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Traffic Light Tree, London

4.3
#2195 of 3,692 in Things to do in London
Traffic Light Tree is a public sculpture in Poplar, London, England, created by the French sculptor Pierre Vivant following a competition run by the Public Art Commissions Agency for the London Docklands Development Corporation under their Public Art programme. Originally situated on a roundabout in Limehouse, near Canary Wharf and Millwall, at the junction of Heron Quay, Marsh Wall and Westferry Road, it is now located on a different roundabout near Billingsgate Market in Poplar.

Eight metres tall and containing 75 sets of lights, each controlled by computer, the sculpture was described by Vivant thus:

The Sculpture imitates the natural landscape of the adjacent London Plane Trees, while the changing pattern of the lights reveals and reflects the never ending rhythm of the surrounding domestic, financial and commercial activities.

The Public Art Commissions Agency has said "the arbitrary cycle of light changes is not supposed to mimic the seasonal rhythm of nature, but the restlessness of Canary Wharf."
Traffic Light Tree was installed in 1998 on the site of a plane tree that was suffering as a result of pollution. It was initially intended that the lights would be triggered to reflect flurries of activity on the London Stock Exchange, but this proved to be too expensive to put into practice.
Although some motorists were initially confused by the traffic lights, mistaking them for real signals, the sculpture soon became a favourite among both tourists and locals. In 2005, Saga Motor Insurance commissioned a survey asking British motorists about the best and worst roundabouts in the country. The one containing Traffic Light Tree was the clear favourite.
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Traffic Light Tree Reviews

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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.0
18 reviews
Google
4.5
TripAdvisor
  • This has always been on my 'to do' list so last time we were in London we made a point of seeing it. Alas it didn't live up to my expectations. It is impressive, but the surrounding trees have grown.....  more »
  • A sculpture in the area of Canary Wharf, in Poplar that attracts the eye of the visitor due to its originality. About 7-8 meters tall full of set of lights, initially made to reflect activity of the.....  more »
Google
  • I didn't notice that I have passed by this place until Google asked me to review it... 😂... Guys what kind of track you do 🤔... If cops have investigate a case they need to have special permission. JUST GOOGLE IT. Its crazy!!!
  • Beautiful piece of art. Great place to watch the London Marathon this year. Although very confusing when driving to canary wharf. Not sure if I should stop go or slow down. Or do all at once. Should be solar powered tho.

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