What San Francisco's Bay Bridge Looks Like Covered in 25,000 LEDs

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Tonight marks the opening ceremony of what will become the world’s largest LED light sculpture. With over 25,000 LEDs strung along nearly 5 miles’ worth of vertical suspension cables, the The Bay Lights project, from artist Leo Villareal, will illuminate San Francisco’s Bay Bridge nightly for the next two years.

Villareal, who recently exhibited two high-profile public art installations in NYC -- Madison Sq. Park’s Buckyball and the Bleecker Street subway station’s Hive -- is known as an LED artist, and has been working in the medium of light sculpture since the late 1990s.

Leo Villareal’s artist rendering of  The Bay Lights.

For The Bay Lights, Villareal developed custom software to generate the glowing patterns and formations that will illuminate the bridge from dusk to midnight. Taking inspiration from patterns found in nature and the Bay’s surrounding environment -- the waves and wind in the San Francisco Bay, the traffic flowing over the bridge -- Villareal’s algorithms will produce unique configurations that will never repeat.

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The Grand Lighting of The Bay Lights will take place tonight, Tuesday, March 5, at 9 pm PT. If you aren’t lucky enough to be close to the Bay, you can still tune in online to watch the live stream from 8:30-9:30pm PST at thebaylights.org.

And check out these stunning GIFs of the artwork below, courtesy of Jordan Kinley.

This post also appears on The Creators Project, an Atlantic partner site. 

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Julia Kaganskiy is Global Editor of The Creators Project and organizes The Creators Project meetups in New York City.

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