Blog Archives

Winter Lights festival 2019: Ghost whales, mazes and trees as Canary Wharf is lit up in neon

Walking in a Christmas wonderland: Photos of London’s 2018 festive lights and decorations

Celebrate rock legends Queen at the Bohemian Rhapsody pop-up shop and exhibition

Carnaby Street - Bohemian Rhapsody
Bohemian Rhapsody is one of the mostly highly anticipated films this year. Named after the iconic hit single, the movie tells the story of Freddie Mercury and the band Queen in the lead up to Live Aid in 1985. Ahead of its release, the Carnaby district of London has teamed up with 20th Century Fox to create an immersive exhibition and light installation inspired by the rock legends.

For the art installation, fans of the band will see Freddie’s lyrics for one of the greatest rock songs of all time shining brightly over the pedestrianised shopping hub. Giant neon words will bring Queen’s 1975 song to life, including the opening: ‘Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?’, along with the iconic ‘Galileo’ and ‘Figaro’. The Queen crest – designed by Mercury – will also appear on Carnaby’s famous arches.

Meanwhile, a pop-up shop and exhibition will open on 18 October so fans can get even closer to the rock gods. There will be a showcase of photographs, prints, footage and costumes from the band. Official film merchandise and Queen-inspired products will also be available to buy. Visitors can also pose for a selfie with the official Madame Tussaud’s Freddie waxwork. Meanwhile, the shops, bars and restaurants of Carnaby will also be joining in with Queen inspired products and menus.

The light display, shop and exhibition are launching to coincide with the release of the Bohemian Rhapsody movie on 24 October. It stars Rami Malek as Freddie, Ben Hardy as Roger Taylor, Gwilym Lee as Brian May and Joe Mazzello as John Deacon.

  • Bohemian Rhapsody Pop Up Shop & Exhibition, 3 Carnaby Street, Soho, W1. Nearest station: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus. Open from 18 October 2018 – January 2019. Opening hours: Mon-Sat 10am-8pm, Sun 12pm-6pm. For more information, visit the Carnaby website.

To find out what’s on in London in December, click here.

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Photo Friday | Tracey Emin’s ‘I Want My Time With You’ at St Pancras station

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

Tracey Emin’s ‘I Want My Time With You’ at St Pancras International

It’s been a while since my last ‘Photo Friday’ post… admittedly the least time-consuming and the easier posts to write. This isn’t the first time St Pancras has been the focus of a such a post either. This week, I finally got to have a closer look at Tracey Emin’s new-ish art at St Pancras International station, which was unveiled in April 2018. Suspended from the famous Barlow trainshed roof, are the words ‘I Want My Time With You’ in pink lights (LED, not neon due to health and safety). Emin said the message is a love letter to Europe ahead of impending Brexit, which has divided the UK. While art critics have been non-plussed, I like the message and am a fan of neon-esque writing in general so it’s a hit with me. I also didn’t realise until I saw my photos on my laptop that you can see the iconic clocktower of St Pancras peeking through the glass roof.

  • ‘I Want My Time With You’ by Tracey Emin is on the upper concourse of St Pancras International, Euston Road, Kings Cross, N1C 4QP. Nearest station: Kings Cross St Pancras.

To find out about the nearby Sir John Betjeman sculpture, click here.

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Lumiere London 2018: The capital becomes a gallery of neon

Gods Own Junkyard | A trip to Walthamstow’s neon wonderland

Winter Lights festival 2017: Angels, giant eggs and a lot of neon

Tripping the light fantastic at the Magical Lantern Festival

London’s first Magical Lantern Festival transforms Chiswick House Gardens

© Chinese Lantern Festival

Visit the Magical Lantern Festival at Chiswick House Gardens from 3 February – 6 March 2016

Coming to London this Chinese New Year will be the capital’s first Magical Lantern Festival. Chiswick House Gardens will be transformed for a 29-day festival of lights to celebrate the Year of the Monkey. Over 50 giant hand-sculpted lanterns will be dotted through the gardens with guests passing through Corridors of Light into colourful themed zones.

