January is supposed to be the darkest month of the year. Especially in London, the days can get quite grim with limited daylight and lots and lots of rain (or snow during some rare occasions). But this year it’s different. It’s time for a change in 2016, the clever men and women of this city must have thought last year.
Because as soon as we had all fallen into that post-Christmas depression with our normal lives starting back up (including the day-to-day commute struggle), some very exciting transformations took place around London Town.
In the east where some of the tallest skyscrapers of London dominate the skyline, some initial changes were starting to become noticeable about a week ago. Artists and designers from all over the world arrived in Canary Wharf to install their dazzling light installations all around this business district. Colorful flowers, walking men in a garden and a waterfall spitting words became visible after dusk.
I went to take a peek with a friend as we were planning to go ice skating on the temporary ice skate rink in Canary Wharf on Friday. We felt incredibly small right in between those giants of buildings, and started to find more and more of the art that was set out for Winter Lights Festival. Feeling like a little kid again, happily surprised every time we discovered a new piece of design scattered around Canary Wharf.
And the Winter Lights Festival proved to be just the tip of the iceberg. Yesterday, I met up with two friends at King’s Cross railway station, and armed with a plan and program we started our Lumiere London tour. Once outside of the station, we could easily follow the masses en route to all the illuminated art on display in this part of London. A circus displayed on one of the industrial buildings, tumbling divers and a tunnel of light was all part of it.
Lumiere London takes places from 14th-17th January in different parts of London (King’s Cross, Piccadilly, Regent Street, St James’s, Trafalgar Square, Westminster and Mayfair). Each area has different types of installations, one more spectacular than the other, but all very much impressive.
Personally, I was especially fascinated by the installations around Piccadilly and Regent Street. Flying fishes in one of the busiest shopping streets of London, a video-game-kind-of-installation on one of the buildings and even an elephant looking out from one of the street windows were amazing. We realized that one night wouldn’t be enough to view all the art, but we definitely had seen some of the highlights of the festival.
From now on, people in London who say that January is the darkest month of the year, they are simply lying. Especially the Lumiere event seems to be quite a success, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it returns next year with new and more mesmerizing installations lighting up grim and drizzly London Town. Both events have definitely succeeded in lightning up my January!