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Tripping the light fantastic at the Magical Lantern Festival 2016

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 2016 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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Celebrating the light art of a neon genius: Gods Own Junkyard pop-up in Soho