Art & Culture

Giant glowing polar bears have appeared at First Street for Christmas

Daisy Jackson Daisy Jackson - 7th December 2021

A family of life-size, glowing polar bears have moved in to Manchester city centre ahead of the festive season.

The enchanting light installation has been created by renowned local artist Lazerian and has taken shape at First Street.

The huge bears, the largest of which stands at 2.5m tall and 5m long, have been lit up by LEDs, turning Tony Wilson Place into a twinkling winter wonderland.

Denton-based artist Liam Hopkins was commissioned to create and custom-build the installation of polar bears.

It’s called ‘Celebration’, which is the name given to a group of polar bears in the wild.


The installation was inspired by the animal’s characteristics – they only tolerate others being in their proximity when there’s a good food source nearby.

The bear sculptures are right in the heart of First Street, surrounded by restaurants including WOOD, Indian Tiffin Room, Vertigo, and the Gas Works.

Polar bears at First Street. Credit: Supplied

First Street also chose polar bears to highlight its sustainability efforts, with the site aiming to deliver net zero commercial space.

Jamie Hills at ASK Real Estate, landowners at First Street said: “‘Celebration’ will bring something different to First Street this Christmas with a stunning light installation which is set to surprise and delight our guests at every turn whilst highlighting our sustainability pledge.

“We are also excited to be showcasing local artistic talent with an installation that only features recycled materials.

Lazerian’s art work from above. Credit: Supplied

“Formed in Summer 2018, First Street’s proactive sustainability committee launched and has since established itself as a driver for positive change playing a part in the wider vision for Manchester to become a carbon neutral, climate-resilient city region and we are delighted that our Christmas activation aligns with this.”

Liam Hopkins at Lazerian said: “It’s been great to collaborate with First Street on this installation.

“‘Celebration’ was born out of the idea to celebrate culture, sustainability, and the social side of First Street.

“Having recently delivered a signature piece for #COP26, it’s been encouraging to work alongside such a prominent Manchester neighbourhood with sustainability at its core.”

Lazerian’s installation was unveiled on November 29 and will remain in place right through December.