Chinese Lantern Festival

Walk through different illuminated zones

The centrepiece of the festival will be a striking 66-metre dragon spanning the lake with its scales glistening on the water. Visitors will be in awe as they look up at a 10-metre recreation of Beijing’s Temple of Heaven and a 8-metre porcelain Imperial Palace featuring a lantern Terracotta Army. In the Animal Kingdom zone, there will be life-sized flamingos, zebras, kangaroos and elephants amongst the trees. These light installations are a nod to a former owner of Chiswick House, the Sixth Duke Of Devonshire (1790-1858), who kept exotic animals in the gardens in the 19th century. Along in the Enchanted Forest will feature a stunning Tree of Life, with illuminated oversized mushrooms, plants and flowers exploding around it, while giant lotus flowers will open and close on the water features. Meanwhile, an illuminated waterfall will be the setting for a lantern recreation of the Chinese fable The Monkey King.

The festival channels China’s 2000 year heritage and is the brainchild of Weli Creative Director, David Lee and Creative Director, Ian Xiang, who explained: ‘London was chosen as the first city to host this amazing, 29-day festival of light, due to its status as the multicultural  centre of the Western World. We selected an iconic venue for this iconic event, providing a unique, cultural experience and marking the 15th day of the Lunisolar year’s first month and the last day of the Lunar New Year celebration.’

During the 75 minute experience, visitors can also sample a range of international food and hot drinks in the undercover heated seating area, with unique gifts on offer to take home from the market.

  • The Magical Lantern Festival runs from 3 February to 6 March 2016 at Chiswick House Gardens, Chiswick, W4 2QN. Nearest stations: Turnham Green and Gunnersbury. Open Tuesday-Sunday 5-10.30pm (closed on Mondays, except 8 February for Chinese New Year opening). Tickets (ticketed entry every 15 mins from 5-8.45pm): Adults £16 (online), £18 (on the door). Child £10 (advance), £12 (on the door). Family £56. For booking and more information, visit the Magical Lantern UK website.

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Artist Julian Opie creates new permanent artwork for Carnaby as Lumiere London kicks off

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2016

A moving light installation called ‘Shaida Walking’ is erected on Broadwick Street

The streets of the capital will be lit up in ways never seen before this week as Lumiere London kicks off. Over four consecutive evenings (14-17 January 2016), international artists will light up some of the West End and Kings Cross’ most iconic buildings with 3D projections, interactive installations and illuminated neon artwork.

To coincide with the festival, British artist Julian Opie has created a new piece of moving art to be erected permanent in the Carnaby district of Soho. Entitled ‘Shaida Walking’, the piece is a double-sided LED monolith which uses light and animation to create a ‘walking portrait’. The artwork will stand on Broadwick Street and will appear as if the female figure is walking towards Carnaby Street. ‘Shaida Walking’ will join the existing permanent art and design installations among the 13 streets of Carnaby.

Opie is one of Britain’s most popular and influential artists in the country right now, with his work displayed in galleries including Tate Gallery in London and MoMA in New York City.

Clare Harris, Head of Group Marketing and Communications at Shaftesbury, enthused: ‘Lumiere London is set to be an exceptional festival celebrating London’s unique architecture as a canvas for some truly inspiring pieces of art. We are delighted to have the only permanent piece in Carnaby creating a legacy of the festival for years to come. Working with Julian Opie, a renowned London artist, felt like the perfect match for this iconic destination.’

  • Shaida Walking will be on display on Broadwick Street, W1F, near the junction with Carnaby Street from this week. Nearest station: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus. Lumiere London takes place in the evenings at Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, St James, Carnaby Street, Oxford Circus and Kings Cross from 14-17 January 2016. Free. For more information, visit the London.gov.uk website or Carnaby London.

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