Chez l'abeille

Culture. Travel. Writing. My world in words and pictures

The Streets of London: “Lumiere London”


The sudden plunging temperature and a general sense of January malaise had descended over Chez L’Abeille when out of the ether came a glimmer of light – Lumiere London.

For four chilly winter nights the street of London have been bathed in neon lights and beautiful projections. I went along with three equally layered up friends to the Piccadilly, Regent Street and Mayfair section on the Thursday opening night. We were  completely enchanted by both the lights and the convivial atmosphere. On this near freezing mid-January night, London behaved like it was on holiday. Everywhere we walked, people helped each other with hard to find locations and just chatted about the artworks. How unlike our usual grumpy selves we all were; there was clearly magic in the air.

Luminéoles by Porté par le vent

Les Lumineoles floating in a musical dreamspace

The main roads around Piccadilly and Mayfair were closed which meant there was lots of space to stand and wonder at the spectacle and beauty of the installations. My particular favourites were KeyFrames in Regent Street and Les Luminéoles in Piccadilly. Both were mesmerising for different reasons. Les Luminéoles is a floating, dreamlike piece, using more traditional puppetry skills and human operators (who battled well in the brisk wind that was freezing us half to death!). KeyFrames on the other hand was just funny; a story told through the antics of the animated stick people, who danced, somersaulted and chased each other across the Liberty House facade with increasing complexity.

Keyframes by Groupe LAPS

The stick men starting their acrobatic descent of the Liberty Building in Regent Street!

I went back with a different group of friends on Saturday night to explore the Kings Cross section but unfortunately this was a rather different experience. By now the word was out and the very small pathways between the station and Granary Square were almost impassable. We did battle through but felt slightly disappointed. The sheer weight of pedestrian traffic got in the way of really seeing anything for any length of time. It was a shame, as the organisers have clearly tried to manage the event as well as they can but the area just couldn’t cope with the numbers who turned up.

Despite that, I have loved this new event on the London art scene and really hope that it happens again next year. Here are some of my favourites: Enjoy!

©Chez l’abeille 2016

Lumiere london was produced by Artichoke and supported by The Mayor of London.



5 thoughts on “The Streets of London: “Lumiere London”

  1. Thanks for putting up the beautiful photos. You’re lucky that you went on the opening night – we went up to see it last night, Saturday, and the crowds in Regent Street and Leicester Square were beyond manageable so we gave up after a while. Managed to see, and enjoy, the floating fish and the elephant though. Set off for Kings Cross and only managed to get as far as ‘join the dots,’ the gymnastic dot people. Liked them but couldn’t face pushing through the crowds to get to the stuff on the other side of the canal.

    Lumiere was a victim of its own success, I suppose. It’s a lovely idea to put lights and light sculptures up in January, so I hope it happens again – maybe for more than 4 days, so that people don’t feel they have to all rush to see it at once.

    Liked by 1 person

    • To be honest you didn’t miss too much on the other side of the canal, although the diver was quite good!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for that reassurance! My son wanted to see the Litre of Light, but we couldn’t face pushing our way through any more crowds to get to the canal, so we caught the train back to Brighton.

        It’s hard isn’t it? It was so popular and it felt a bit like going to one of those ‘blockbuster’ exhibitions where you can’t see the paintings for the crowds. I wonder if they would be able to have it up for longer, if they do it again next year. There was a lot of desperation in the crowds over the weekend and quite a few families on the train back to Brighton had come up to town just to see the Lumiere festival.