Laurence Llewellyn Bowen switches on illuminations display

Laurence, who is well known for his creative flair and his love of Blackpool, has been working on a top secret project with the hotel and the Illuminations team, to produce a set of unique light sculptures as part of this year’s Blackpool Illuminations.

The project has been a significant investment by Starboard Hotels, owners of The Best Western Carlton and will run over a three-year period.

“Beyond beautiful” is how Laurence describes the 4-metre high Art Deco inspired fountain lights he has helped create for a display commissioned by the hotel. For the first time ever, the Best Western Carlton now has its own illuminations display as part of what is hailed as the ‘greatest free light show on earth’.

Richard Ryan, head of Blackpool Illuminations who has worked closely with the hotel team said: “This is the first time in the Illuminations history that a Blackpool hotel has had lights of it own and the first time the designs have been inspired by looking back into the illuminations archive for creative inspiration. We are all pleased with the results.”

Kerian Barnes, operations director at Starboard Hotels and based at their northern hub in Chorley said: “The Best Western Carlton is delighted and proud to be associated with this year’s illuminations. We appreciate how important this is for the profile of our hotel and have really enjoyed working with the Illuminations team on such a special project. Working in association with Laurence Llewellyn Bowen has been a brilliant experience for our team and our guests, many of whom have been visiting the hotel for years and are looking forward to seeing the new light show.”

The light sculptures, which weigh 270 kilos are now in place, featured on lampposts outside the hotel and on the roof of The Carlton as the hotel proudly takes its place in this years Illuminations light show.

Taking time out from his busy filming schedule, Laurence also helped judge the winning entry in a competition to design a backdrop for the Live Wyra production. 11 year old Gang Show member, Jacob Kennedy from Fleetwood was the lucky winner given some encouraging design tips from Laurence before helping the star with the hotel’s switch on outside on the promenade.

Speaking at the hotel switch on Laurence said: “The Carlton is a beautiful hotel and I am delighted that they are showing such great vision in supporting the illuminations. They really want to reflect the heritage and sophistication of Blackpool in the 1930s and by delving into the illuminations archive we have been able to take inspiration from wonderful art deco designs.”

The fountains are lit by a stunning LED light show of pastel colours to compliment the fountain shape. “We wanted to bring back childhood memories from years ago which truly reflect Blackpool’s uniqueness and history,” said Kerian, adding: “We spent hours delving into the archive and with the help of Richard Ryan from the illuminations team we now have something very special for visitors and our guests to enjoy. We all love the designs Laurence has helped create and are delighted to welcome him into our hotel.”


Blackpool Illuminations interesting facts

  • The Lights are credited for pumping more than £275 million into the local economy
  • Blackpool Illuminations will shine nightly from 1 September to Sunday 5 November
  • Blackpool Illuminations attracts more than three million visitors to the resort
  • The Illuminations display stretches for more than five miles
  • Blackpool’s first electric lighting was in 1879 when just eight Siemens arc lamps illuminated the Promenade. The effect was described by Victorian visitors as ‘artificial sunshine’

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