Light art in public spaces – keeping festive season magic alive during COVID

There’s nothing like an artistic light installation to bring a public space to life. Over the past year we’ve seen how illuminating global landmarks such as the Sydney Opera House, Christ the Redeemer statue and the Eiffel Tower have helped foster global solidarity and spread messages of hope during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the festive season upon us here are some examples of the light art keeping the magic alive this December:


London’s Carnaby Street traditionally ups the ante with festive lights. Last year they used recycled materials to celebrate the world’s oceans. This year they’ve collaborated with the Choose Love charity – an organisation that raises funds for refugees and displaced people around the globe.


Venice’s Saint Mark’s Square and Rialto Bridge benefit from special lighting projections that give residents some comfort during coronavirus. At night the famous bridge transforms into a screen for light shows featuring angels dancing on the ancient arches and a golden lion, Venice’s symbol. The square is also flooded with golden light which reflects off the wet paving. Artist Fabrizio Plessia says: “My purpose is to light up this town, which needs light, which needs culture, which needs new emotions.”


Dublin’s winter lights campaign has been confirmed for the third year running with 17 locations being lit up to ring in the festive season. Lord mayor Hazel Chu says: “There’s no doubt Christmas 2020 will be different to previous years but that doesn’t mean it will be any less magical.”


Amsterdam’s annual Light Festival will be a toned down affair this year. The theme “When Nature Calls” tells the story about the city and its history through seven light artworks which may be followed online.

Down in the sunny south – uMhlanga Rocks’ new welcome lights were activated for the 2020 festive season. Festooned across popular Chartwell Drive they really add to the area’s experience of place while spreading some cheer at the same time. Across town, Florida Road’s lights create a similar welcoming effect.

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