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Flap over fountain forces San Francisco mayor to reconsider Apple Store plans

post #1 of 68
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Apple's plans to move its flagship San Francisco retail outlet may have hit a slight bump, as the city's mayor has said that he'd like to reconsider the plan for the store after critics asserted that its construction would call for the removal of a local landmark.

sanfran


San Francisco mayor Ed Lee said on Thursday that he hadn't previously realized that Apple's proposed Union Square store would call for the removal of a 40-year-old fountain in the plaza behind the store, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. The mayor has indicated that he plans to visit the plaza again in order to see if the fountain can coexist with Apple's new store.

"We weren't necessarily focused on that side," Lee said of the Stockton Street plaza where the fountain is. Lee says he will need to "take a look and visualize" how the fountain would work with Apple's proposed raised, narrow plaza between its store and the Grand Hyatt.

Also at issue, the 80-foot blank wall along Stockton Street that makes up the Apple Store's rear facade. The blank wall goes against San Francisco's emphasis on street-level experience, as the critic who first pointed out the plan's impact on the fountain also noted.

sanfran


On Tuesday, Chronicle design critic John King drew attention to the fountain issue and criticized the design of the store. Calling the Foster + Partners-designed space "a box that would look at home in Anymall, U.S.A.," King pointed out that Apple's plans for the plaza would also displace a bronze fountain that has been in the plaza for 40 years.

The fountain, designed by Ruth Asawa, displays a map of San Francisco done in stylized relief form. King, contrasting the fountain with the "Anymall" look of the proposed Apple Store, said that the fountain "could exist nowhere else but here."

Apple revealed its plans to relocate its flagship store from Stockton and Ellis to Union Square earlier this month. The new location will be 45 percent larger than the current flagship store.

Apple has not yet commented on Mayor Lee's remarks. The Grand Hyatt Hotel, which owns the plaza and the fountain, says it's too premature to address any potential changes to Apple's proposal.
post #2 of 68
SF must be the greatest city in America if "take a look at a fountain" makes it onto the major's agenda.

(Especially an ugly one like that. They're acting like it's 240 years old rather than 40. Wow, 1973 was such a historic year.)
post #3 of 68
A classic case of "Squeaky wheel gets the grease", it seems to me. Maybe they will incorporate the monstrosity into Apple's design. It would look nice built into an all class staircase... not.
post #4 of 68
Put the fountain in the store.
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post #5 of 68
Just have someone, anyone, see a 'vague' remote looking Cross silhouette amongst all those other carvings and that thing is out of there, faster then you can say Al Michaels, 1980 Olympic Hockey Commentator of US Victory over the USSR, 'Do You Believe In Miracles'!
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Edited by Rot'nApple - 5/30/13 at 8:59am

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post #6 of 68
I don't live in SF. Is this really a beloved fountain? It seems odd that nobody noticed it would be gone until now.
post #7 of 68

SF can be truly laughable sometimes. They can't help themselves.

 

What an atrocious, grating piece of 'art.'

post #8 of 68
Caving to a vocal special interest. Yup, that's government.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

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post #9 of 68
Just because something is old does not make it worth saving. Especially a fountain that is absolutely butt ugly! I'm sure that the new Apple store will be spectacular. The fountain should be trashed and sent to the junk heap where it belongs.
post #10 of 68

The fountain is part of SF, if the citizens want to preserve it, Apple should either design around it or find another location.

post #11 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

The fountain is part of SF, if the citizens want to preserve it, Apple should either design around it or find another location.

I say move it to The 'Stick.
post #12 of 68
i'm so sick of san francisco politics.

the fountain is an eyesore.
it's not even facing union square. in fact, it's a half block away, facing other retail.
it's nothing. certainly not worth the attention it's getting.
post #13 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by quinney View Post


I say move it to The 'Stick.

ha! the perfect solution!

post #14 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

The fountain is part of SF, if the citizens want to preserve it, Apple should either design around it or find another location.

citizens? you're under the misperception that there is an overwhelming majority that wants to keep this fountain, when i think it's probably only just a handful. i certainly don't think it's worth stopping plans for apple's flagship store. makes no sense whatsoever.

post #15 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

SF can be truly laughable sometimes. They can't help themselves.

