Lux Helsinki light festival and freezing cold weather conditions are here again! Every year they seem to arrive hand in hand. With arctic temperatures down to -20 degrees below zero and harsh wind I braved the cold and headed out to explore Lux Helsinki on Thursday, the first night of the five-day festival (5–9 Jan 2017).Last year I was impressed by Lux Helsinki art installations more than ever and it felt like an exciting and colourful winter wonderland in the darkness. So this year my expectations were naturally high.This year Lux Helsinki light festival encircles Helsinki Cathedral in a new route illuminating the most iconic buildings around Helsinki Market Square and historic places in the idyllic quarters of Kruununhaka. Let’s take a look at the highlights of this year’s Lux Helsinki light art festival!As Helsinki Cathedral is my absolute favourite landmark of Helsinki, I got very excited to see that all four sides of the cathedral were illuminated each side having its own motif, style and colours. This is where I started my Lux Helsinki tour. I absolutely loved the great views over Helsinki Cathedral with different colours and patterns from Senate Square but I also climbed up the stairs to the upper level of the cathedral to take a closer look at the changing colours and patterns. Isn’t this beautuful?On the eastern side of the cathedral waterfalls cascaded out of the windows of the Chapel of Helsinki Cathedral.One of the bell towers of Helsinki Cathedral had received a gorgeous light art installation in red and yellow.At Senate Square two interactive light installations invited people to play with light. The Light Pipes installation comprised copper pipes and valves that people were able to use to adjust the brightness of the lamps. The People Power installation in turn came to life with red, green, blue and white lights when someone stepped on the scale. If I recall this was the same installation as what they had at Linnanmäki Carnival of Light and Colour last autumn.From Senate Square I headed to the historic Tori Quarters across the street where I found a piece of light art, The Singing Building, with a mouth being projected onto the facade of a building. With red lips (and ugly yellow teeth ugh!) the mouth performed a crazy rap song. Quite a quirky but creative piece of art.It was so cold outdoors that it was unbearable to take photos without gloves. Even though I was wearing my warmest winter jacket, 3 layers of trousers and socks, the warmest ever winter shoes and a pair of leather mittens my fingers and toes were frozen and I could not move or feel them any longer so at this point I decided to take a break at the coffee shop of Helsinki City Museum to warm up.After enjoying a cup of hot tea at the cafe I felt warm enough to continue my walk to Helsinki Market Square at the waterfront. Here the most impressive buildings such as Helsinki City Hall, Embassy of Sweden, Supreme Court and the Presidential Palace facing the sea were all beautifully illuminated with different colours. I personally think that it was a great idea to light up the historic buildings by the water as this is the most photographed silhouette of Helsinki. I am sure it looks absolutely gorgeous from the sea.One of my favourite Lux Helsinki art installations was the Cube, an illusion in which analogue and digital, nature and technology, as well as old and new coexist side by side. This piece of light art was projected onto the facade of Stora Enso head office, originally designed by the legendary Finnish architect Alvar Aalto.Behind Helsinki Cathedral on street Kirkkokatu an animation based on patterns by Marimekko, a Finnish design company, reflecting wild Finnish nature and forest with animals was projected onto the facade of the Bank of Finland. It was literally cool to meet wild animals and nature in the historic heart of Helsinki.My best Lux Helsinki experience this year was the Flowers of Life in the idyllic inner courtyard of the University of Helsinki’s Topelia building. I was not even aware that such a gorgeous inner courtyard exists in the heart of the city. Here a group of mystical installations with a magical glow of light, colour and pattern floated quietly in the air with the wind.Luckily this year the Lux Helsinki route was very compact. With cold weather like this I would have not been able to wander any further nor take any more photos so having seen all installations I was more than happy to head back home.How did I like the Lux Helsinki light festival this year? Did it exceed my expectations? The short route in the most historic parts of Helsinki was definitely a plus, however I was a kind of disappointed. Hopefully next year we get to see something as spectacular as the creative and colourful winter wonderland of Lux Helsinki 2016. Hopes up!
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