Salesforce Tower’s Massive Light Show to Permanently Illuminate San Francisco’s Skyline

Salesforce Tower’s nine-story steel topper is set to light up San Franciscopermanently starting tomorrow night, as video artist Jim Campbell’s enormous animations will start broadcasting from the top.

The tower’s 130-foot-tall, Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects-designed crown is hollow and has been clad in perforated aluminum panels–ostensibly to lessen the bullet-shaped building’s impact on the skyline. Using imagery from cameras scattered around the city (and 11,000 LEDs inside of the crown), Campbell will translate traffic, the sky, and each night’s sunsets into a public art piece visible for 20 miles in every direction. The fleeting, ephemeral images are an ode to the city’s vibrancy and energy.

During a test run last Wednesday, giant ballerinas could be seen dancing across a beige background over 1,000 feet in the air. The tower’s signature piece, Day for Night, will start by showing the colors of that night’s sunset, followed by constellations against the night sky until the sun rises again.

While the top nine floors of the Salesforce Tower are unoccupied and were used to push the building into “tallest in San Francisco” territory, only the upper six floors will be used to stage Campbell’s installation. The remaining three will hold the required equipment and will be bathed in a strong light to form a base for the animation above. While the punctured panels could theoretically show any images, Campbell swears that his work won’t be used for advertisements or to mark holidays.

As for the electricity use? It’s the same as “five toaster ovens,” Campbell told the San Francisco Chronicle.

The developers, designers, and engineers behind Salesforce Tower will be presenting on their work at the next Facades+ conference in San Francisco, taking place on June 7.

Learn more at Architect Newspaper