"The Traffic Light tree was created by French sculptor Pierre Vivant following a competition run by the Public Art Commissions Agency. It is situated on a roundabout near Canary Wharf, at the junctions of Heron Quay Bank, Marsh Wall and Westferry Road. in one of London's financial districts.
Eight metres tall and containing 75 sets of lights, each controlled by computer, Vivant described the project 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 Commission Agency were quick to point out that:
"The arbitrary cycle of light changes is not supposed to mimic the seasonal rhythm of nature, but the restlessness of Canary Wharf."
The Traffic Light tree was installed in 1998 on the site of a plane tree, that was choking to death as a result of pollution. It was initially hoped that the lights would be triggered to show 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 folly soon became a favourite among both tourists and locals."