Organizers of the LED light installation on San Francisco’s Bay Bridge are calling it the world’s biggest sculpture. In commemoration of its 75th anniversary, the bridge’s west span has been decorated with about 25,000 LED lights, which will cycle through varying undulating designs every night for the next two years.
“Light has a very universal quality, almost anyone can see it and have some response to it. It’s operating on a very primal level,” says Leo Villareal, an artist who’s been working on the project for the last 30 months.
The Bay Bridge is San Francisco’s lesser-known bridge, always dwarfed by the much better known Golden Gate Bridge. But its new LED light display will give make it a unique sight for tourists and residents alike. The influx of visitors is expected to bring in an additional $97 million for the local economy. The project itself cost a total of $8 million, but three quarters of that has already been raised, meaning a mere $2 million will be left to pay. Cost of operation will be $30 per night for dusk till 2 a.m. lights shows.
“What people will be seeing are abstract sequences which are inspired by the kinetic activity around the bridge,” says Villareal. “It’s not literally traffic or the water or any of those sorts of things.” The designs will be subjective to each viewer’s own experiences, making it a unique experience for everyone who sees them.
“You can imagine anything you want in these lights,” says Ed Lee, San Francisco’s mayor. Tuesday, March 5th was the opening evening for the Bay Bridge’s light show, and crowds of onlookers came out to celebrate.