We’ve barely taken down the lights, and plans for Christmas are already under way – with an open competition to design Oxford Street’s 2018 lights.

Most of us have on occasions looked up at the West End lights and thought… “oh, that’s a bit crap, I could have done better”.

This is the first time that the design of the Christmas lights on Oxford Street has been opened up to a design competition.

Following public submissions, four shortlisted designers will be given the opportunity to develop their designs and present to the judging panel. Following the competition, the chosen winner will bring their design to life on Oxford Street and in the surrounding areas.

The total budget for the lights is £1 million, of which £200,000 is earmarked for the launch event (who knew b-list celebs could be so expensive!)

The display will coincide with the opening of the Elizabeth line, and possibly, if they can meet a challenging deadline, the partial pedestrianisation of Oxford Street.

Lighting streets for Christmas is a relatively modern idea, supported by the growth of electricity supplies and reliable outdoor lighting. Selfridges was first lit for Christmas in 1935, then Regent Street in 1954, with Oxford Street only following in 1959.

Otherwise London was a ‘dark’ city at Christmas, so the illuminations stood out and attracted visitors.

Sadly not open to ordinary folk, this competition is aimed at lighting designers and architectural specialists. Damn! Details are here

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