The Spirit of Christmas: Giant angel sculptures soar above London streets
If you're wandering through London's main shopping streets this December, make sure you look up because you might see some giant angels soaring above and lighting up the winter sky. It's all thanks to St James’s London who are celebrating The Spirit Of Christmas with a new festive lighting display – forming part of a unified scheme, the largest in Central London, following Regent Street down to Waterloo Place St James’s for the very first time.
Created by James Glancy Design in partnership with The Crown Estate, the special lights are made up of a series of dramatic, large-scale spirit figures with arms triumphantly outstretched, each with a wingspan of over sixteen metres. Hand-crafted in a south London workshop, each figure is formed around a metal cage, which is then covered in wire mesh onto which sparkling white LED pea lights are studded.
The frames of the 21 spirit figures in St James’s required over 2,200 hours of welding time and the entire scheme called on the talents of a wide range of British craftspeople including metalworkers, carpenters, model makers, sculptors, riggers and animators.
Paul Dart, the lead designer at James Glancy, took his inspiration for the human-form spirit figures from the seventeenth century Grindling Gibbons carvings found in St James’s Church. He said: "I started with the wings and that naturally evolved into an angel or spirit. The interesting aspect of this scheme was knowing there was a very strong story to the area as a home of craftsmanship which we hope is reflected in our work."
The dazzling display will form a warm canopy of light above the streets of St James’s with each figure lit from within as well as from below with twinkling spotlights. The result will be that the figures appear to soar without support above the heads of visitors to Jermyn Street, Regent Street St James’s and the newly opened St James’s Market.