Soho Kids Xmas Lights brings the community together through a celebration of light
UK - The Soho Kids Xmas Lights 2023 is now in its third annual edition. The project showcases the designs of pupils from the Soho Parish Primary School.
Soho Parish Primary School pupils, under the direction of Antonio Capelao, architect and founder of award-winning Architecture for Kids, a community interest company, coproduced 14 new street lighting panels this year to add to the 35 designed in the two previous years. Creating a total of 49 (and two commissions) luminescent installations that are lighting up the streets of Soho until 7 January.
The designs by the pupils were judged by a committee, formed of industry experts, including Ayça Donaghy, CEO, and Bob Bohannon, head of policy and sustainability, from The LIA. The judges along with Hannah Peaty, assistant head, Soho Parish Primary School and Antonio Capelao, founder and co-producer of Soho Kids Xmas Lights, selected 14 of the 130 pupils' designs, to be manufactured into street lighting panels. Some of which, received an award from the RIBA and The LIA for their outstanding design works.
Antonio assisted by Hannah and Joshua Brooks, RIBA interim learning manager, delivered a series of design workshops to the children to initiate their journey as lighting designers. Their journey included a visit to the Andy Warhol: Textiles exhibition at the Fashion + Textile Museum, as well as partaking in research of their local buildings, cultures, communities and traditions. The LIA also contributed a short video showcasing the 'value of light' to the children for inspiration in their designs.
The designs were produced in a curatorial workshop facilitated by Antonio and Hannah. The Soho Kids Xmas Lights project is an ongoing program and every year new lights are added to the existing ones in this way.
Antonio said of the project, "I can't quite believe this is the third annual edition, and pupils designs are getting more and more experimental and challenging. The community is very supportive and goes out of its way to make it happen. A special thank you goes to Cllr Patrick Lilley for all his efforts in bringing the community together to materialise the project - Soho Kids Xmas Lights does indeed bring the community together through a celebration of light during the darkest months of the year."
Ayça Donaghy, CEO of The LIA said, "As the CEO of the Lighting Industry Association, I am delighted to support and be a part of the Soho Christmas Lights project. Attracting the younger generation to the lighting industry is of paramount importance, and this project beautifully aligns with our mission at the LIA.
“This project empowers these children to explore their local environment and express their unique ideas through the medium of light - it is a wonderful opportunity to harness the boundless creativity and imagination of children through the magic of light. By doing so, we not only cultivate a generation of future lighting experts but also bring a touch of warmth, joy, and brilliance to their community during the festive season."
The long-term plan is for the light panels to be added to every year with each lamp post where the light panels are installed featuring a QR code that links to information about the project.

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