Winner Announced

Creative Proposals Unveiled for Lighting London’s Bridges

Proposals by six international teams, representing seventy-three artists, architects, designers, planners and engineers from Asia, Europe, North America and South America will be unveiled on Wednesday 9 November in the Illuminated River Exhibition, a free exhibition running for three weeks at the Royal Festival Hall (RFH) until Tuesday 29 November.

The Illuminated River is a design commission on an unprecedented scale: a scheme conceived to light central London’s bridges along the River Thames. The Illuminated River International Design Competition, organised by Malcolm Reading Consultants, with a brief for designs that include new technologies and display outstanding aesthetic quality, attracted entries from 105 teams working in the fields of art, technology and design from all over the world. The shortlist of six teams has been selected by an independent panel. The winner will be chosen by a jury supported by a technical advisory panel.  The winning team will be announced on Thursday 8 December.

The exhibition at the RFH showcases the shortlisted proposals by six international teams, which are also available to view online.  The public is being invited to share its views on the project via a survey at the exhibition and at

With the first phase of the fundraising campaign already underway, it was announced today that £10 million has been pledged towards the Illuminated River project: £5 million by Peter Baldwin and Lisbet Rausing through the Arcadia Fund, and a further £5 million is being donated by the Rothschild Foundation.

Speaking at the launch of the Illuminated River Exhibition, Hannah Rothschild, Chair of the Illuminated River Foundation, said today: 

“Since the founding of London, the mighty Thames has been the city’s main artery, linking north and south, east and west, encouraging business, activity and recreation.  But at night, the river becomes a ribbon of darkness, a place that few enjoy and at odds with the ambition to make London a 24-hour city.  This project will bring light, energy, beauty and recreation to the river and at the flick of a switch, transform the city at night.”

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, said: 

“I am delighted that the Illuminated River Foundation has put these ideas on show.  We believe that the Illuminated River will not only be a wonderful celebration of the River Thames, London’s vital artery, but will make a major contribution to the growing importance of London’s night-time economy, underlining London as a world class city, and a centre for creative industries.”

The shortlisted proposals on show are:

1. Blurring Boundaries
Adjaye Associates with Cai Guo-Qiang, Chris Ofili, Larry Bell, Jeremy Deller, Philippe Parreno, Richard Woods, Mariko Mori, Lorna Simpson, Teresita Fernández, Joana Vasconcelos, Angela Bulloch, Thukral & Tagra, Katharina Grosse, Glenn Ligon, Doug Aitken, Tomás Saraceno, onedotzero digital consultants, Plan A Consultants, DHA, Hurley Palmer Flatt, AKT II, AECOM, Arup, Sir Robert McAlpine, Tavernor Consultancy, DP9, Four Communications, Hayes Davidson digital visualisers, Bosch and iGuzzini

2. The Eternal Story of the River Thames
AL_A, Asif Kapadia, Simon Stephens, SEAM Design, Arup, GROSS. MAX., Mark Filip, Soundings and DP9

3. Synchronizing the City: Its Natural and Urban Rhythms
Diller Scofidio + Renfro with Oliver Beer, Arup, Copper Consultancy, L'Observatoire International, Penoyre & Prasad, Jennifer Tipton and Transsolar        

4. Current
Leo Villareal with Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands and Future\Pace, Atelier Ten, Beckett Rankine, Bradley Hemmings, Core Five, Futurecity, Greenwich+Docklands International Festival, MBNA Thames Clippers, Montagu Evans, Pentagram, Price & Myers

5. A River Ain’t Too Much To Light
Les Éclairagistes Associés (L.E.A.), ecqi ltd. and Federico Pietrella in association with GVA Lighting Europe Limited and ewo srl

6. Thames Nocturne 
Sam Jacob Studio and Simon Heijdens with Studio Dekka, Daisy Froud, Elliott Wood, Jackson Coles and Professor John Tyrer 

In a related competition, developed in collaboration with Thames Festival Trust, pupils’ ideas were selected from four London secondary schools in the Boroughs of Ealing, Enfield, Sutton and Westminster, and the London Design and Engineering UTC in Newham, responding to a similar brief to that given to the shortlisted teams.  These will also be shown in the Illuminated River Exhibition.

Seed funding of £100,000 was granted for The Illuminated River from the Olympic Reserve, to support the process for the design competition, alongside funding of £250,000 from the Rothschild Foundation, and a contribution of £500,000 from the City of London Corporation (via the Bridge House Estates) towards the delivery of the first phase.  The Illuminated River Foundation will seek the balance of the costs of the project from private and philanthropic sources rather than the public purse.

The Illuminated River Exhibition
Level 3 and 4, Blue Side
Royal Festival Hall
9 – 29 November 2016
10am – 10pm daily

Visit the exhibition or go online at to fill in an online survey and share your views.

Media Enquiries

Jane Quinn/Dennis Chang
Bolton & Quinn
+44 (0)20 7221 5000
[email protected][email protected]

For the competition, please contact:
Catherine Reading
Malcolm Reading Consultants 
+44 (0)20 7831 2998
[email protected]

Please note all images copyright Malcolm Reading Consultants/individual teams.

