In 2016 FuturePace assembled a collaborative project team for the Illuminated River Competition, including Architects Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands and American artist Leo Villareal. The brief asked for ‘ideas to transform the capital with a unified kinetic light installation across Central London’s bridges that would connect, celebrate and capture the spirit of the Thames and its diverse communities.’
The competition attracted 105 submissions from around the world. The winning proposal impressed the interdisciplinary jury with Villareal’s ambitious plan to enhance each bridge’s history and characteristics, while creating a single cohesive artwork over the Thames. The creative approach immediately flipped the brief by placing the artist as the lead creative. The context for this distinctive approach was informed by Futurecity’s previous cultural strategic work with districts along the Thames, and provided valuable knowledge of the areas’ local plans and greater Londonambitions.
A deep awareness of and sensitivity towards the natural environment, public space and architectural heritage informed this new icon for London to be the embodiment of innovative collaboration.
Millennium Bridge, Southwark Bridge, Cannon Street Railway Bridge and London Bridge were turned on in July 2019 in the first of four phases until completion in 2022.