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The last time we checked in with Leo Villareal, he had just installed a gigantic glowing LED Buckyball in NYC’s Madison Square Park. For The Bay Lights, Words Pictures Ideas founder Ben Davis called upon the acclaimed artist to create a monumental, first-of-its-kind light sculpture. A team of specially-trained riggers hand-wired 25,000 LED nodes on 300 vertical cables that run the length of the Bay Bridge’s 1.8-mile-long western span. The cables rise over 500 feet high, and the nodes are spaced at one foot increments.

In designing the Bay Lights, Villareal was inspired by the site of the Bay Bridge. The patterns that race across the span call to mind passing traffic and boats, cascading waves, and shifting weather conditions. The state-of-the-art system features advanced cloud-based technology that remotely monitors and maintains the lighting.

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Photo by JamesEwing

The lighting project uses approximately 4.5 miles of cable and 25,000 LEDs with Leo Villareal’s extraordinary algorithms and patterns. When combined, the historic bridge is transformed into a dazzling work of art.

+ The Bay Lights

+ Leo Villareal

Photos (1) and (2) by James Ewing; All other photos and video by Mike Chino for Inhabitat