Marble Arch Mound light show opens, 7 weeks later than planned

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A “fully immersive” light show on Friday opened inside the beleaguered Marble Arch Mound – seven weeks later than planned.

British artist Anthony James and W1 Curates created the Lightfield exhibit, which visitors will make their way through after scaling the 25m man-made hill.

Sculptures will take up three rooms in the £6million hillock’s temporary exhibition space after the café was scrapped.

An M&S catering truck is due to arrive at the site later this month.

The exhibition is being unveiled following the mound’s disastrous launch in late July, which saw it dubbed “London’s worst” tourist attraction.

James said: “Lightfield consists of 12 cubes that allude to the mycorrhizal nature of birch tree forests.

“This is the first time my works have been displayed and viewed in this fully immersive way – installed within an infinity room that transports visitors into another world to create a meditative and limitless narrative.”

Marble Arch Mound had to be closed just days after its launch in late July when Westminster council officials admitted it was “not ready” and visitors complained views of Hyde Park and Mayfair were obscured by scaffolding and wheelie bins.

The authority later reopened the stairs and the viewing platform to the public for free, but the inside has remained taped off until now.

The town hall had hoped to cover a bulk of the attraction’s cost by charging tourists eager to make the climb up to £8 a ticket and using sponsorship deals to make up the shortfall.

However costs have ballooned to £6 million - leading to the resignation of former deputy leader Melvyn Caplan in August.

Sponsorship will also “fall significantly short” of expectations and, after the calamitous opening, bosses at the Tory-led authority said they would permanently waive the entrance fee.

More than 80,000 people have visited the mound for free since it opened, Westminster council said.

Councillor Matthew Green, in charge of planning, business and licensing, said: “The Marble Arch Mound is drawing in crowds and supporting the recovery in this part of London, which is what we’ve always wanted and the reason we built the mound.

“We’re really pleased that 80,000 people have already visited, and I’m sure many more members of the public will make the trip to see this terrific light exhibition inside the mound. It’s a fantastic celebration of arts and culture, which are central to the City of Westminster’s unique role at the heart of London.

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