Everything you need to know about Night Illumination
Where is it? Bow Road, E3 (also elsewhere across the capital) When is it? January 1st - December 31st, dusk-dawn What is it? A glowing assemblage of radiant street furniture What is it really? A municipally funded project to brighten up our dark evenings Where's the website?Here
How do you find your way around? On foot is the best way, but you can also enjoy the full display from the top deck of a bus. Google maps of the area are available. How long to see it all? To see the entire collection would take the best part of a lifetime, but you can enjoy the highlights along Bow Road in approximately fifteen minutes. Who's it aimed at? Everyone, from the elderly to small children, but especially anyone who wants to avoid being mugged on the streets after sunset. Is it busy? Pavements in the area are often busy, but never so congested as to diminish enjoyment of the elevated art. Is it any good? Unmissable.
Tell us about the main display: A spectacular chain of lightpoles has been constructed along the main thoroughfare using a combination of sodium gas and vibrant LEDs. These lanterns blaze down onto the street below, as bright as day, giving the illusion that an eclipsed sun remains high in the sky. Most of the installations are single-lamped, but a special selection have been doubled up for bonus luminosity. In certain locations the main illumination has been augmented by lamps above commercial premises and radiant window displays. As an extra-special bonus the Mayor of London has funded scores of wheeled lightboxes, their interiors blindingly bright, which ride up and down the street pausing occasionally to allow closer inspection of the ever-changing animation silhouetted within.
Tell us about the interactive elements: A massive digital infrastructure project has been installed at all key road junctions. Stacked lights of red, amber and green play out in a balletic sequence, rhythmically choreographed to control the passing flow. No expense has been spared. Those on foot can enjoy pausing the traffic at the touch of a button, waiting with anticipation until the red man changes abruptly to green, then striding across to an electronic beat before a dramatic countdown reaches zero. At certain locations miniature lights have been added at helmet height depicting three colours of bicycle. For a more retro feel, track down the orange flashing balls on their slender poles, then step out with confidence onto the zebra stripes. So long as funding is maintained, these interactive illuminations are expected to form the centrepiece of London's permanent street art network.