Illuminated River competition under scrutiny

Chris Ofili ‘invisible ripples’ London Bridge. Pic: MRC and Adjaye Associates

(UK) – London bridges illumination plan receives criticism from lighting design community.

The six shortlisted lighting schemes of the Illuminated River design competition – which plans to use the winning scheme to illuminate London’s river bridges – have received negative feedback from some members of the lighting design community.

The international design competition is run by The Illuminated River Foundation and the Mayor of London. Each team has created a concept design for lighting four individual bridges (Chelsea, London, Waterloo and Westminster) and an overarching masterplan for the main road, rail and pedestrian bridges between Albert and Tower.

Initially, the jury – who are to pick the winner in December – was void of any lighting design professionals (aside from Artist James Turrell), which was expressed as a cause for concern by lighting specialists.

Subsequently, in response to the criticism, the organisers of the contest have announced that a supporting panel has been set up to assist the jury. Representing lighting designers, the supporting panel will feature Mark Major, principal at Speirs + Major.

The plans were submitted by notable design teams from around the world, including Adjaye Associates, Arup, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, light artist Leo Villareal, Sam Jacob Studio and Les Eclairagistes Associates.

Members of the public will be able to view the designs at the Royal Festival Hall in London for the next month to form their own opinions and a winner will be announced on 8 December.