Dubai gets psychedelic with the Festival of Lights

Dubai’s inaugural Festival of Lights is a ten day event that is modelled on the version hosted in Lyon, France every December. The collection features over thirty installations and is one of Dubai’s most ambitious projects ever.

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For ten nights, Downtown Dubai will be transformed into a breathtaking view in order to celebrate light, art and culture, spanning “the height of Burj Khalifa, the breadth of The Dubai Mall, the pathways of the Waterfront Promenade and the expanse of Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard.”

The city of Lyon co-sponsored the event, along with Emaar Properties, the Dubai developers responsible for some of the most ambitious projects in Dubai.

“We aimed to mark an extraordinary celebration of artistic creativity and light installations on a scale never experienced before in the region,” said an Emaar spokesperson.

A steel cable chandelier dangles from the ceiling in the Dubai Mall atrium and emits disco ball like lighting, while illuminated beams pour out from the pinnacle of the Burj Khalifa, making the tallest building in the world resemble a giant lighthouse. In Burj Lake, which is home of the Dubai Fountain, the world’s largest water feature, a hyper-realistic 3D hologram of a whale romps in above the water, while the Souk al Bahar, the grand, Arabian-style bazaar, has been transformed into a 3D cinematic feature that resembles something created by Disney.

French stage director and composer Damien Fontaine has created a visual narrative in which two characters go in search of hidden treasure by using video mapping and LED projectors. Other participants of the Dubai Festival of Lights also include fashion designer JC/DC from Morocco, who once designed a teddy bear coat for Madonna and French lingerie designer Chantal Thomass.

“The City of Lyon has set a global benchmark in festive lighting and it was an ideal fit to partner with them to bring the world’s finest lighting concepts to Dubai,” said an Emaar spokesperson.

Millions of visitors pour into Lyon every year for the Lyon festival of lights that began as a religious tradition. Today, the French festival is one of the most impressive entries on the global arts calendar that lasts for four days, during which artists project flames onto churches, create animations that crawl up buildings, and graft holograms onto mist. We just have to wait and see whether Dubai’s Festival of Lights will follow suit.

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