Yesterday we took a wander around Canary Wharf in the London docklands to see the Summer Lights - it's a colourful free exhibition celebrating natural light.
The installations will be at their most impressive while the sun is shining - unfortunately for us it wasn't sunny when we visited, but still very colourful. The Summer Lights feature 11 pieces of artwork that shimmer and shine in the natural light. It is on until August 21st and there is a map which you can download to help you find each one.
Canary Wharf is easily reached on the DLR from London Bridge, as you exit the station you can immediately start exploring. Here is what we saw:
Whirl by Helena Doyle X Tom Cherry & Temple, Cubitt Steps
"Whirl transforms the wind into a dynamic dance of colour and light. The audience is invited to sit beneath the domed structure, relax and enjoy the mesmerising light show overhead." The pavement is beautifully painted too in bright coloured patterns as are the walls leading up the steps.
Circle of Light Spectrum by toyStudio, Cabot Square
"Circle of Light [Spectrum] is an exploration of the hidden nature of the sun in our natural environment. The installation expresses the many colours which make up sunlight and the visual spectrum, mapping them into an arc defined by the position of the sun at sunrise and sunset." My son loved resting his hands in the water fountain and also we really appreciated all of the brightly coloured benches and tables around the fountain.
Hymn to the Big Wheel by Liz West, Wren Landing
"Hymn to the Big Wheel is an immersive sculptural work exploring the illusion and physicality of colour and natural light in space. Consisting of a multicoloured octagon nestled within a larger octagonal shape, this work encourages the viewer to reposition and align themselves to differing colourways to see a changing scope of colours mixing before their eyes." This one is so pretty to stand inside and look through all of the coloured windows. Liz West also currently has art installations in Greenwich.
Crossrail Bridge and Roof Garden
Crossrail Bridge was given a makeover by French artist Camille Walala, and is intended to be a permanent display. The bridge is covered in bold geometric shapes and colours, with the intention that the display will change as daylight filters through. The bridge will lead you to Crossrail Place and the roof garden.
Hidden Garden by Hugh Turvey
"Set against the apt backdrop of Crossrail Place Roof Garden, the blown-up images allow visitors to engage with nature on a more intimate level, exposing just how fragile nature can be and how transparent it is that we should be acting against climate change." It was pretty cool up on the roof to wander around looking at the tropical plants and bamboo.
Round and Round by Martin Richman, Jubilee Park
"Round and Round brings the Jubilee Park ponds to life, creating a lively space full of reflecting and refracting shapes and colours. As the circles turn in the sun and wind, they create moving shapes illuminating everything around them, casting visually rich patterns of coloured light responding to the weather and the artificial illuminations within its orbit." This is a lovely, peaceful spot to sit and gaze at the water.
Sun Pavilion by Morag Myerscough, Montgomery Square
The bright and inviting ‘Sun Pavilion’ certainly does radiate joy. The bright, geometric patterns surrounded by artificial grass seating is a lovely spot to have a sit down.
We did head across the water to West India Quay to just look at the restaurants and we even saw a hot tub full of people floating around in the docks!
Heading back to the station we stopped at the rainbow steps for a bubble tea before heading back to London Bridge. There are a few installations that we missed, mainly due to me not downloading the map properly on my phone.
Finley wasn't quite ready to go home so when we reached London Bridge we walked around Borough Market and then headed towards Monument. We managed to track down Leadenhall Market on Gracechurch Street. Leadenhall dates from the 14th century and is famously used to represent the area of London near the Leaky Cauldron and Diagon Alley in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.
The main reason for visiting apart from viewing the architecture was to look at the neon lights which are from God's Own Junkyard - the exhibition, named Electric City is completely free to attend and is there until July 31st, 2021. The doors were locked when we arrived on a late Sunday afternoon but it was great to just look at the window display.
It was a nice way to spend the day - taking in a little bit of culture and art. We did visit the Winter Lights back in January 2020 and hope to see those again this year.