Selected Project Glimmer
Glimmer. Concept art courtesy of the project team.

Adam Marcus
Variable Projects




Glimmer is a dynamic installation that invites passersby to enter, touch, and interact with a plush thicket of colorful suspended filaments.

Glimmer is a dynamic installation that invites passersby to enter, touch, and interact with a plush thicket of colorful suspended filaments. These strands, consisting of simple colored yarn suspended from a simple steel and chain-link canopy, are cut at varying lengths to form a single volumetric form. From afar, the hanging filaments coalesce into the form of a solid masonry vault; yet this figure is constantly shifting as it reacts to the airflow of its surrounding environment. As visitors approach the installation, they are encouraged to touch and interact with the soft hanging threads. The material becomes an immersive, tactile environment of color and softness that provides a bright oasis in the urban environment and invites playful interaction for all visitors. At night, LED strips concealed within the top of the canopy highlight the project’s blushes of gradated color and create a soft, inviting glow for pedestrians traveling by.

The form of Glimmer reinterprets the notion of a masonry vault—typically heavy, solid, and static—as a light, porous, and highly dynamic structure. The project dematerializes a familiar symbol of structure, stability and fixity into a kaleidoscopic, indeterminate environment of fibrous material that is constantly in flux. Its mirage-like quality—disappearing, then reappearing, as it indexes the local airflows along Market Street—generates multiple readings at multiple scales for passersby. People are encouraged to enter and inhabit the structure’s soft “poché” and interact with this highly tactile environment.

The project’s underlying structure is very simple. The frame is fabricated from stock steel components (similar to those commonly used for building scaffolding and fence construction). The hanging threads are suspended from ten panels of standard chain-link mesh. These panels will be prefabricated off-site, and all the threads will be attached to them prior to installation. The project is designed to minimize on-site work on Market Street, which will consists of assembly of the steel frame “kit of parts,” fastening of the chain-link panels to the canopy, and attachment of the LED strip lighting. We anticipate a very quick install and de-install process.

Glimmer is universally accessible, and presents no barriers to engagement. The installation is fabricated entirely of weather-resistant materials, and its lightweight structure requires no attachment to or intervention with infrastructure along the sidewalk. The LED strips will consist of off-the-shelf components that can be battery powered, or connect to standard voltage connections if that is available. The steel frame can be easily reused or re-purposed, and all materials will be donated to the Material Reuse Center at California College of the Arts for future use by students for art and design-build projects.

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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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