Giant Exploding Box Kicks Off Festival of Light in French City of Lyon

Category: Society / Dec 07, 2012 11:09AM EDT
Lyon, in southeastern France, beamed brightly as its neighbourhoods and buildings were illuminated, part of the city's annual 'Light Festival'. A giant exploding 'Magic Cube' kicked off the four-day festival on Thursday night (December 6), as thousands of visitors poured into the city's Place Bellecour to watch the displays. Organisers say there are 66 different displays stretching across the city as far out as Lyon airport. Across from Place Bellecour and over the Saone river into Lyon's old quarter, Vieux Lyon, the Cathedrale de St Jean shone with wacky light and sound animations. The most amusing display featured two impish characters causing havoc over the facade for Vieux Lyon's station, Gare de Saint Paul. "The challenge was to do justice to the building. We modelled the facade in 3D and then we played with the lights to make a virtual facade that you can see behind me, to give a lighting effect that it is a bit weird and that at the same time does justice to the architecture and brings the cartoon characters to life," animation designer David Passegand said. Visitors looked on, enthralled. "We are from Lyon and have come to this event for years and have seen an evolution over the years where it has become more and more modern and artistic, with real artists putting their work on the facades," one Lyon resident said. "It is a real fest for Lyon and also the amazing light on the walls, it is always very nice," said another. Authorities have closed off Lyon's central Presqu'ile district from all traffic for the duration of the Festival to allow visitors to move around on foot and explore the different light displays around the town.