The Eternal Story of the River Thames

Competition: Honourable mention for The Illuminated River international design competition

Posted by ala | January 4 2017

Our team have been awarded an Honourable Mention for our proposal The Eternal Story of the River Thames for The Illuminated River international design competition.

The Illuminated River is a design commission on an unprecedented scale: a scheme conceived to light central London’s bridges along the River Thames.

The competition run by The Illuminated River Foundation and the Mayor of London asked for a concept design for lighting four individual bridges (Chelsea, London, Waterloo and Westminster) and an overarching masterplan for the main road, rail and pedestrian bridges between Albert and Tower Bridges.

The Eternal Story of the River Thames

AL_A, Asif Kapadia, Simon Stephens, SEAM Design, Arup, GROSS. MAX., Mark Filip, Soundings, DP9

The tides of the Thames, its depths and its currents, are a direct force of nature. They have been this way for hundreds of thousands of years. Ever since the construction of the city, London has been an attempt to move away from the natural forces that have defined the place. We want to reveal the river as a breathing, pulsing organism and so illuminate the age and the tides of this ancient estuary.

We want to illuminate the river walls as a constant thread of light through the city that gently illumines the expanses of foreshore exposed at low tide. When the tide is low, the underbellies of the bridges are revealed by lighting. At high tide, the lighting shifts to illuminate the elevations of the bridges. The river and its tidal changes remind us that our lives play out not in the urgent context of minutes or hours, but in the slower, deeper context of thousands of centuries. It feels a good time to illuminate exactly that.

To view the video of our proposals, please click here.

Further details of our proposals can be seen at