Let Light In

We Are Placemaking work with Hammerson PLC on an annual programme to enliven the outdoor space at Westquay Southampton, The Esplanade, which was opened up to the public in December 2016. The previously disused space was renovated as part of the new Westquay South development with the aim to incorporate the old city walls back into the public realm.

We Are Placemaking curated Southampton’s first Festival of Light in 2017, and following its success the event was remodelled to return for 2018. The festival exhibited a collection of interactive and artistic light installations along with digital projections on the city walls which were bespoke for the event.


Last year the projections told the story of the history of Southampton, so to maintain the connection with the area this year the content was curated using inspiration from the myth and folklore surrounding the New Forest and wider Hampshire area. The permanent fountains in the Esplanade, which can be lit up, provided the foreground for some stunning photos along with endless entertainment for the kids!


An immersive light installation, the Heofon Maze, also featured in the centre of the Esplanade. The maze is created from a collection of iridescent panels which produced a mirror effect, enhancing the viewer’s disorientation within the maze. It was unique in that it could also be used in the daytime, and when the sun did shine in Southampton it created a beautiful coloured reflection on the Esplanade surface.

The festival also featured motion-sensitive light orbs (WeWink) which roared with the sounds of forest creatures; a field of 500 light spheres which communicated with one another through sound and light (Bloom); along with an interactive musical light installation, which had travelled straight from Lumiere London (Illumaphonium).

Check out the video below to see what we produced this year at the Westquay Festival of Light 2018.