By Melissa Locker
Updated: January 24, 2017
CGI Courtesy of Covent Garden

If you need one more reason to visit London: Covent Garden is about to be filled with 100,000 white balloons.

It’s not an invasion by some adorably round aliens, but an art installation that is part of Covent Garden’s annual cultural program.

It’s all part of Covent Garden’s annual cultural program, which in the past has featured work by Damien Hirst and Jeff Koon. This year, Charles Pétillon is using balloons to transform space, a move he’s become known for in his native France.

Titled “Heartbeat” the piece will feature 100,000 white latex balloons in the South Hall of the 19th-century Market Building in London's West End. Pétillon has a team of 25 helping him fill the balloons and, ultimately, tie them together and let them float to the top of Covent Garden. The sculpture will throb with pulses of light, so that the finished piece should look something like a cloud in a lightning storm.

Pétillon told Covent Garden that his so-called “balloon invasions” are metaphors: “With Heartbeat I wanted to represent the Market Building as the beating heart of this area – connecting its past with the present day to allow visitors to re-examine its role at the heart of London’s life.”

The installation will be free for visitors to view from August 27 through September 27. If visitors are inspired to find out more about the artist and his work, the Covent Garden installation will also feature a pop-up gallery showcasing some of his previous pieces.