There are so many things I love about London but one of the greatest things is the enthusiasm Londoners and tourists have for all things London. Put an event on in London (particularly a free one!) and you can absolutely guarantee Londoners and visitors alike will flock to it. Think London 2012, New Years Eve Fireworks, anything involving the royal family. What ever the weather the crowds will come. (remember that bitterly cold April day for the Diamond Jubilee river pageant that nearly wiped out the most elderly member of the Royal Family with a bladder infection!).
Four evenings last week Central London was illuminated. Across 30 iconic locations extravagant light installations were dazzling all those who saw them. From Piccadilly to Mayfair and Kings Cross to Trafalgar, lights danced across the night sky bringing to life some of London’s most recognisable landmarks and presenting London in a staggeringly different light.
As with all things London, Lumiere London grew in popularity by the day (or night). It’s a sprawling city but when there’s something going on word spreads fast. We went along on the extremely chilly last evening of the event, which was probably a good move as the night before crowds had been so huge that it reportedly been extremely difficult to see anything. Things were much calmer when we went and we had no such problems.
We emerged from Oxford Circus Tube to be greeted by this wonderful creation called 1.8 London by Janet Echelman strung across Oxford Street . I was absolutely thrilled by this. I hadn’t studied the programme before we went (I’m more of the ‘lets just go and see whats it all about’ rather than ‘lets plan our route’ kinda girl) so I had no idea what we were going to see. However I recognised this instantly. A couple of years ago I had come across the artist Janet Echelman via a TED Talk I had seen, and had been completely blown away by it. Her art is inspired by fishing nets she first encountered during a trip to India. If you are at all interested then do listen to her TED talk, she has a great story to tell. This particular creation danced in the breeze and moved through a kaleidoscope of colour telling its own particular story.
These LED stick men jumped and acrobated (not sure that’s a word) across Liberty house. They were great fun and received cheers and claps from the gathered throngs each time they reached the finale of their electrifying routine.
Despite the noise of the crowd and the constant clicking of cameras and pointing of smart phones there was something very peaceful about these graceful, ghostly sea creatures floating above us all.Eventually the cold and our need for supper got the better of us and we finished our visit at the Garden of Light in Leicester Square. Giant plants and flowers glowing in the dark, paths lined with multi coloured trees of lights taking us away from the usual illuminated bill boards and street artists found in this touristy part of London.
The plug was eventually pulled and the lights went out at 10.30pm by which time we were safely home bathing in the after glow of an unexpectedly illuminating evening.