Not as pretty or safe as the world-famous Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco’s Bay Bridge is looking to become the world’s largest light sculpture. Before closing this summer for much-needed repairs, the bridge is being lit up with some 25,000 LED lights to make it truly sparkle. The project was created by Leo Villareal, one of the world’s best light artists.
When the $8 million Bay Lights installation flips on in March, Villareal’s laptop-controlled algorithms will be the focal point of the bridge. Each light is controlled individually; no single pattern will repeat for the entire two-year lifespan of the project. The idea was conceived with the uncelebrated passing of the bridge’s 75th anniversary in 2011. Enthusiasts wanted to truly make the bridge shine.
A big sticking point for Villareal was not distracting drivers. So the lights will only shine between dusk and midnight, and they won’t be seen by people driving across the bridge–though the lights will be visible to anyone passing under the structure.
And as for that electricity bill? It will cost $11,000 annually, all privately funded (and according to one prediction, will bring in nearly $100 million to the local economy).