The Bay Lights

A proposed project from an acclaimed artist aims to illuminate the Bay Bridge


With the rest of the country gathering for scattered tree-lighting ceremonies, Leo Villareal has been busy trying to illuminate another iconic structure: the San Francisco Bay Bridge. Villareal envisions covering the northern expanse of the bridge with The Bay Lights, a dynamic light display that reflects off the surface of the water below. A nod to the 100th anniversary lighting of the Eiffel Tower, the project should come to life just in time to celebrate the 75th silver anniversary of the Bay Bridge in 2012.

The ongoing fundraising for the $7 million project will pay for the installation of 25,000 bulbs (outward-facing to avoid distracting commuters). With the environment in mind, project architects aim to keep energy costs to a fairly modest $11,000 over the proposed two-year installation period. The installation, which takes inspiration from ideas related to connectivity and mobility, promises to make a spectacular sight from the northeast side of San Francisco.

Villareal has an impressive list of large-scale light installations under his belt, but the Bay Lights project would take his work to a monumental new level. To learn more about Villareal, check out our video of the artist from 2007 above.