Lumiere London … being enlightened by the capital’s first light festival: the King’s Cross installations

As little as thirty years ago, the prospect of walking alone at night around the area behind London’s King’s Cross station would have filled me with utter dread. It was a deserted, run-down area where the only ladies to be found walking around there after 8pm were the kind that worked there late at night (if you get my drift), and the only fancy light displays to be seen were red ones shining out of ‘working’ bedroom windows.

Three decades on and King’s Cross is a very different place indeed; inviting open squares, manicured green spaces, posh apartment blocks, canal-side cafes and bars, fancy restaurants, and even a thriving theatre and arts scene… and not a pimp in sight. The area was finally cleaned up and regenerated after it was announced Eurostar services would be redirected from Waterloo International to neighbouring St Pancras station from 2007. A new international terminus was built and the surrounding area was transformed beyond recognition. It is now a clean, safe and family-friendly area where people come day and night to enjoy some of the finest culture and leisure London has to offer. A huge Waitrose store has also recently opened there, showing just how up-market the area has now become (PS – I wasn’t paid in any way by Waitrose, nor asked by them to make that last comment. Honest).

To help showcase the new look King’s Cross – especially to old Londoners like myself who still think of the 1986 movie Mona Lisa in connection with the area – the creative arts group Artichoke have produced Lumiere London, the capital’s first light festival. For fours nights from the 14th of January (2016), fabulous light displays and installations were on show across central London, with most of the pieces found in and around the King’s Cross area. The event was open to all and was absolutely free.

Below are all the installations found around King’s Cross during those four nights. All the other installations making up this delightful festival can be found on two separate posts: the Mayfair & Westminster ones here, and the Piccadilly ones here.

I have made a short YouTube film about the event (apologies, the sound is not great). The footage is automatically cued up next to each of the featured installations listed below. Just press play. However, to start off with here is the film in full. Enjoy x


 

Dresses (location 24 on the map)

Tae gon KIM

King’s Boulevard, King’s Cross

One would certainly 'light' up a room walking into it wearing this fine dress

One would certainly ‘light’ up a room walking into it wearing this fine dress


 

King’s Cross Tunnel of Light aka Pipette

Allies and Morrison / Speirs + Major

via Pancras Square/King’s Boulevard entrance to the Underground station, King’s Cross

Until recently, most of London's subways were horrible, usually only lit by awful yellow strip lights, or not at all! (thanks to vandalism). This is delightful. Thank goodness I wasn't trying to catch a train. This would have distracted me long enough to miss it

Until recently, most of London’s subways were horrible, usually only lit by awful yellow strip lights, or not at all! (thanks to vandalism). This is delightful. Thank goodness I wasn’t trying to catch a train. This would have distracted me long enough to miss it

Lumiere London King's Cross, Artichoke Project, Mayor of London, King's Cross Tunnel, Allies and Morrison Speirs + Major, pink reflection

The tunnel is now a permanent feature at King's Cross station and will remain in place after the festival. More information on Pipette - accompanied by a familiar photo - can be found at the visitlondon.com website here

The tunnel is now a permanent feature at King’s Cross station and will remain in place after the festival. More information on Pipette – accompanied by a familiar photo – can be found at the visitlondon.com website here


 

binaryWAVES

LAb[au]

along the Regent’s Canal, between King’s Boulevard and Granary Square

Lumiere London King's Cross, Artichoke Project, Mayor of London, binaryWaves, LAb[au],seen from Granary Square with colourful cement mixer

Lumiere London King's Cross, Artichoke Project, Mayor of London, binaryWaves, LAb[au], with barge and bicycle passing

Lumiere London King's Cross, Artichoke Project, Mayor of London, binaryWaves, LAb[au], seen from Goods Way


 

IFO (Identified Flying Object)

Jaccques Rival

Battle Bridge Place, in front of King’s Cross station entrance

Lumiere London, King's Cross, Artichoke Project, Mayor of London, IFO (Identified Flying Object), Jacques Rival, Rainbow in front of London Underground Tube sign

Lumiere London King's Cross, Artichoke Project, Mayor of London, IFO (Identified Flying Object), Jacques Rival, Purple

Lumiere London King's Cross, Artichoke Project, Mayor of London, IFO (Identified Flying Object), Jacques Rival, Purple looking up

Ironically the signs for Lumiere London directing visitors around the King's Cross installations were not lit up in any way

Ironically the signs for Lumiere London directing visitors around the King’s Cross installations were not lit up in any way


 

Circus of Light

Ocubo

projected onto the Central Saint Martins building, Granary Square

A fabulous fifteen minute show projected on the side of the huge Central Saint Martins college building three times an hour

A fabulous fifteen minute show projected on the side of the huge Central Saint Martins college building three times an hour


 

Diver

Ron Haselden

Lewis Cubitt Park

Lumiere London King's Cross, Artichoke Project, Mayor of London, Diver, Ron Haselden, Lewis Cubitt Park


 

