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medieval meets modern for javier riera's mind-bending light projections in durham

lumiere lights up durham after lockdown


lumiere—the UK’s leading light festival—returned to durham at the end of 2021 to bring people together in the biggest outdoor event in northeast england since lockdown. six international light artists were invited to respond to iconic interventions in the landscape across county durham. castle of light at raby castle was the firm favorite of the county program, with thousands turning out to see the 14th-century fortress spectacularly transformed by artist javier riera into ever-changing geometric patterns.

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castle of light by javier riera at raby castle. lumiere 2021, produced by artichoke.

images by matthew andrews



mind-bending and meditative shapes by javier riera


spanish artist javier riera responded to raby castle’s unique architecture with a mind-bending and meditative series of geometric shapes that played with and echoed its fortress exterior, seeking out the hidden qualities and dimensions of the exterior fabric of the building.


for riera, geometry is the natural pulse that emanates from everything. in this piece, he explored the inner energy of this silent all-seeing colossus and its relationship with nature. by making visible the castle’s inner energy through geometrical patterns of light, his goal was to transform the way people think about castles and their place in the landscape. javier riera’s work is influenced by the land art movement, where ‘time, place, relativity, and experience’ are the key concepts. in 2019, he illuminated a section of durham’s riverside trees in geometrical light.


lumiere 2021 was on view in and around durham from november 18th – 21st, 2021.

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the lakeside façade of the castle was transformed by spanish artist javier riera

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the ever-changing patterns were both mind-bending and meditative

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castle of light was on view in november 2021 as part of UK light festival lumiere




project info:


name: castle of light

event: lumiere durham 2021

location: durham, UK
artist: javier riera, produced by artichoke

photography: matthew andrews


designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: lynne myers | designboom


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