The Bay Bridge – LED Light Art Beacons

“The Bay Lights” on the Bay Bridge that crosses San Francisco Bay from San Francisco to Oakland.

In honor of the 75th anniversary of the Bay Bridge, the city of San Francisco and non-profit Illuminate the Arts unveiled a new light exhibition, The Bay Lights, a 1.8 mile-long installation of 25,000 white LED lights along the West Span of the bridge that spans San Francisco Bay from San Francisco to Oakland.  The LED lights are on from dusk until 2:00 a.m. for the length of the two year exhibition.

The project was created by world renowned light artist Leo Villareal.  Known internationally for his light sculptures and site-specific architectural work, Villareal’s art is in permanent collections of prestigious museums including the Museum of Modern Art in New York and Naoshima Contemporary Art Museum in Kagawa, Japan.

According to Villareal in LEDs Magazine, “This isn’t about just lighting another bridge with white or colored light. The Bay Lights emphasizes the use of intelligent lighting, fully utilizing individual control and the ability to create 255 levels of brightness per node.”

The project uses Philips Color Kinetics eW Flex SLX product in a 4200K CCT. These LEDs are made up of flexible strings of individually controllable white LED nodes that are attached at 1-ft intervals on the suspension cables. Each cable features LEDs that light up in specially programmed patterns including animations moving across the span, multi-dimensional waves of movement, and light-level changes for impact.

For the energy conscious, The Bay Lights is estimated to cost $11,000 in energy a year. The Bay Lights organizers believe that the project will bring upwards of $100 million to San Francisco in tourism revenue.  While not visible to travelers on the bridge itself, San Francisco’s Mayor Ed Lee believes that an estimated 50 million people in San Francisco and the North and East Bay will eventually see the lights.

For Further Reading

The Bay Lights, http://thebaylights.org/

San Francisco Examiner, Leo Villareal’s ‘Bay Lights’ set to sparkle Bay Bridge for next few years, http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/2013/03/leo-villareals-bay-lights-set-sparkle-bay-bridge-next-few-years#ixzz2NWm7XSqB

LEDs Magazine, Philips LEDs convert Bay Bridge to light sculpture, http://ledsmagazine.com/news/10/3/6

 

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About Beth

It seems like LEDs are in everything these days – backlighting everything from your mobile phone, Apple iPad and flat screen HDTV to traffic lights, light bulbs and even the kitchen sink. But, making LEDs is a complex process that begins with the creation of sapphire. Not the pretty blue gemstone, but large commercial crystals that can weigh as much as 400 lbs. Once these large sapphire crystals are grown into boules and cooled, they’re cut into cores, cut further into flat circular wafers, polished and then used to grow LEDs. About 85 percent of HB-LEDs (high brightness) are grown on sapphire. There’s not that much information out there about the process. This blog is meant to shed some light (excuse the pun) on sapphire, LEDs and the industry that is devoted to making our lives just a little brighter. In the months ahead, we’ll tackle some topics that will help you understand a little more about sapphire and LED industry. Here’s a sample of what we’ll cover in the coming months: • Growing sapphire • For a wafer, size matters • Quality - When sapphire wafers go bad • LED light bulbs • Market & myths • Interviews with industry shining stars • Reports from industry events • Current events in perspective Please join us each week to learn more about sapphire and the LED market. We look forward to seeing you.

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