Friday 17 January 2020 1:12 pm

Phone zombies, an interactive 'brain' and milk bottle art at Canary Wharf's Winter Lights festival

Those who have taken a walk around Canary Wharf in the last week or so will have noticed some strange-looking structures popping up in the area’s streets, squares and parks.

Last night the purpose of all this finally came to light – literally, as the sculptures burst into vibrant illumination to mark the beginning of the sixth annual Winter Lights festival.

There are 25 installations in total, displaying what Canary Wharf calls an “eclectic curation of work at the intersection of technology and art”.

One of the highlights this year is Affinity by Amigo & Amigo, an interactive exhibit which ponders the power of the human brain. Visitors can step into a series of interconnected globes representing neurons and memories, touching them to send a ‘pulse’ around the sculpture.


The Lactolight piece transforms 7,344 recycled plastic milk bottles into individual pixels within a giant, low-res screen, with the aim of spreading awareness about single-use plastics.

The festival will draw plenty of Instagrammers, but they might want to give Absorbed by Light by Gali May Lucas a miss. Featuring three hunched-over statues with their faces illuminated by smartphones, it satirises our obsession with devices.

The event is part of Canary Wharf’s efforts to liven up the area for visitors, ahead of the first-ever residents moving in later this year.

Two buildings will be up and running before the end of 2020: the 345-home 10 Park Drive, where homes start at £880,000, and the 327-home 10 George Street which is exclusively for rent with prices from £1,950 per month.

Brian De’ath, residential sales advisor at Canary Wharf group, says it is building a “new community” with “something for everyone.”

Alongside the homes it is also building 380,000 sq ft of shops, bars and restaurants and eight acres of public space, plazas and parks.

The Winter Lights festival runs from 16 -25 January from 4-10pm.

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