What to book: Lumiere light festival

The UK’s largest illuminated festival takes place in Durham this month and London in January

‘Fogscape #0323’ by Fujiko Nakaya and Simon Corder, Lumiere Durham 2015. Produced by Artichoke. Photograph: Matthew Andrews

The Lumiere festival will light up both Durham and London this winter with large-scale illuminated artworks by contemporary artists.

Opening on 16 November, the fifth edition of Lumiere Durham will see 29 different artworks appear around the city, including an illuminated field of flowers in the Cathedral cloister, a flock of birds in the Botanic Garden and an enormous illuminated mobile over the river Wear. Created by the public-art producer Artichoke, the event will showcase projects by artists from all around the world, from the dreamlike soundscapes of Finland’s Kari Kola to the wire creations of the Dutch sculptor Ralf Westerhof. Some displays will be static, such as the permanent LED-lighting installation Lightbench, which reinterprets the notion of public seating, while others, such as a choreographed performance titled The Umbrella Project, will pop up at multiple locations throughout the city. 

‘Drawn in Light’ by Ralf Westerhof. Courtesy of Artichoke

‘River of Light’ by Karl Kola. Courtesy of Artichoke

In the new year, London will play host to the festival, with Westminster Abbey and the National Theatre named among the landmarks that will be brought to life with striking illuminated displays. More than 40 artists will present work over four nights in locations both north and south of the river Thames, with activity centred in London’s West End, King’s Cross, South Bank and Waterloo. Look out for Simon Corder’s Bough 3 in Mayfair, which will see cylinders of flourescent light snake up a historic building on South Audley Street, and the Lantern Company’s wilderness-like transformation of Leicester Square Gardens. 

‘Umbrella Project’ by Cirque Bijou. Courtesy of Artichoke

‘Heron’ by Jon Voss. Courtesy of Artichoke

Lumiere Durham runs from 16 to 19 November and Lumiere London runs from 18 to 21 January 2018.

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