Offering a pleasant, if brisk, early March evening stroll through the grounds of the hallowed 18th century West London heritage estate Chiswick House, this candy-coloured illuminated trail of Chinese lanterns, facade projections, laser light shows and interactive displays heralds the conclusion of London’s official season of light-based extravaganzas (including the festive Kew, Eltham Palace and Syon Park enchanted light programmes, Canary Wharf Winter Lights, Winterfest at Wembley Park, Glow at Eastbury Manor, as well as a plethora of smaller-scale offerings at various city venues). It’s clear that London is in deep attraction to a play of light.
Lacking the sophistication and style of many of Kew’s pieces or the creative edge of Canary Wharf’s contributions, or the majesty and awe of the infrequent London Lumiere, the works here settle for a straightforward, steady reliability, a widespread appeal to all family members. Woodland creatures, birds, jungle animals, fairies, plants, flowerbeds and toadstools abound. Carpets of animated laser lights, like bits of shimmering and restless confetti, gently disorient step at certain stages of the walk. Patterns of light search through trees. Gardens of clustered lights flash on and off in musical sequence. Brilliant, explosive orchestrations of image splash vividly to life upon the walls of the villa. A peacock flashes its psychedelic plumage.
It’s all perfectly comfortable and charming, but it doesn’t offer anything particularly original (perhaps the unfortunate result of such a glut of light-based exhibitions scheduled so closely together). An outdoor food market, fairground rides and big-top tent with acrobats and artisan crafts greet visitors at the end of the trail, enhancing its familial attractiveness. It will certainly put a smile on many a kid’s face, and a spell upon the mind and heart. LIGHTOPIA closed on 1 March Video footage available on the Instagram account