Courtesy of the Illuminated River Foundation / Leo Villareal, Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands and FuturePace.

American light artist Leo Villareal and architects Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands have won a competition to turn London’s bridges into a giant illuminated artwork.

Villareal and LDS’s ‘Current’ proposal for the Illuminated River competition – which will see the capital’s 17 bridges illuminated as a £20m permanent artist installation, funded through private donations – was picked from a shortlist of six proposals. It uses a kinetic colour spectrum created using data collected from the tide and pedestrian traffic.

‘Current’ – 3D Fly Through from The Illuminated River on Vimeo.

‘Their scheme is beautiful, ambitious and realisable but always considerate to the environment, lighting levels and energy conservation,’ said Hannah Rothschild, chair of the Illuminated River Foundation. ‘The jury is convinced that the winning team will transform the centre of London while remaining true to the spirit and integrity of the Thames and its communities.’

Illuminated River bridge installation by Leo Villareal and Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands
Chelsea Bridge, set aglow

Neither LDS nor Villareal are strangers to bridge projects. LDS designed the Hungerford footbridges (also known as the Golden Jubilee bridges), while Villareal turned the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge into an illuminated artwork in 2013 using 25,000 LEDs.

The winning team beat competition from architects Amanda Levete, David Adjaye and Sam Jacob to scoop the prize, and they’ll begin developing their concept with stakeholders and partners, including environmental agencies, next year.

‘Current’ is provisionally scheduled to switch on by 2020.

See all of the shortlisted proposals.

Read next: 7 artists in residence programmes in the city



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