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MIRAGE
Proposal for the Mint Plaza Public Art Project
*** Please comment on our proposal - SFAC Link. Thanks! ***

Since the late 1800’s San Francisco’s Old Mint  has stood for stability and wealth. It once held one-third of the nation’s gold, from nuggets mined in the Sierra Mountains to bullion to minted coins distributed across the country. In reference to this history, Mirage is a dynamic and immersive artwork animated by topographic swarms of golden light and shadow. On a typical day amber layers of illumination will ebb and flow through glass diffusers, always changing and never the same. Celebrating rain and fog, moisture sensors will shift the LEDs hue to a cooler color palette of blues and whites. While the cloud-like artwork is inspired by San Francisco’s past, present and future, it is open to multiple interpretations.

The overall lighting effects would be ambient, subtle and cascading. The “mirage” effect would be achieved by programming the illumination levels to change slowly over the course of roughly an hour or so. The programming would include a randomizing function so that clustered auroras of light would always be unique. Stainless steel diffusion meshes atop the LEDs would also allow the light to be visible day and night.

Visual References: The artwork’s primary visual references are the flow, accumulation and dissipation of gold and water. While these connections are abstract and mirage-like, the artwork connects with the Mint’s rich history as a hub for gold collection, processing and distribution. The artwork’s topography is reminiscent of historic gold mine maps of the Sierra Mountains and perhaps stacks of coins. The artwork also connects with the Plaza’s recent redesign as a machine for water retention and bio-remediation. The existing Rain Gardens are celebrated through the shift of color from warm amber to auroras of cooler blues and whites, illuminating the subtle flows of water and fog.

Locations: The artwork is primarily located in the Mint Plaza’s west planter with the possibility of extending the artwork to the east planter near 5th Street. This will be determined by opinions of neighbors, feasibility and budget.

Stormwater: We are particularly interested in the artwork being integrated with CMG Landscape Architects “Rain Garden” concept. We would consult with CMG to ensure our cylindrical foundations will not impede the flow and retention of storm water to the slot drain and infiltration basin (also see Silva Cell). The artwork mounting plates would be angled ¼” per foot to allow for adequate drainage.

CREDITS
Future Cities Lab, San Francisco - Jason Kelly Johnson and Nataly Gattegno
Competition Team: Jason Kelly Johnson (Lead Artist), Carlos Sabogal and Emily Saunders, with Brian McKinney, Nat Abbott, Joel Frank, Nataly Gattegno
Links: SFAC, Friends of Mint Plaza, CMG Landscape Architecture

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STORMWATER DIAGRAM
We are particularly interested in the artwork being integrated with CMG Landscape Architects “Rain Garden” concept. We would consult with CMG to ensure our cylindrical foundations will not impede the flow and retention of storm water to the slot drain and infiltration basin (also see Silva Cell). The artwork mounting plates would be angled ¼” per foot to allow for adequate drainage.

<<< The diagram (left) was adapted from a diagram by CMG illustrating their original rain garden concept.