Spectra-3 Lux

FIELD.io

behind the Platform Theatre, Handyside Street

This was being controlled by British astronaut Tim Peake, all the way from the ISS! Only joking (it was being controlled by MI6)

This was being controlled by British astronaut Tim Peake, all the way from the ISS! Only joking (it was being controlled by MI6)

Lumiere London King's Cross, Artichoke Project, Mayor of London, Spectra-£ Lux, FIELD.io, white side


 

Dresses (location 24a on the map)

Tae gon KIM

Stable Street, King’s Cross

Dresses location 24b on the map can be found in the window of Liberty’s along Great Marlborough Street


 

Litre of Light

Mick Stephenson, Central Saint Martins Students & MyShelter Foundation

inside Central Saint Martins College, Granary Square

A beautiful and thought-provoking display inspired by a charity project supplying cheap indoor light sources to poor communities in the Philippines...

A beautiful and thought-provoking display inspired by a charity project supplying cheap indoor light sources to poor communities in the Philippines…

...simply using unwanted plastic bottles, water, a little bleach and an artistic flare with a set of felt tip pens

…simply using unwanted plastic bottles, water, a little bleach and an artistic flare with a set of felt tip pens

Although the bottles on display were lit by electrical light sources, they did illustrate how bright - and beautiful - they can be in a darkened room

Although the bottles on display were lit by electrical light sources, they did illustrate how bright – and beautiful – they can be in a darkened room

Lumiere London King's Cross, Artichoke Project, Mayor of London, Litre of Light, Mick Stephenson Central Saint Martins Students and MyShelter Fountation, bottles close up

The Jelly Babies section

The Jelly Babies section

Lumiere London King's Cross, Artichoke Project, Mayor of London, Litre of Light, Mick Stephenson Central Saint Martins Students and MyShelter Fountation, heart

Lumiere London King's Cross, Artichoke Project, Mayor of London, Litre of Light, Mick Stephenson Central Saint Martins Students and MyShelter Fountation, Union Jack flag

Organiser Mick Stephenson explaining to a camera crew how the Litre of Light solar light bulbs work, and how simple and environmentally sound they are

Organiser Mick Stephenson explaining to a camera crew how the Litre of Light solar light bulbs work, and how simple and environmentally sound they are


 

Joining the Dots

Cleary Connolly

projected on a building leading to Pancras Square

With IFO (Identified Flying Object) in the background

With IFO (Identified Flying Object) in the background

Lumiere London King's Cross, Artichoke Project, Mayor of London, Joining the Dots, Clearly Connolly, close up


 

Light Graffiti

Floating Pictures

along King’s Boulevard

Even light installations run into difficulties

Even light installations run into difficulties

Once the technical problems were sorted out, the crowds became human graffiti as colourful lights were projected down on top of them

Once the technical problems were sorted out, the crowds became human graffiti as colourful lights were projected down on top of them

I hope that is just the light shining on the girl's face and not an indication that she wasn't feeling well

I hope that is just the light shining on the girl’s face and not an indication that she wasn’t feeling well

Lumiere London King's Cross, Artichoke Project, Mayor of London, Light Graffiti, Floating Pictures, crowds, woman with red on her face

I think that's my bobble hat in shot

I think that’s my bobble hat in shot

Rave nation, or just taking a selfie?

Rave nation, or just taking a selfie?

Lumiere London King's Cross, Artichoke Project, Mayor of London, Light Graffiti, Floating Pictures, crowds feet


 

Platonic Spin

Nathaniel Rackowe

Triton Square, off Euston Road, near Warren Street station

Technically not in the King's Cross area, but this piece was only a short walk/bus ride away

Technically not in the King’s Cross area, but this piece was only a short walk/bus ride away

Lumiere London King's Cross, Artichoke Project, Mayor of London, Platonic Spin, Nathaniel Rackowe, Triton Square Euston, moon in centre


TLT x

Films and literature connected with King's Cross. Along King's Boulevard

Films and literature connected with King’s Cross. Along King’s Boulevard

 


The Piccadilly installations can be found here …   Lumiere London Light Festival Piccadilly Regent Street & St James's, Artichoke Project, Mayor of London, Les Luminéoles, Porté par le vent, Piccadilly, purple


The dogs were rather jolly...

… and the Mayfair & Westminster installations can be seen here


 

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2 Responses to Lumiere London … being enlightened by the capital’s first light festival: the King’s Cross installations

  1. Anne Guy says:

    A great series of posts to light up the dark days….thanks!
    But why was the cage not in Birdcage Walk….perhaps her Maj was not amused, unlike you with her Elephant! X

  2. Thank you ever so much for allowing us to use your images of Pipette from Lumiere London. They look fantastic and are really inspiring!

    We’re also delighted to hear that you’re a great fan of VisitLondon and enjoy our content. It’s very pleasing to hear and we’re always grateful when our followers send us fantastic images of London such as yours!

    Many thanks again

    http://www.visitlondon.com/lumiere

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