Bay Bridge Goes Mega LED

The San Francisco span will become "the largest LED light sculpture in the world."

MEGA SPARKLE: Maybe it's just us, but we sometimes want to wrap the Bay Bridge up in our arms and give it some extra love. Oh, it gets plenty of attention, for sure, but consider that it is too often thought of as the also-ran, in terms of bridgely beauty, in the city it occupies. We know you don't think that, and we'd never assume, but when your neighbor is the Golden Gate Bridge, well. That can be a challenging ideal to live up to, especially if you're just doing your job of providing a way for thousands of vehicles to get between San Francisco and the East Bay every day. But things are about to change in a dramatic way for the epic, northeastish-southwestish span: It's going to be lit in LED lights, for two years, starting on Tuesday, March 5, in honor of its big 75th. (You might recall that San Francisco rather likes to fete its bridges in big ways, which makes us love the city even more.)

ASTOUNDING: The Bay Lights will be, in fact, and we feel like there should be some thrilling, percussion-filled music here, "the largest LED light sculpture in the world." Let that sit on your craw for a moment before you read on.

READY TO KEEP READING? Good. The artist is Leo Villareal. Mr. Villareal "synthesized patterns from waves in San Francisco Bay, traffic, wind, and environment to complete his artistic vision using complex algorithms," says an official-type statement. And helping him realize his vision? Some 25,000 LED lights, every one of 'em energy-efficient. Please. This is a famously future-focused green region; the bulbs'll play nice. Also helping him realize his vision? The many private patrons who donated to The Bay Lights.

TWO YEARS: You have two years to catch this mammoth technological art  piece in person, or you can watch the live turning-on-of-the-lights on March 5.

BRIDGE LOVE: Do you think the Golden Gate sent the Bay Bridge a fruit basket as congratulations? We don't think there's competition there. Plus, truth, we love the view of the city coming in from the Bay Bridge, and that tunnel zip through Treasure Island, too. Golden Gate, you know you're our main lady for life, but we must give props where props are due. Thank you, Bay Bridge, for being you.

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