Light Night Leeds sets new benchmark for cultural togetherness

Light Night 2017

Colourful illuminated benches will help bring people together to experience this year’s stunning Light Night Leeds.

The beautiful light benches will be installed on Victoria Gardens ahead of next week’s annual arts showpiece, giving visitors a unique new place to get to know each other on October 5 and 6.

Created by German artists Lichtbankobjekte with the aim of breaking down social awkwardness, the light benches are made using glass light beams connected by WiFi, and change colour every two and a half minutes.

Artist Bernd Spiecker said: “I took the traditional park bench that has been part of our history for so long and reinterpreted it for the 21st century. The emotional interaction of light and colour opens up a new perception of the object to the viewer and those that sit on them.

“I had a vision to let 100 light benches wander around the world and to install them at famous places so that people from every nation, religion and culture can have a seat and get the opportunity to communicate with each other.

“Everywhere they have been installed, people have gathered, taken photos and enjoyed each other’s company, whether a friend or a stranger. When sitting on them there is a sense of familiarity and also the knowledge that we are all one.”

Following Light Night Leeds, the five benches will become a permanent fixture in Leeds, the only ones of their kind in the UK outside London and lasting legacy for the event as Leeds bids to be European Capital of Culture in 2023.

Bernd added “I am excited that my benches will be on show permanently and will grow to be a regular sight with the public all year round, each year for Light Night and as Leeds goes forward with its bid for European Capital of Culture 2023.”

The light benches are presented in association with Leeds BID (Leeds Business Improvement District).

Andrew Cooper, chief executive of LeedsBID said:

“LeedsBID is delighted to be working in partnership with Leeds City Council on Light Night Leeds 2017 – an annual highlight of the cultural calendar which illuminates the city centre in spectacular fashion, with buildings, places and spaces brought to life with innovative lighting, activities and events.

“This year LeedsBID’s continued investment sees an exclusive presentation in Granary Wharf, a permanent installation on Victoria Gardens, and work with international artists to shine a giant light or two on Briggate.”

Light Night Leeds will see more than 60 spectacular arts events lighting up prominent city centre landmarks and giving people the chance to explore Leeds in a completely different way.

This year’s event will celebrate the people of Leeds, with other highlights including an illuminated parade featuring performers from Leeds West Indian Carnival, a fantastic digital projection on Leeds Civic Hall and a stunning recreation of the moon at Leeds Dock.

Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said:
“Light Night Leeds is one the biggest, best and brightest occasions on our city’s calendar and brings together 80,000 people to experience something truly unique and unforgettable.

“It also makes a powerful statement about what culture means to Leeds and how much a successful bid to be European Capital of Culture has the capacity to unlock even more of Leeds’s vast cultural potential.”

For more details on Light Night Leeds, including how to plan your evening, please visit: http://whatson.leeds.gov.uk/lightnight