Bloomberg News

Lighting Up San Francisco’s Bay Bridge for $30.14 a Night

March 05, 2013

"Bay Lights"

Leo Villareal tests "Bay Lights," his installation of 25,000 LEDs on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. The artwork goes live tonight. Photographer: Lucas Saugen via Bloomberg

It’s the world’s largest LED art project on the Bay area’s other iconic bridge.

“Bay Lights” consists of 25,000 LED lights on the western span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. Artist Leo Villareal controls the display through his personal computer. He flips the switch tonight.

“The idea is to augment these iconic structures which are already here and kind of the symbols of the Bay area, by adding another layer to them of light controlled by software,” Villareal told Bloomberg Television’s “Bloomberg West,” airing today at 6 p.m. New York time.

The $8 million project is funded entirely by private donations from some of the biggest names in technology, including Marissa Mayer, chief executive officer of Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO:US), and Marc Pincus, CEO and chairman of Zynga Inc. (ZNGA:US)

“I live and work in the city, my office overlooks the bridge,” said project supporter Jean-Pierre Conte, chairman of Genstar Capital LLC. “When in your life are you going to have an opportunity to take a major traffic artery, beautiful bridge and turn it into a world class art installation?”

The artwork spans almost 2 miles in length, requiring some 100,000 feet of cable for power. The energy bill for the two- year project is expected to run $30.14 a night.

To contact the reporters on this story: Cory Johnson in San Francisco at cjohnson114@bloomberg.net; Megan Hawkins in San Francisco at mhawkins14@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net


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