The Bay Lights LED Lighting Display is Back Permanently

The Bay Lights
Photograph by James Ewing

This Saturday, the non-profit arts organization, ILLUMINATE, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and world-renowned artist Leo Villareal officially re-lit The Bay Lights, an iconic LED lighting installation on the San Francisco Bay Bridge, using equipment developed by Royal Philips, the global lighting company. The artwork, which originally appeared in March 2013 as a two-year installation, will now permanently illuminate the San Francisco Bay’s night sky with 25,000 Philips connected light points and an advanced cloud-based connected lighting platform to remotely monitor and maintain the lighting system.

The new installation uses eW Flex Compact lighting from Philips Color Kinetics, featuring individually controllable white light LED nodes in a durable, flexible form factor, which are four times brighter than those in the original installation. The unique attributes of eW Flex Compact allow low-profile, low-power, intelligent points of white light to be installed across nearly any interior or exterior surface, making it an ideal choice for The Bay Lights project. Dynamic capabilities of The Bay Lights project are enabled by an underlying Ethernet-based data network, in which each of the 25,000 controllable light points are linked for simultaneous control. The installation is further enhanced by Philips ActiveSite System, a cloud-based connected lighting platform that affords remote diagnostics, reporting, data analytics and control for efficient installations management.

“The re-lighting of the Bay Bridge is a testament to the impact of Leo Villareal’s magnificent design on the San Francisco community,” said Amy Huntington, President of Philips Lighting Americas. “Philips is proud to be a part of the work by ILLUMINATE, Caltrans and Metropolitan Transportation Commission to make this one-of-a-kind light structure a permanent fixture over the San Francisco Bay.”

Overall, the project uses roughly 4.5 miles of cable and 75,000 LEDs to create a monumental light canvas for Leo Villareal’s complex algorithms and patterns, which dynamically recombine, transforming the bridge into a living work of art.

“The original Bay Lights installation served as a major source of pride in San Francisco and helped to increase tourism in the area,” said Saeed Shahmirzai of Zoon Engineering, the Bay Bridge MEP Integrator. “Thanks to advanced LED and system monitoring technology from Philips, we are able to build on those benefits and install an energy-efficient work of art that makes the Bay Bridge a true beacon of the San Francisco Bay Area.”

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