Culture /

The C&TH Guide to Lumiere Festival 2019

The UK’s largest light festival returns for its special 10th anniversary...

This post may contain affiliate links. Learn more


It’s the UK’s most spectacular light festival and this year Lumiere promises to be brighter than ever. In celebration of the festival’s 10th anniversary, 37 magnificent light-centric artworks will take over the northeast city of Durham, including those from previous editions as well as new commissions from an array of emerging and established international and UK artists.

From an oversized illuminative slinky, to a fantastic fog sculpture permeating the beautiful River Wear, this awe-inspiring festival’s plethora of shining works will make stepping out into the wintry cold worth it…

The Best Art Books Ever 

The C&TH Guide to Lumiere Festival

14 to 17 November 2019

I Love Durham

Lumiere Festival

I Love Durham, Jacques Rival. Lumiere Durham 2011, produced by Artichoke. Photo by Matthew Andrews

A Lumiere festival favourite, French architect Jacques Rival’s giant I Love Durham snow globe will feature at the light festival once again. Enveloping the iconic yet controversial statue of the 3rd Marquess of Londonderry, the contemporary work exists as an oversized snow globe, coating the Marquess in snow and featuring a bright neon-pink sign sartorially stating ‘I Love Durham’.


Lumiere Festival

CLOUD, Caitlind R.C. Brown Wayne-Garrett. LumiereDurham 2015, produced by Artichoke. Photo by Matthew Andrews

Comprising of 6,000 ‘floating’ light bulbs, Caitlind R.C. Brown and Wayne-Garrett’s exuberant and immersive artwork CLOUD will be brightening the skies of Lumiere once again. Encouraging visitors to engage in the artwork together and acknowledge the importance of ‘collective action’, the cloud’s multitude of chain switches have to be pulled in order to brighten the exterior.


Lumiere Festival

Fogscape #03238, Fujiko Nakaya, Simon Corder. Lumiere Durham 2015, produced by Artichoke. Photo by Matthew Andrews

A must-see throughout the festival, Fujiko Nakaya’s FOGSCAPE #03238, which originally appeared in the 2015 edition, constitutes a mystifying and unearthly fog pervading the River Wear, best observed from the South Street bank of the river. The Japanese artist, renowned for her spectacular transient ‘fog sculptures’, hopes that the work will encourage people to greater consider the climate crisis.

Where to See Christmas Lights in London



Mysticète, Top’là Design, Catherine Garret. Lumiere Durham 2015, produced by Artichoke. Photo by Matthew Andrews

Following her Elephantastic sculpture which stormed Durham’s masonry arched Elvet Bridge back in 2013, Catherine Garret and her design agency, Top’là Design are retuning to Lumiere this year with a different animal in mind. Head to the riverbank past the Radisson Blu Hotel to find a beautiful Baleen Whale breaking from the water’s surface, with a spellbinding soundtrack provided by musician Laurent Frick – a wondrous creature depicted in the most unusual of surroundings.

Geometrical Traces


Geometrical Traces, Javier Riera. New to Lumiere Durham 2019, produced by Artichoke. Image provided by Javier Riera

Catch this stunning light projection by Spanish land artist Javier Riera from Prebends Bridge in the city centre (best viewed after-dark). The captivating artwork draws on the relationship between geometry and nature, throwing light on the River Wear with intricately produced computer-generated patterns.

For The Birds


For the Birds, Jonny Easterby, collective of artists. Lumiere Durham 2017, produced by Artichoke. Photo by Matthew Andrews

Back again after catching the eyes of Lumiere visitors in 2017, For The Birds is the fascinating work of a group of five accomplished artists (Jony Easterby, Mark Anderson, Kathy Hinde, Ulf Pedersen and Pippa Taylor), inviting visitors into the woodland of Durham University’s Botanic Gardens to experience more than 20 light and sound installations inspired by birds.

Visit for more information.

READ MORE: The Best Art Exhibitions in the UK | Where to Spot Street Art in London