On the 11th January, Canary Wharf launched their free Winter Lights Festival that features sculptures, structures and installations by some of the most innovative artists and designers around the world using a wide range of different forms of light technology.
The advance of light technologies means that they are becoming increasingly popular by artists who are developing light installations that will provide interactive, performance or visual spectacles.
Walking around the installations on the launch night illustrated the wide range of installations and here are a few of the highlights.
One of the largest installations is the 18ft high illuminated inflatable figure created by Amanda Parer in Westferry Circus. This installation is inspired by the cult science fiction film Fantastic Planet  that is set in the distant future in a world populated by gargantuan humanoids.
Some of the pieces use digital technology to use signals in the air to create displays, Julius Popp’s bit.fall uses live news feeds to create a digital typography waterfall. Located in Chancellor Passage under the DLR track, this installation uses sophisticated technology which operate a series of valves that let illuminated droplets of water fall to form letters and words that appear in mid-air before cascading into Middle Dock.
Totem by the Bitone Collective in Cabot Square responds to the presence of mobile phone signals in the air around it, active or passive. The stronger and more numerous the signals the brighter and more vivid the sculpture appears.
Another large installation is Globoscope by Collectif Coin in Jubilee Park, Globoscope is composed of luminous spheres. Through a programme of digital sequences, using sound and light, the whole space becomes animated with each interconnected sphere representing a point or pixel in a digitised landscape.
Also in Jubilee Park is my light is your light by alaa minawi, created to highlight the plight of Syrian refugees. The poignant silhouettes of a family of six hopelessly fleeing a conflict zone have been created in lines of neon light.
A number of installations are based near Crossrail Place including the interactive Liquid Space 6.1 by Daan Roosegaarde. Liquid Space 6.1 detects people approaching and rotates in their direction. Stand beneath its bulbous ’head’ and it recognises your presence by emitting coloured lights and sounds from the installation’s three sides which shift in shape and size.
The Pool by the Jen Lewin Studio in Montgomery Square is another fun interactive installation, giant concentric rings of touch-sensitive circular pads create whirlpools of light, colour and movement are created as you run, jump, step or hop onto the pads.
The Winter Lights Festival at Canary Wharf certainly brightens up the cold dark winter’s night and provides entertainment for young and old.
Best seen after 4pm, all the installations and light effects will come alive throughout the evening until 9pm, the Winter Festival runs between 11th and 22nd January 2016.
If the Winter Festival whets your appetite for the bright lights, you can head into Central London between the 14th and 17th of January, where you will find more light displays in the Lumiere London festival.
For more information about the Canary Wharf Winter Lights Festival visit their website here