Notes to Editors

The Illuminated River Foundation is an independent charity, set up to lead and fundraise for the project.

The Illuminated River Foundation is working with many stakeholders along the Thames supported by the Mayor of London and the City of London Corporation. Its growing list of key partners include Cross River Partnership, Historic England, London & Partners, Network Rail, Port of London Authority, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Southbank London, Tideway, Totally Thames, Transport for London and Westminster City Council.

Chair: Hannah Rothschild
Hannah Rothschild is a writer, a filmmaker and Chair of The National Gallery. She is the co-founder of the Artist on Film trust and a trustee of Tate and Waddesdon Manor. Her biography, 'The Baroness', was published in the UK and USA. Her first novel, 'The Improbability of Love', was published by Bloomsbury in May 2015 and in the USA by Knopf in November 2015. It was shortlisted for the 2016 Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction. Her documentaries have been shown on the BBC, HBO and at film festivals including Telluride and the London Film Festival. Working Title and Ridley Scott have optioned her original screenplays.

Director: Sarah Gaventa MA (RCA)
Sarah is a public space and public art expert and curator, and was previously Director of Public Space at the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment. She recently curated ‘Out There: Our Post War Public Art’ exhibition at Somerset House for Historic England. Sarah has been an Associate at Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners and a founder of Scarlet Projects and Made Public. She has a degree in art history and a MA from the Royal College of Art/ V&A. She is an honorary Fellow of the Landscape Institute for her outstanding contribution to landscape and a co-founder of the London Festival of Architecture. 

Project Manager: Sue Davies
Sue has extensive cultural project management experience. She recently oversaw the opening week of Tate Modern’s Switch House extension. She founded and directed the first two editions of the Shubbak Festival of Contemporary Arab Culture, making it into the largest celebration of Arab culture in the world. She has developed numerous other large scale cultural projects for major institutions including the BBC, National Theatre, British Museum, GLA and the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance.

Project Assistant: Hatti Whitman MA (Lon.)
Hatti is a graduate of the University of Cambridge and the Courtauld Institute of Art, who has previously worked in start-ups and politics.

Malcolm Reading Consultants
The Illuminated River International Design Competition is run on behalf of the Illuminated River Foundation by Malcolm Reading Consultants (MRC). MRC is a strategic consultancy specialising in the selection of contemporary designers. MRC believes in the power of design to create new perceptions and act as an inspiration – either at the local level or internationally. MRC is the leading specialist in design competitions in Europe. Recent work includes competitions for the Royal College of Art, the Museum of London, the gold medal-winning UK Pavilion at Milan Expo 2015, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, the Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art, Tintagel Castle Bridge, the Mumbai City Museum, the Natural History Museum and New College, Oxford..

The Illuminated River Competition
The Illuminated River International Design Competition is being run in accordance with EU procurement guidelines and the Public Contracts Regulations 2015. This competition has been advertised in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) on behalf of the Illuminated River Foundation and is being administered by Malcolm Reading Consultants.  

The Jury

  • Lord Rothschild, Chairman, RIT Capital Partners plc, Chairman, Rothschild Foundation
  • Hannah Rothschild, Chair, Illuminated River Foundation
  • Malcolm Reading, architect and competition director (Professional Chair)
  • Professor Ricky Burdett, Professor of Urban Studies and Director, LSE Cities and the Urban Age Programme
  • Michael Craig-Martin, artist
  • Lucy Musgrave, Director, Publica
  • Dame Julia Peyton-Jones, Director, Serpentine Galleries 1991-2016
  • Ralph Rugoff, Director, Hayward Gallery
  • Rohan Silva, Co-Founder, Second Home
  • Justine Simons, Deputy Mayor for Culture and Creative Industries, City Hall
  • James Turrell, artist (Honorary Jury Member)

Supporting Panel

  • Dr Piers Barnes, Research Associate (EPSRC Fellow), Faculty of Natural Sciences, Department of Physics, Imperial College
  • Jennifer Blake, Project Manager, Network Rail
  • Professor Ricky Burdett, Professor of Urban Studies and Director, LSE Cities and the Urban Age Programme (External Jury Representative)
  • David English, Historic Places Advisor, Historic England
  • Nick Evans, Deputy Harbour Master Upper, Port of London Authority
  • Andrew Foster, Service Manager, Bridges and Structures, Westminster City Council
  • Thomas Freeman, Project Leader, Network Rail
  • Sarah Gaventa, Director, The Illuminated River Foundation (Client Representative)
  • David Hamilton, Director of Projects, Malcolm Reading Consultants (Chair)
  • Ian Hughes, Assistant Director (Highways), City of London
  • Mark Major, Principal, Speirs + Major
  • Paul Monaghan, Assistant Director, Engineering, City of London Corporation
  • Gary Noble, Chief Engineer, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
  • Dana Skelley, Director, Asset Management, Transport for London
  • Matthew Thomas, Principal Policy and Programmes Officer, Environment, Greater London Authority
  • Adrian Westbury, Partner, Cost Management, Ridge
  • Susannah Wilks, Director, Cross River Partnership