Under the lights of the Winter Lights Festival of Canary Wharf |GianFranco Belloli|KnowLedge World Network|Activities|KNOWLEDGE CAPITAL

  • 2019.02.19
  • Under the lights of the Winter Lights Festival of Canary Wharf
The lights of the Winter Lights Festival of Canary Wharf came to London for the fifth consecutive year in 2019 and the festival was just over at the end of January.
Every evening, from January 15th to January 26th, 21 installations created by some of the most innovative artists from all over the world coloured the streets of Canary Wharf.
An event not to be missed which I didn’t miss!
The Winter Lights Festival is in fact an unmissable event in the London arts scene.
It’s an amazing event with free admission and its installations were scattered among the high-tech skyscrapers of the East London area.
One could visit the festival’s website beforehand and download and print a map of the installations (which I did, also to learn more about the works of art).


The theme of this year's festival was environmental sustainability and waste reduction, which is why many of the works on display had been made using recycled and sustainable materials such as plastic bottles and metal scraps, while other installations contained strong messages on climate changes and global warming.
The festival this year also offered some ‘awareness events’ such as lectures to sensitise the attendees on the important issue of the environment and what we can do to ‘save our Earth.’
The installations of the winter light festival basically occupied the entire area of Canary Wharf, which is normally a very busy (but dull) business area.


Hearts for the upcoming Saint Valentine’s celebrations

This year’s installations included ‘Prismatica,’ a modern ice palace set up in Jubilee Plaza, the neon trees in Westferry Circus, the floating islands of Jubilee Park and the labyrinth of light in Cabot Square, whose fountain was part of the show with its lights, coloured jets and water motifs to create a wonderful visual spectacle.
Some of the works of art were interactive or reactive, meaning they were designed using lighting technology which can change according to what's happening around the installations.
A sort of interactive show in which the visitors have an active role.
It’s entertaining and magic for the whole family!



The works installed in parks, squares, streets and shopping centres throughout the Canary Wharf Estate were at best if visited when it was pitch dark so in the late evening.


Art installations with recycled materials

My favourite was ‘the waterfall writing’ which was present also in the 2018 edition and which came back for the 2019 edition: a waterfall composed of words made of lights.
Other highlights were the psychedelic prisms designed to resemble an ice palace of the aforementioned Prismatica and a huge sculpture designed to resemble the skeleton of a whale.
Amongst the abovementioned works of art also: a gigantic 6-meter high alien (named ‘Fantastic Planet’), a swimming pool crossed by shining whirls (‘The Pool’) and a multicoloured LED sphere (‘Light Sphere One’), are just a few examples of what Londoners and interested tourists were able to see inside the dedicated high-tech lights area.



All the works of art presented at the Festival were creations by artists and designers from all over the world who, through the different forms of light technology used, communicate a vision of the whole new and brilliant contemporary universe.
Some installations had up to twenty thousand LED lights while others had laser effects.
New for this year was the Winter Lights Bites, a gathering of street food at Cabot Square offering stands selling anything: pizzas, sandwiches, falafel, waffles and more are available to feed the visitors hunting for installations.
The beauty was also the long duration of the festival (11 evenings in total) so one could return as there was no time to enjoy it all in one evening.

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  • GianFranco Belloli
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I moved to London over 2 years ago but only last year I started writing for a local newsletter for Expats in London telling about my experience in this big city and giving advice to newcomers. London is a very dynamic city and has a lot for everyone but it’s important to have a local point of view to navigate it without getting lost. Let me be your guide to hidden London!

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