SF Civic Center Playgrounds

Anticlockwise Arts and I collaborated to provide two interactive lighting installations to connect the new Helen Diller Civic Center Playgrounds at San Francisco's City Hall Plaza, which opened in February 2018. 

KARL asks the question “What if San Francisco’s fog visited the plaza to play with visitors?” while Pixel Poles creates a forest of animated light. 

The projects were created in partnership with the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department, The Trust for Public Land, and Andrea Cochran Landscape Architects.

KARL

Extending the theme of fog from ACLA's playgrounds into the evening hours, “KARL” spans the 7,000 square ft of plaza between the playgrounds. It uses interactive projected light to ask the question “What if San Francisco’s fog visited the plaza to play with visitors?” 

Casual visitors are greeted with subtly accompanying projected fog droplets and ripples of light. As visitors engage more vividly, the projected light responds with a more vibrant personality and livelier animations. To create the effect of immersive fog with a personality, “KARL” incorporates computer-vision techniques as well as a fluid simulation based on characteristics of San Francisco’s fog.

Credits:

  • George Zisiadis: Concept, Design
  • Cory Barr: Design, Software Engineering, Project Director
  • Matt Thomas: Software Engineering
  • Paul Mans: Software Engineering
  • Immersive: Projection Engineering
  • Andrea Cochran Landscape Architects: Design

 

Pixel Poles

The “Pixel Poles” connect the two playgrounds with a forest of lighting fixtures spread across both playgrounds. Animated light patterns integrate the two playground along with the projected light from KARL on the plaza in between. The installation gives a feeling of surprise with bursts of color as they respond to people’s movement, highlighting the level of civic activity. Each Pixel Pole leverages custom electronics and LED circuit boards to create the illusion of moving fogged trapped in the fixture.

  • George Zisiadis: Concept, Design
  • Cory Barr: Design, Software Engineering, Project Director
  • Chris Cerrito: Physical Computing
  • Pete Scheidl: Mechanical Engineering
  • Andrea Cochran Landscape Architects: Design

 

Below is the initial small scale prototype of the KARL concept.