Lumière London, a spectacular light show that’s lighting up London for just four days, from 14th to 17th January, has turned out to be a massive success, with overcrowding by Lumière crowds forcing the closure of King’s Cross Station last night. Lumière is a display of light sculptures and projections all over town, including brilliantly lit goldfish over Piccadilly, giant snowdrops in Leicester Square, and Westminster Abbey as you’ve never seen it before with a multicoloured facade. But with all this to choose from, I’ve decided to bring you a small installation called Litre of Light. Here’s why.
When you first see Litre of Light, it looks like a collection of giant multicoloured jewels. Step closer and you can see the jewels are actually the bottoms of plastic litre bottles – hence the name.
There are two parts to it – one a passageway lined with coloured lights, the other simple designs etched into a black wall.
Lights shining behind the bottles are refracted and magnified into something much more dramatic.
But these lights are not just for art installations – they’re a simple and cost-effective way to bring light to poverty-stricken parts of the world where there’s no electricity and the inside of houses can be dark as night even in the daytime. They are simple to make; using just plastic bottles, water and a bit of bleach, you can get as much light as from a 55 watt bulb. And they’re sustainable and consume no energy. If you use solar cells to power them you can have light at night too.
The technology was developed by Alfred Moser and students at MIT and is already being used to bring light to post-disaster areas and developing countries.
The London installation is by artist Mick Stephenson and Central St Martin’s students. It’s a beautifully simple way of conveying the power of this non-technology.
Litre of Light is at the The Crossing, Central St Martin’s in Granary Square near King’s Cross. You can still catch it tonight, along with the rest of the Lumière installations. But move fast – tomorrow they’ll be gone.