The Lumiere Festival has returned to London following an initial hugely successful outing in 2016. This time though it’s expanded and gone into a variety of new locations around the city including the legal graffiti spot of the Leake Street Tunnel in the Waterloo arches.
Featuring some additional fluorescent lighting and music to give the tunnel an otherworldly look and feel, the main feature of the display was three short films featuring three people in timelapse rapidly changing before our eyes. The films were projected onto the walls in various sections of the tunnel.
We haven’t actually been there for a while but the Leake Street Tunnel remains one of the go to places to see street art and graffiti in London. Painting is legal there and its central location means that artists can just rock up and paint even if they are just passing through.
It’s changing though…rapidly! The tunnel is intersected by a series of other service tunnels which lead underneath Waterloo station. It’s a massive warren under there and slowly but surely over the past few years, these other tunnels and additional areas have found themselves getting developed in some way.
Now a swanky new entrance complete with shops has also been created introducing a new access point to the tunnel from the end of Westminster Bridge. It’s not open yet officially, but today visitors were able to have a good wander round. Goodness knows what this is going to mean for the tunnel’s character as clearly it is going to change significantly.
The other thing I noticed about the tunnel today was how clean it was. Rarely is Leake Street debris free but, it would appear that, thanks to Lumiere it’s been cleaned up, rubbish disposed off and swept. It’s been given a new lease of life compared to it’s normal grungy state that’s for sure.
So of course we took photographs and despite the festival crowds there were also still people painting, this is Leake Street after all. The tunnel also looked pretty good with it’s new and albeit temporary lighting so always good to catch the place looking a bit different and of course no matter when you go there’ll always be some good art to see.
The Lumiere Festival runs at various locations in London including the Leake Street Tunnel from 18 January 2018 to 21 January 2018. It is the second iteration of the event with the first being held in 2016. The tunnel was visited and all photographs taken on 19 January 2018.
Lumiere Leake Street Gallery