Lux Helsinki : Brightening the City Streets

Lux Helsinki is a free event, showcasing light installations embedded into the cityscape from both local and international artists. Despite the freezing temperatures of -26 °C, it took place last weekend and illuminated 16 different locations in the heart of the city.

It’s so easy to escape the dark and cold weather conditions by locking yourself indoors for the rest of the winter once Christmas and New Year’s Eve is over, so Lux Helsinki is a quite refreshing event in the beginning of each January. The installations always get people outdoors and brighten up the dark days by sparking curiosity, and capturing everyone’s attention for a while.

Although the weather was beyond cold this year, there was a surprising amount of people strolling around in no hurry and enjoying the lights. The range of installations were so immersive this year, that I almost forgot that my body was literally frozen from head to toe.

Lux Helsinki Candy House

Sun Effects : Candy House at Ateneum Art Museum 

Lux Helsinki set off straight across the street from the Central Railway Station Square this year. The colorful LED lights covered the whole museum and set an optimistic vibe and lightened the whole Station Square. This one was made by Sun Effects, a design and production collective from Helsinki.

Lux Helsinki Ilon kuvia

Stefan Bremer : Ilon kuvia at Helsinki Cathedral / Senate Square

The images projected onto the Cathedral changed on a timer and came from various artists. The one in the image is by Helsinki based photographer Stefan Bremer.

Lux Helsinki He olivat taalla

Alexander ReichsteinHe olivat täällä at Tori Quarters / Sofiankatu

Translated into English, this installation is called ‘They Were Here’. It’s by Moscow-born, Helsinki local graphic artist Alexander Reichstein, and the idea of it is to bring former residents of the Tori Quarters to life. The enchanting storytelling element of this one brought an extra layer to it, which is why it was one of my favorites.

Lux Helsinki Nowhere

Nathalie ChambartNowhere at Erottaja Pavilion

Also one of my favorites, Nowhere is by Belgian artist Nathalie Chambray. To me, it fits perfectly into the city background in an odd way. It looks like it actually belongs there, but at the same time doesn’t at all. It might be the purpose of it, as the artist explains:

Nowhere tries to imagine somewhere, a place we can’t touch but can feel.
Nowhere can take us anywhere. It refers to a possibility, a utopia.
Nowhere is a location that makes fun of itself.
Nowhere is hidden but still very much there.
Nowhere talks about what we can’t see.

Lux Helsinki Color Park

Several artistsLantern Park at Old Church Park

Both images above and below are from an installation that covered the entire park. Neither of the images do it justice, because in person, the park was fully brought to life like a fairytale. There were different kinds of cool lighted lanterns hanging from the trees, rows of brightly colored LED lights on the sides of the walking path, and smoke machines. The small park was made into such a wonderland, that half an hour could’ve easily been spent slowly wandering through it, if it wasn’t for the cold.

Lux Helsinki Color Park

Lux Helsinki CLOUD

Caitlind r.c. Brown & Wayne GarrettCLOUD between Annankatu and Kalevankatu

I think this interactive Cloud sculpture by the Canadian artist duo was everyone’s favorite. Me, my mother, elderly people and children alike all stopped to test the interactive feature of it with amazement on their faces – the individual lightbulbs could be turned on and off by pulling on the switches.

It’s made from six thousand incandescent light bulbs that the duo collected from their neighbors back in Canada. The raindrops hanging from the light-bulb cloud are pull-chain switches which visitors can use to switch the bulbs off and on. This joyful and playful work is sure to put smiles on people’s faces.

Does your city have a light festival, or any other exciting events in January?


All images by Lauri Rotko

Photo By: Lux Helsinki / Lauri Rotko