Illuminating York 2016: A preview in pictures (and one video) of this year’s light show

Arc light centre… how Shambles might look with the Orbit installation. Photographs: Illuminating York
Arc light centre… how Shambles might look with the Orbit installation. Photographs: Illuminating York
Arc light centre… how Shambles might look with the Orbit installation. Photographs: Illuminating York

How do you top giant glitter balls that turned Shambles into an outdoor disco?

That was one of the highlights of last year’s Illuminating York. But the organisers of this year’s light festival are confident they can provide equally jaw-dropping spectacles – and looking at these images you can see why.

With seven newly commissioned artworks, an expanded light trail and a host of fringe events, the event will brighten up four nights later this month.

Here’s what awaits us in the darkness…

Illuminating York 2016

York city centre

Wed Oct 26-Sat Oct 29 @ 6pm-10pm

Mostly free; Minster installation – adults £8, children £3.50

More details

White light at York Minster

York Minster at night. Photograph © Allan Harris on Flickr
York Minster at night. Photograph © Allan Harris on Flickr
After lighting The Shard in London on New Year’s Eve, Jason Bruges Studio takes on a truly iconic building. Using only white light and particulate suspended in the air inside York Minster, visitors will “experience spectacular choreographed spaces carved out of light”.

This is the only paid-for commission, with standard admission prices of £8 for adults and £3.50 for children, for which you get a timed slot.

Forest of light

An artist's impression of 'Lumen' by David Ogle, which will be on display at the of York St John University's site on Lord Mayor's Walk
An artist’s impression of ‘Lumen’ by David Ogle, which will be on display at the of York St John University’s site on Lord Mayor’s Walk
A new venue for Illuminating York, the historic quad at York St John’s Lord Mayor’s Walk campus will be occupied by a forest of light, thanks to David Ogle’s Lumen. Visitors can walk amongst skeletal coloured luminescent trees, to experience the unusual light and shade cast by their glowing branches, with further exhibitions and performances by York St John Students to discover around the campus.

Travelling light

Tracking the changes at the NRM. Artist's impression by Heinrich & Palmer
Tracking the changes at the NRM. Artist’s impression by Heinrich & Palmer
Pioneers of large-scale illuminated art, Heinrich and Palmer turn their attention to the workshop at the National Railway Museum.

They will use projection, light drawings, film and sound in the working heart of the museum, where engines are maintained and restored. Visitors will also see the return of Locos in a Different Light at the NRM, where the halls and locomotives are transformed with colour and light by theatre lighting design students.

Holy light show

Inside Holy Trinity on Goodramgate. Photograph © Tim Green on Flickr
Inside Holy Trinity on Goodramgate. Photograph © Tim Green on Flickr
Secrets in the stained glass inspire the displays inside beautiful Holy Trinity Church on Goodramgate as Helen Maurer creates an installation using light, glass and mirrors to project shape and colour onto the walls and ceiling.

Arc light on Shambles

Another image of Orbit in Shambles
Another image of Orbit in Shambles
Orbit by Studio PSK will see arcs of light revolve above the heads of visitors to Shambles, encircling views of the iconic street.

Dancing the light fantastic

Loopy Lou by Rémi Brun brings a skipping figure created from LED lights to King’s Square. In daylight, Brun’s sculpture looks like an abstract wire construction, but after dark, the LED lights that dance around create a depiction of a skipping girl, based on the artist’s daughter playing.

Bunny light trail

One of the bunnies from the 2015 trail, which is being extended in 2016
One of the bunnies from the 2015 trail, which is being extended in 2016
Making a return after its debut last year will be the popular Bunny Light Trail, in collaboration with York contemporary design store Snow Home, where 50 bunny lights customised by artists and creatives will be placed in shop and business windows across the city centre.