December 12, 2017
Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Golden Gate's grey stepsister dresses up in lights

The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge is illuminated with artist Leo Villareal''s Bay Lights sculpture.

The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge moved out of the shadow of its more famous sibling, the Golden Gate, to dazzle when a high-tech artist turned it into a sculpture of moving lights.

Some 25,000 LED lights transformed the 1.8-mile long, 500-foot (152-meter) tall bridge into something of a giant lava lamp. Controlled by a computer, the white lights flickered on and off randomly in never-repeating patterns.

New York artist Leo Villareal, 46, stood in the wind and rain on a pier facing the bridge and hit a key on a laptop to switch on what he called his fantasy project.

"I'm pinching myself," he said.

Organizers of the privately funded project say it turned the Bay Bridge into the world's biggest illuminated sculpture.

"This is monumental public art," Villareal said earlier in the day. "It's abstract. Everyone will see something different in it."

"I thought it looked like waves," said jeweler Sandra Sevil, 27, who said she had come from Peru to view the installation, called "Bay Lights."

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said around 50 million people are expected to visit the Bay Area over the next two years to witness the $8 million privately funded project on the western side of the bridge connecting Oakland to San Francisco.

Amy Fritz, 43, of San Francisco, tried to stay dry under a crippled umbrella and cooed as she watched the lights glitter. She said she saw water, waves and finally a sunset.

"At the end of the day, it's really just a set of mathematical numbers being displayed as lights, but in between there's this magic," Villareal said.

Ben Davis, a 52-year-old San Franciscan who runs a communications firm, began thinking about a way to honor the Bay Bridge on its 75th anniversary in 2010.

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Tags:  san francisco  oakland  bay bridge  golden gate  us  

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Edition No. 5055 - This publication is a property of NEFIR S.A. -RNPI Nº 5343955 - Issn 1852 - 9224 - Te. 4349-1500 - San Juan 141 , (C1063ACY) CABA - Director Perdiodístico: Ricardo Daloia