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09 Sep 2019

Permanent mirror installation offers new perspective for San Francisco waterfront
BY Andy Knaggs

The artwork consists of five polished, hydroformed steel orbs

The artwork consists of five polished, hydroformed steel orbs
photo: Matthew Millman

Seeing Spheres, a new and permanent artwork by Olafur Eliasson featuring five reflective silver orbs has been opened on San Francisco's waterfront.

The Mission Bay installation by the Danish-Icelandic artist is situated at a plaza next to the city's new Chase Center sports complex, where the Golden State Warriors basketball team will play.

Each sphere is a 5m (16.4ft) high orb made of polished, hydroformed steel, each supporting a flat, circular mirror that is framed by a ring of LED lights, oriented inwards to face the mirrors of the surrounding spheres. The alignment produces a "surprising environment of multi-layered, reflected spaces, in which the same people and objects appear again and again, visible from various unexpected angles", said Eliasson's studio.

"Tunnel-like sets of nested reflections open up in the mirrors, repeating countless times and disappearing into the distance," it added.

This is Eliasson's first permanent public work on the west coast of the US, and his largest public work nationwide.

"Seeing Spheres offers a place to pause, where you see yourself from the outside, as a participant in society," said Eliasson. "It's a public space that contains you and contains multitudes."

The Chase Center development was created by architecture firms Manica and Gensler (interiors), and hosts a basketball arena and a concert hall. It opened on 6 September, with a collaborative performance by Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony.



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