As an end result of the contest, they hope a ‘permanent outdoor river gallery’ – as the project describes – will breathe new life into the riverside at night, as well as encourage new investment in enterprises within the area. The scheme is thought to cost £20m, with the majority of the money being sourced from private means.
Such bridges in the selection include, from west to east: Albert Bridge, Waterloo Bridge, Blackfriars Bridge, and Tower Bridge. Two bridges, the Nine Elms and Garden bridges, that are yet to be finished have also been named in the scheme.
Contenders will have to create their installation plan keeping in mind innovation alongside the need to be environmentally friendly, thus solidifying London‘s status as a world leader in cutting-edge technology and as a example of a low-carbon city. The contest is open to engineers, artists, lighting designers, architects, and others.
Sadiq Khan, who became the Mayor of London in May, speculates that this project will highlight London’s river and banks, making sure its daytime buzz will extend into the night and, in doing so, maintain its blossoming nighttime economy. This comes after his Mayoral campaign’s pledges particularly focused on London’s nighttime economy, along with a 24-hour Tube service on weekends for London’s key tube lines beginning August 2016, and a Night Czar for London’s nighttime venues.
Hannah Rothschild, Chair of the Illuminated River Foundation, stated that this is ‘the opportunity to influence and transform the look, identity and experience of the world’s greatest city. […] What matters is bold and innovative thinking to put the art back into London’s greatest artery.’
In a city where the lights continue to shine on through the night on both sides of the Thames, it is the project’s hope that some of London’s most well-known and recognised bridges will also add to its already spectacular nighttime brilliance.
The deadline for the competition is 7 July 2016, and the shortlisted installations will be publicly exhibited at the end of the year, before a final winner is announced.