Wednesday 13 December 2012 – Media Release

Hundreds of Interactive Paper Boats Sail into Canary Wharf

From 13 December a flotilla of 300 illuminated floating ‘paper boats’, will sail into Canary Wharf’s Middle Dock. Commissioned for Canary Wharf Group’s award-winning public art programme, the beautiful boats will be lit from within by ever-changing patterns of different colours, altered from the mobile phones of passers-by.

The art installation, entitled Voyage, is a new work by Aether & Hemera: an artistic partnership between architect Claudio Benghi and lighting artist Gloria Ronchi and will form a spectacular light show in the middle of the famous business and shopping district’s iconic skyscrapers. Every year Canary Wharf Group’s public art team curates a Winter Lights installation to enliven the dark evenings, as part of the year round programme of temporary and permanent visual arts.

Voyage will be in place until 15 February, with the lights coming on before dusk until 2am. The artists aim to use the work to provoke memories, explore aesthetic interaction, evoke memories of childhood and elicit feelings of connective human experiences from their audience.

Sally Williams, Public Art Consultant at Canary Wharf Group, says: “Aether & Hemera are inviting passers-by on a journey from reality to imagination. In Voyage they have created an interactive experience in which people living, working and visiting Canary Wharf can use their mobile phones to influence the movement and behaviour of the lights within the boats.”

‘Voyage’ marks the beginning of the 2013 Sculpture at Work exhibition programme at Canary Wharf, which will include shows from Nick Hornby and Sinta Tantra, Eilis O’Connell, Halima Cassell and The Ingram Collection of Modern British Art.

People passing close to the boats will be able to interact with the artwork to change colours and patterns. This can be done by connecting mobile devices to the Voyage Wi-Fi network, opening the web browser, going to and following the instructions.


‘Voyage’ will be installed in Middle Dock from Wednesday 12 December. All media interested in photo/broadcast opportunities, please contact the press office (below)

For further information, please contact:

Hamish McDougall
Canary Wharf Group plc
T: 020 7418 2326
M: 07779 888 075

Rosie Kempson/Clarissa Knox
The Communication Group
T: 020 7630 1411
E: rkempson/


About Aether & Hemera

Aether and Hemera is a partnership of architect Claudio Benghi and lighting artist Gloria Ronchi. Their company name comes from the ancient Greek god and goddess of brighter upper air and daylight. Aether is Claudio Benghi, the media architect; Hemera is Gloria Ronchi, the lighting artist. Together they formed an interdisciplinary collaboration to research the aesthetic challenges of light and its power to trigger emotions and response, creating a sense of identity or setting a mood. Their approach focuses on researching the sensory engagement power of an immaterial force like light and how collaborative participatory arts and design methods can influences our way of living in a variety of contexts, from interiors to urban spaces.

Gloria graduated at Politecnico di Milano and later obtained a Master degree in Lighting Design at Brera’s Fine Art Academy in Milan. In 2008 she moved to England and obtained a Fellowship from the Institute of Digital Innovation, University of Teesside, for the design and creation of ‘Mood Chair’, a piece of interactive furniture that responds to its environment and people in it. She is a professional artist interested in combining light, digital technology and physical space to produce immersive and emotional headspaces. Claudio trained as an architect at Politecnico di Milano, where he later became course coordinator and Lecturer of the course: “Communication design”, from 2000 to 2005. In 2007 he obtained his PhD, specializing in media architecture. He is now Senior Lecturer at Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne. His aim is to explore emerging practices in cross-disciplinary fields to merge digital technologies & virtual spaces with tangible and physical spatial experiences.
Works by Aether & Hemera have been shown across the UK and in Italy since 2006. Recent exhibitions include: DLI Museum/Durham Art Gallery, 2011; Wolverhampton Art Gallery, 2010; Queen’s Hall Art Centre, Hexham, 2010; MART 09 at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Newcastle Upon Tyne, 2009; Cannon Hall Museum in Barnsley, 2009; Lampugnani’s Castle, Subiate, Milan, Italy, 2006.

For more information see

About Canary Wharf Group’s Public Art Programme

The annual ‘Winter Lights’ installation forms part of Canary Wharf’s visual arts programme. The ‘Sculpture in the Workplace’ exhibition programme in the Lobby of One Canada Square and Jubilee Park celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2011 with the publication of ‘Sculpture at Canary Wharf: A Decade of Exhibitions’.

Curated by Ann Elliott, the programme during that period has shown over 50 exhibitions in which 132 artists participated, including Lynn Chadwick; Phillip King CBE PPRA, Dan Graham, Franz West, Royal Academicians Ivor Abrahams, Phyllida Barlow, Ann Christopher, Maurice Cockrill, Stephen Cox, Nigel Hall, Christopher Le Brun, John Maine, David Nash; and Wendy Taylor CBE, along with many younger artists at the start of their careers.

Canary Wharf has one of the UK’s largest collections of public art and year-round exhibitions by leading artists, all free to view. In 2010 Canary Wharf Group won the Christie’s Award for Best Corporate Art Collection and Programme at the International Art and Work Awards, beating entries from around the world.

Canary Wharf’s permanent collection now numbers over 60 works of art, including stand-alone pieces and integrated artist-architectural works, all executed by some of the most inspired artists, designers and craftsmen of today. Among these are a lighting installation by Martin Richman, bespoke railings by Bruce McLean, floor and wall mosaics by Emma Biggs, sculptural works by Danny Lane and Wendy Ramshaw and photographic lightboxes by Catherine Yass. An illustrated Art Map is available showing the locations for the works of art found throughout the Estate.

About Canary Wharf Group plc

Canary Wharf Group plc has achieved one of the greatest feats of civic transformation – an iconic urban regeneration, designing and constructing over 15 million square feet of office and retail space across its 97 acre East London Estate.

There are more than 200 shops, bars and restaurants at Canary Wharf. Recent fashion openings include Tiffany & Co., Jaeger and Hackett. 10 new bars and restaurants have opened in the past three years to critical acclaim, creating hundreds of new jobs.

Canary Wharf’s world-class Arts & Events programme includes over 100 events each year and more than 60 art works by 45 artists and designers is found throughout the Estate. Temporary art exhibitions run throughout the year, with recent exhibitors including Peter Randall-Page, Phillip King and Phyllida Barlow.

Canary Wharf Group won the Christie’s Award for Best Corporate Art Collection and Programme at the International Art and Work Awards in November 2010, beating entries from around the world.

20% of the Estate is landscaped parks, plazas and walkways with over 1,000 trees, 88 floral species and each year 70,000 seasonal plants are planted. Canary Wharf also has one of Britain’s highest concentrations of ‘green’ roofs, reducing energy use and encouraging biodiversity. CWG has been named one of the Sunday Times Best Green Companies in Britain for the past three years.

100,000 people work at Canary Wharf, with the population projected to double by 2025.

Canary Wharf Group plc is an integrated property development, investment and management group of companies.