The sun may set early in the wintertime, but at San Francisco's Conservatory of Flowers, that just means more time to enjoy Night Bloom — the light and sound installation that will keep the historic indoor gardens open late into the evening on select nights through January 6.
"We have this 139-year-old national landmark Victorian greenhouse, and it's a shame that people don't come here at night," said Conservatory director Matthew Stephens. "The crickets come out, the plants are still here, and so with Night Bloom, we figured we could activate the Conservatory for our local community in a way that has never really occurred before."
Stephens said organizers of the display reached out to Lightswitch, a theatrical lighting design firm with experience lighting exotic gardens and other outdoor spaces. Designer Austin Shapley said the Conservatory's various indoor climates — ranging from chilly alpine to muggy rainforest — make for harsh conditions that test even the most rugged lighting equipment.
Shapley and his team worked in the evenings during the week leading up to the show's opening, mounting lights and creating subtle animations of color and intensity, to give each room a distinct mood.
"We are certain we will get people who have never been to the Conservatory," Stephens said. "We've been running ongoing evening events over the last year, year and a half, and what we hear at every single one of those is, 'I drove by or a biked by or I ran by literally every day, but I've never been inside.'"
Adult general admission to Night Bloom is $27. Kids 8 and under can get in for free.