Wednesday, March 13, 2013
To Sparkle or Not to Sparkle?
One of my earliest memories is driving over the San Francisco Bay Bridge at sunrise, wrapped in a blanket in the backseat of the station wagon on the way to the airport. I crane my neck to look up, up, up at the cables stretching towards the pink and purple sky. The sight of that bridge, especially early in the morning or late at night, always spurs a feeling of anticipation. For most people, the Golden Gate is their iconic San Francisco bridge. For me, it's always been the Bay Bridge, the one that took me to the city and home again.
So when my friends in the Bay Area started talking about the new Bay Bridge light installation, I wasn't so sure about it. The Bay Bridge, sparkling? I don't know about that. The installation (by artist Leo Villareal) adds 25,000 LED lights to the bridge that will create a nightly light show on the bridge for the next two years. Similarly, I'm in the minority (at least among my friends) who doesn't think the Eiffel Tower needs to sparkle nightly, and I was dismayed when I heard that they were adding an LED light system to the Empire State Building. These structures are beautiful and iconic on their own, do we really need to guild the lily?
Though I do have to admit that the Empire State Building lights turned out to be cooler than I thought they'd be, and they didn't take away from the classic view of the building like I worried. What do you guys think of adding sparkle to architectural landmarks? Fun or frivolous?
Top photo by Ben_Cooper on Flickr, second photo by me (a very long time ago).