Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Public Art Piece Transforms Bay Bridge with LEDs

Hunter Communications recommended reading from:
The New York Times

Link to article:
Long Stuck in Obscurity, Bay Bridge Will Go From Drab Gray to Glowing

Eternally considered the ugly stepsister to the lovely Golden Gate,  the Bay area's San Francisco - Oakland Bay Bridge is now the star of the show, thanks to a two-year installation of 25,000 LEDs lining the span's upright suspension cables.  A computer-controlled display turns the nighttime bridge into a living, undulating light sculpture that will be seen by 50 million onlookers. The lights were officially turned on March 5, and will be one of the world's most viewed public art projects.

Excerpt: "The light sculpture, which will be on every night for two years, has become a darling of moneyed Silicon Valley types. The project is privately financed and is estimated to cost some $8 million.

Already restaurants with bridge views are booked and boat cruise operators are creating new tours for viewing the glowing infrastructure. Organizers estimate the lights will bring in $97 million to the local economy.

The unlikely star of all this fawning attention is the unassuming Bay Bridge.

When it opened to traffic Nov. 12, 1936, the city celebrated with five days of parades, a Navy air show and a regatta.

But just five months later, the Golden Gate Bridge followed with its flashier, red-painted steel spanning the more picturesque mouth of the bay. It quickly became an international tourist destination, while the Bay Bridge toiled along in utilitarian, gray obscurity. Last year some 40 million cars crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, while the Bay Bridge carried more than 100 million cars.

'These bridges really came up as twin sisters, one quite beautiful and one very hard working,' said Ben Davis, who originally approached Mr. Villareal about adorning the bridge in lights. As founder of the agency responsible for branding on the newly constructed, $6.4 billion eastern span of the Bay Bridge, Mr. Davis has spent years thinking about the bridge’s legacy. 'This project will elevate the Bay Bridge, at least for a while, above the Golden Gate Bridge,' he said."

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