The International Festival of Lights in Milan

October 26, 2010

Milan’s International Festival of Lights, or Festival Internazionale Della Luce in Italian, is a month-long festival in Milan designed to transform the city into an open-air stage of contemporary art. The rules of the festival are simple; artists must use energy efficient LED lights in order to illuminate city squares, avenues, historical parks, monuments, and buildings for the 2010 Christmas season. Contestants have been submitting art proposals all year and finalists will have the opportunity to install their work for all to see right in the heart of Milan.

The work shown in the above image is from the first International Festival of Lights held in 2009. The piece is called “The Kiss”, designed and installed by Paul Cocksedge. Located in one of the most notable spots in Milan, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, the huge blue canopy illuminates a large hanging mistletoe sculpture. Passers by are encouraged to kiss under the mistletoe and donate one Euro to Cesvi, a charity aimed at feeding children in Uganda.

The main website, although written in Italian, is a good resource to begin searching for festival information. Milan intends to continue the festival into the foreseeable future to spur artistic creativity and encourage the use of LED lights as an energy saving measure. LED Christmas lights also have a much longer lifespan compared to standard holiday lights. This is especially important in Italy, where Christmas (particularly decorating for Christmas) and environmentalism are both taken very seriously.