Price & Myers. They will begin the work in 2017.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan praised the competition saying, “We saw an incredible response to this fascinating competition, showing that London continues to inspire creatives from around the globe, and is open to all. There were some spectacular ideas, and I can’t wait to see the winning design light up the Thames.”


Chris Gascoigne: Royal Victoria Dock Bridge


Tim James: Hungerford Bridge