When night falls, downtown Dubai transforms into a fairytale land of light and sound for the first ever edition of the city’s Festival of Lights..
It features more than 30 installations by major European artists including this interactive show starring internet celebrities the Anookis.
French lingerie icon Chantal Thomas’ installation stands 8 metres tall. To a poetic tune, the bouquet morphs and blooms in fast-motion.
“This is very impressive for me because it’s the first time I have seen the lights. I’m from Indonesia and I came here just to see the lights,” said one enthusiastic visitor.
Composer and stage director Damien Fontaine is known for his acclaimed multimedia shows both in France and abroad.
His installation ‘The Prince of Light’ takes viewers on a fantastic journey in quest of a stolen treasure. Projected on the façade of the Souk Al Bahar shopping mall, it features a magical mix of video mapping and LED lighting.
The event was organised in partnership with the French city of Lyon, a master in the art of urban lighting thanks to its own festival of lights. Jean-François Zurawik is Director of Events at the city of Lyon:
“The massive scale of the city’s architecture might have scared us off, but in the end that wasn’t the case. It provided a free space for ideas and is a wonderful surprise for artists from Lyon. When you think that the spheres of French artist Jerome Toq’r, which have never even featured in the Lyon festival, can be seen here, at the foot of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, that’s very moving,” he said.
French fashion designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, otherwise known as “the king of the unconventional”, boldly crosses over into the world of art with his installation.
“The aim was to bring a piece of history from the old continent to a continent and a city which are creating their own history. So I wanted to bring emotion, memory, and I wanted to build a castle – like a child’s castle – in the heart of this city where they are building the towers of the future,” said de Castelbajac.
‘Mikado’ by Marseille-born artist Edouard Levine features tall illuminated sticks forming geometric patterns of light as they reach for the skies.
Set to intoxicating electro music, the ‘Vertigo’ installation confuses the senses by distorting perception with a clever play of light and bright colours.
In this urban jungle, ‘Elephantastik’ by Top’là Design is an optical 3D illusion that explores the strangeness of a wild animal set in an architectural context.
“The images were very well displayed. The message got across. It was a very nice, visually rich show,” said one Indian visitor.
“We, as locals of the United Arab Emirates, are proud of the Festival of Lights, which is beautiful and colourful, and brings tourists to our country,” said one local man.
“The challenge here was to combine the creative spirit of the Festival of Lights with the magnitude of Dubai’s architecture. All you need to do is look around to see that the organisers have succeeded,” said euronews’ correspondent in Dubai, François Chignac.