1401 Market Rendering

Having been commissioned to fulfill the One Percent for Art requirement at 1411 Market Street, the two towers with 754 residential units rising at the corner of Market and Tenth Streets, artist Topher Delaney is scheduled to present her vision for two public art installations to San Francisco’s Planning Commission this afternoon.

One installation will be located on the northerly façade of the southerly 19-story tower in the form of “a cast concrete weave inspired by the Japanese art of basketry.”


The second installation, “cartographic etchings, sculptural stone pieces and sculptural vessel installations with planted materials” will be located in a grade-level plaza at the intersection of 10th and Market Streets, adjacent to the northerly 35-story tower:


While the final art concepts and locations are “required to be submitted for review by the Planning Director in consultation with the Planning Commission,” and the Planning Department is “seeking comments from the Planning Commission as to the concept and location of the proposed public art installation at 1411 Market Street” this afternoon, keep in mind that the concrete weave upon 1411 Market Street has already started to be cast.

16 thoughts on “The Public Art and Plaza to Adorn the Towers at Market and Tenth”
  1. Both installations look really nice. I love how the “stone” rises up to form benches in a very natural way. The large sculptures remind me of those in front of Blu, and I’ve always liked those. So far, I’m very happy with everything about this development.

  2. I like that this art installation is part of the building rather than some afterthought statue thrown into a courtyard.

  3. I agree Brad, nice to have the art integrated with the structure. This doesn’t exactly wow me but maybe reality will be better than the renderings.
    One of the problems with dropping in a statue or other artwork as an afterthought is that it can also be easily removed. I know of a building that included a huge Chihuly chandelier at the entrance lobby and visible from the street as part if its 1% for art obligation. That building stood vacant for a decade. During the vacancy the Chihuly piece disappeared. I wonder where it went but it seems as if someone essentially stole a quasi-public funded piece of art.

  4. If the public art requirement leads to an interesting facade instead of a blank and boring wall, that’s great.
    So, so much better than some of the required public art I’ve seen– I’m thinking of some in Philadelphia, especially, where a brutal, ugly building is paired with a stupid and pointless sculpture, for a generally horrible result.

  5. This is a developer ploy incorporating the artwork, whether on the facade or as a chandelier, into the building, they are essentially putting the funding back into the building – not exactly in the spirit of the public art regulations.

  6. I had the same notion Mr. Toods. What prevents a developer from proposing a super bland 1970s style box and then using the 1% for art to add the sorts of materials and details that bring the building up to contemporary design standards? Evaluating whether a project is honest or sandbagging becomes a subjective decision. On the other hand with stand-alone public sculpture it is pretty easy to account for how the 1% got spent on art and difficult to cook that part of the book … unless the artist is the developer’s nephew.
    As for the art enhancing the developer’s property and putting the funding back into the building, that sounds like a good thing. It even happens for standalone pieces. If the building comes complete with a Picasso sculpture in the entry courtyard that’s going to increase its value. The developer should expect some sort of return value for their 1% even if it is undefined and nebulous.
    it is just too bad we don’t get Picassos very often. Sometimes we get terribly banal stuff like that huge stainless stick figure on the SGI/Google campus.
    The way to solve the problem of banal public art is to have a competent review committee, ideally with me as a member. Better yet, just a committee of one 🙂

  7. This is not a “ploy” at all, to the ever-present complainers. This concrete “weave” on a portion of the building is only PART of the overall required 1% for art. It’s a valid approach to adding art to the building facade; in fact making that piece of art all the more visible to the public from many vantage points.
    The landscaped plaza portion is the other part of the 1% for art.
    I like both of them.

  8. Last time this subject came up I didn’t agree forcefully enough with the idea for a third party review committee for public art.
    Consider a developer of a commercial building that knew (because they had a signed lease pre-construction) Starbucks was going to be a tenant. Would a fifteen-foot high statue of a mermaid out front be a legitimate use of the 1% for public art?
    I don’t think so. It hasn’t happened yet, but it will. Not having a review board in place now almost assures it.

