Making a Difference with Light – The Macy’s Star

Since 1957 the Seattle Star has been an annual holiday tradition in downtown Seattle. For the last 62 years, a massive star, designed by the prolific Bob James, has been tipped into place over the front edge of the Bon Marche building, shining over the sidewalk below. When the tenant Macy’s closed this location, the fate of the star was unknown. That’s when the new owners of the building and a few local businesses stepped up to refurbish this Seattle icon. The brilliant design was structurally updated with stainless steel but retained its original size and shape. The star measures a massive 160 feet high and 75 feet wide.

The most remarkable part of the project was the lighting; 4000 incandescent bulbs were replaced with individually programmable LED nodes manufactured by Color Kinetics. The star was specified, designed and installed by Western Neon. Color Kinetics was able to provide the perfect solution with iColor Flex LMX gen2, flexible strands of high-intensity, full-color LED nodes designed for extraordinary effects and expansive applications. The flexible form factor accommodates two- and three-dimensional configurations, while high light output affords superior long-distance viewing for architectural accent and perimeter lighting, large-scale signage, and building-covering video displays.

The philanthropic piece of the project is where light is making a difference. Individuals can purchase 15 seconds of light for $15. Using a computer or application, participants purchase time slots and create a custom light show on the 160ft installation from anywhere in the world. A portion of the proceeds will go back to the community via Mary’s Place. Mary’s Place has helped hundreds of people move out of homelessness. The program dubbed “15 Seconds of Stardom” will help to fight homelessness at a time where everyone deserves joy.

Further, ERW Lighting is participating by donating to 15 Seconds of Stardom in honor of our ERW Client Family.