This is a spur of the moment type of post; when I end up with lots of images and nowhere to put them. I got reminded about the Lumiere London festival by the advertising on the bold awnings around Kings Cross Station. I had seen pieces of it in previous years but wanted to make a bit of effort to follow the trail this year.
So it turned in to a very cold Friday night excursion starting at Kings Cross and ending at Southbank. I didn’t see everything and missed out West London all together but was interesting just to experience central London with the roads closed and crowds a plenty. Normally that sort of behaviour is reserved for the Queen and the new years days parade. I did like the support from the Major of London but not sure if people really knew what they were looking at. Some people seemed to be excited by the crowd and though London did this every weekend.
So here is what I saw & liked (I saw a lot more but some were hard to capture and others didn’t capture my attention)
There were a lot of permanent installations included in the line up and a few repeats from previous years which was a little annoying to find out on route. Also a lot of the central London locations were more about the size wow than the interesting design concept. The app was helpful though for finding your way around and I think a lot of people did enjoy it, particularly the Westminster Abbey installation I managed to miss.
But before I managed to think too deeply on the show, Rosh said to me have you seen the Canary Wharf Winter Lights? So ever the inquisitive cat, the next Friday night I went for another cold walk, around the Winter Light’s festival in the Wharf.
So a smaller selection of installations than Lumiere but actually I spent about the same amount of time exploring the installations (travelling around excluded). There was a map and booklet to help you explore the wharf and the signage was pretty on point in terms of way-finding too. I think they missed out on some benefits as most of the wharf closes early so, there were crowds of people wondering what else to interact with. I usually prefer installations that interact with their environment and the backdrop of central London is pretty fantastic to compete with. BUT I think in terms of the installations themselves the Winter Lights was actually better. The concepts and the quality both seemed more thought out, with lots of the outdoor installations being interactive during the day and the night too.
Both festivals had an international selection of artists and some similarities with materials including projections, neon thread and use of sound. So I think smaller is better, when something like Lumiere gets too big the quality shrinks. However will the Wharf Winter Lights repeat a lot of the same installations next year? Well we shall just have to see won’t we.