Animated ice castles, poinsettias, and polar bears are coming to the sides of four downtown buildings in December, as “the largest holiday projection mapping holiday in the U.S.” rings in the season.

It would be nice for downtown San Francisco to be known for something other than shoplifting sprees and very heavy police presence this holiday season, and someone’s taking that on. Rather, a group of ten projection mapping artist and a community benefit district will splash large-scale holiday cheer spanning the height of entire buildings in the early half of December. A nightly display called Let’s Glow SF is coming to several Financial District buildings, promising giant displays of “Galloping ice horses, Flying winter hawks and snowy owls, Flowering poinsettias, Arctic scenery with polar bears, Ice castles” and “Swirling presents and musical instruments.”

"The pandemic deeply impacted the downtown 9-5 workforce population," says Robbie Silver, executive director of Downtown SF, the community benefit district that's putting this on. "The inherent lesson is that we can no longer be just a financial district, downtown San Francisco needs to pivot and pivot quickly to attract a more diverse range of people, businesses, and uses. Let's Glow SF features world renowned artists on iconic buildings and is the first of many efforts to encourage Bay Area residents to see and experience downtown in a different, more welcoming light."

Light, indeed. There are four buildings getting the projection mapping for the holidays (One Bush Plaza, 345 Montgomery Street, the Pacific Stock Exchange, and the Hyatt Regency at 5 Embarcadero). The projection mapping runs every night from Friday, December 3 through Sunday, December 12, so it's not the whole holiday season, but bills itself as “the largest holiday projection mapping event in the U.S.”

There are ten different artists who’ve designed displays, and the projection aspects are being handled by a company called A3 Visual who’ve in the past done some pretty snazzy work at the Chase Center, as seen above. These are apparently five-minute shows repeating on a loop, and the clip below gives you a sense of what to expect.

If you care about the technical aspects, according to a release, “This event leverages Eighteen (18) 4K projection technology by Panasonic. These 3-Chip DLP SOLID SHINE laser projectors will be placed in custom-built outdoor enclosures and operated by Modulo Pi media servers and will deliver eye-catching visuals, providing realistic color-rich images, putting event goers at the center of the action.”

Related: SF Fire Stations Revive 70-Year-Old Tradition: Competing Holiday Decorations [SFist]

Image: Downtown San Francisco