LED Technology Turns Iconic Infrastructures into Public Art

LED light technology is putting a new spin on city icons and classic infrastructures while still keeping resource usage and costs in check. To many designers, the city acts as a blank canvas providing countless possibilities. With the rise of LED lighting popularity, designers are presented with a unique tool to bring life to the city through light.

According to an article on PSFK, VP and Chief Design Officer at Philips Lighting Rogier van der Heide said that “The exciting part of LED is its controllability. The fact that you can create scenarios, that you can script the light in a city. You can make it brighter when it is needed, or dimmer. That you can orchestrate the whole central square for celebration.”

One example of such a project is the Bay Lights project which is primarily donation-driven. The project is a large-scale light installation of LEDs along the San Francisco Bay Bridge creating patterns and forms spanning the entirety of the bridge. Designer Leo Villareal used Philips Color Kinetics for the project. This piece of public art is expected to be view by around 50 million people in two years according to CNN.com.

Philips Color Kinetics LED lights brighten up the San Francisco Bay Bridge. (photo credit: PSFK)



Another project also partnered with Philips gave a new face to the iconic Empire State Building. The lights installed at the top of the building can change color in real-time depending on different occasions. The 16 million colored LED lights better highlight the architectural design of the building and offer easier management for operators than the previous 10 colored bulbs. 

LED lights at the top of the Empire State Building can be adjusted to suit any occasion. (photo credit: PSFK)
The LED lights installed on the Empire State Building require much less maintance and management than previous lights used. (photo credit: PSFK)



Both of these projects offer residents and visitors a different way to view these iconic infrastructures. These lighting designs provide the possibility to express identity, imagination, and ideas to a wider audience through light
 

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