  9. You’re worrying too much.
    Perhaps that mermaid statue would be just fine. Or maybe a giant plastic donut. What’s the problem?
    And what if the building had a major tenant sign ahead who was, say, a health care insurance firm? just as an example.
    Nurse statues not allowed? What about a giant catheter?

  10. I just thought the risk is obvious.
    In that example, the problem is that the commercial tenant and the building builder/developer/owner would be collaborating to deliberately subvert the spirit and intent of the 1% for public art requirement. The idea of that requirement is that art should be provided for enjoyment by the general public.
    If Starbucks had a fifteen-foot high statue of a mermaid, that would just be a branding extension for Starbucks, since the mermaid is part of their logo and mascot. If friggin; Dunkin’ Donuts decided to open a location in San Francisco, and the “public art” outside their building was a giant plastic doughnut, then yes, the objection would be the same. It wouldn’t qualify as art.
    If Anthem, a health care insurance firm, decided to use the the 1% for public art requirement to build a twice-life-size blue cross, then yes, the objection would be the same: what was being sponsored isn’t really public art at all, but just another branding opportunity for the tenant and as such doesn’t qualify as public art. Hopefully the artist commissioned to do the work would have enough integrity to turn the sponsor down.

  11. “Hopefully the artist commissioned to do the work would have enough integrity to turn the sponsor down.”
    It wouldn’t be a problem though to find another willing “artist” though. And who vets the artists anyways? It isn’t as if there was some sort of national board that certifies them. Glad for that though.
    As a general rule of thumb anyone not already famous for their art who calls themselves an artist is usually a hack.
    The best way to avoid these pitfalls is to give an impartial committee control over selection.

  12. Well, Brahma seems to have it all worked out. Except that he’s ASSUMING that everyone will immediately get the so called “branding connection” if there is one at all.
    Ridiculous. He may see it as subversive branding. Others may not. There is a huge difference between “art” and a commercial sign, even if the “art” is a gigantic donut.
    As to MOD: you’re a bit judgmental, me thinks. What is this “rule of thumb” you invented that an artist has to be famous first before they call themselves an artist?

  13. I have no confidence that a committee in SF could make a better decision than the free market, much less when it pertains to art. I’m sure they would’nt even agree the way out of a one door room.
    I’m too lazy to look up the law but I imagine that the spirit of it was to put some funds into the art community and I don’t believe it was limited to one artist. If this isn’t the case, it should be. I thougth The SOMA Grand had an artist put the glass art on that wall. Unless there is an artist that is benefiting from this accounting gimmick, this rule sucks.

  14. Just discussing the installation planned to be located on the northerly façade “in the form of a cast concrete weave inspired by the Japanese art of basketry” here.

    …This concrete “weave” on a portion of the building is only PART of the overall required 1% for art. It’s a valid approach to adding art to the building facade; in fact making that piece of art all the more visible to the public from many vantage points.

    I think everybody agrees that the installation on the building is only part of the overall public art proposed.
    But as far as that piece goes, normally I’d be inclined to take the view expressed above by wiger toods. But in this case, I think futurist has a point. Here’s what I think is the relevant section of the Guidelines, pg 07 (pg. 08 of the portable document format file):

    Works of Art do not include:

    1. Decorative, ornamental or functional elements designed for the project by the project architect or consultants retained by the project architect.

    …5. Architectural features of the building. However, this exclusion does not apply to a work, or works of art, commissioned or purchased specifically for the project and which otherwise meet the criteria of The Ordinance and the Guidelines, even though that artwork may be integrated into the architectural structure of the building.

    Emphasis mine. Topher Delaney’s not the architect for the building, so obviously exclusion number 1 isn’t relevant, unless she was hired specifically at design time as a consultant.
    The fact that the building contractor went ahead and started casting before the installation was approved is troubling, however.
    I think rule 5 applies to this situation. Maybe we could argue about whether or not the piece installed on the building facade would “otherwise meet the criteria of The Ordinance and the Guidelines.”

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