Selected Project Pillars of Reflection
Pillars of Reflection. Concept art courtesy of the project team.
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Prototypers

Etienne Ma
Goodby Silverstein & Partners

Tim Wei
Landscape Architect


Location

RETAIL HEART

Retail Heart

Pillars of Reflection: a mirror installation that gives pedestrians a moment to look more closely at themselves and the many moving parts of the city.

To capture a moment on Market Street is to capture the pulse of San Francisco.

As the most critical thoroughfare in the city, Market Street is in a constant state of flux. It is San Francisco’s most fascinating point of convergence: a chokepoint pulling together the city’s dynamic population, unique transit infrastructure, and overflowing economy. It is a place of orchestrated chaos, where San Francisco’s many moving parts rhythmically coalesce to portray the very essence of the city. There is a raw beauty in the dynamic fluctuations of Market Street, a beauty that speaks so much to the nature of the city yet is tragically overlooked by San Franciscans and visitors alike.

This installation aims to reveal this beauty through reflection – of ourselves, each other, and environment around us. We want people to see Market Street in all its complex interactions. We want people to notice details they rarely appreciate. We want people to look at each other and themselves. Most importantly, we want people to slow down and reflect.

Pillars of Reflection is a simple, non-obtrusive mirror-based installation. The goal is to reflect the existing complexities of Market Street in a new light. The project consists of six pillars composed of a series of panelized mirrors. Each one of these mirrors is angled differently as to produce a kaleidoscope effect, reflecting the complex moments of Market Street in a collage of reflected images. One pillar, for example, may contain a matrix of reflections, collapsing Market Street’s verticality by bringing together images of the sky, the sidewalk, and the pedestrians and vehicles that inhabit it. The angles of these mirrors can be adjusted by the user, allowing people to compose an endless number of collages. The installation contains, in its entirety, six pillars of three varying heights, facing five different directions. The panelized mirrors are located on both sides of the pillar, which rests on a structural slab with LED lights for nighttime use. These structural slabs are each etched with different dates, indicating crucial moments in the history of Market Street and San Francisco.

These pillars are at times monuments and at others canvasses. They are portals providing a glimpse of how the many moving parts of Market Street come together to form the pulsing heart of the city.


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The Market Street Prototyping Festival is a collaboration between the San Francisco Planning Department and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

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