 

What an atrocious, grating piece of 'art.'

 

No offence, but you clearly know little about what constitutes "good art."

 

Hint: "Art" has almost nothing to do with physical beauty or attractiveness (even though personally I find this quite a nice looking piece as I'm sure others do as well).  

 

Also, even if this wasn't "art" by anyone's definition, it's still an important city landmark and a piece of the city's history.  It has as much right to be preserved as any public art.  Certainly more so than many heritage buildings, signs, etc.

 

People should basically just stop with the "it's ugly" or "it's not art" comments because it's completely irrelevant anyway.  

post #16 of 68
The fountain is ugly but so is the blank wall.
post #17 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Caving to a vocal special interest. Yup, that's government.

Exactly, shame on Apple. Oh... or did you mean that other special interest? Funny how that works.

 

That said...IMO -  that fountain should have 'significant historical ties' to SF to keep it(commemorating the great quake or something)... otherwise sell/move it. (granted I do not know the history of that fountain, so speaking from my arse a bit :) )

 

Let Jony Ives design a new one. One could say having an 'Apple Fountain or Steve Jobs Memorial Fountain' would be more historically justified based on Steve Jobs, silicon valley etc etc then a bronze map

 

As to the 'design critic'... A lot design is 'fadish' or based on 'taste' (IMO - including Apple Stores)... chill out.

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post #18 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by malax View Post

SF must be the greatest city in America if "take a look at a fountain" makes it onto the major's agenda.

(Especially an ugly one like that. They're acting like it's 240 years old rather than 40. Wow, 1973 was such a historic year.)

I had to read that again, it's only FORTY years old! Not much older than me! I don't really understand what the fuss is about. If the fountain was erected to mark a particular event or person as a memorial then fair enough, but it seems like a fairly dull fountain. And surely an Apple Store in keeping with Apple's design philosophy is perfectly suited to San Francisco of all places, a piece of architecture that will be meaningful for many people for many years to come.
post #19 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by malax View Post

Wow, 1973 was such a historic year.

End of the Vietnam war was sort of a big deal, but then you were probably not around at the time, were you? 

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post #20 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

No offence, but you clearly know little about what constitutes "good art."

Hint: "Art" has almost nothing to do with physical beauty or attractiveness (even though personally I find this quite a nice looking piece as I'm sure others do as well).  

Also, even if this wasn't "art" by anyone's definition, it's still an important city landmark and a piece of the city's history.  It has as much right to be preserved as any public art.  Certainly more so than many heritage buildings, signs, etc.

People should basically just stop with the "it's ugly" or "it's not art" comments because it's completely irrelevant anyway.  

Just out of interest, does the US have an equivalent to English Heritage? Over here I imagine it would go to them to consult and decide. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_Heritage
post #21 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by mac_dog View Post

citizens? you're under the misperception that there is an overwhelming majority that wants to keep this fountain, when i think it's probably only just a handful. i certainly don't think it's worth stopping plans for apple's flagship store. makes no sense whatsoever.

Both of you don't know what the local people want.

Makes perfect sense if its a local landmark the local people there want (no accounting for taste!)

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post #22 of 68

I've never seen or heard of that fountain before.

 

It looks very ugly and I believe that almost anybody, even somebody totally lacking artistic talent, could design a better looking fountain in about five minutes.

 

Just because something has existed for a few decades doesn't mean that it is worthy of being preserved. 

 

If the fountain is not part of Apple's plans, then the fountain should be destroyed and removed from the premises. It is an eyesore and doesn't belong next to an Apple store.

post #23 of 68
Fountains can be moved. I was talking to an old man about things that were in a local town, he talked about landmarks such as statues and fountains that were moved, and apparently the apocalypse didn't happen.
post #24 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

No offence, but you clearly know little about what constitutes "good art."

High horse, you has a big one. It's quite unbecoming.

By what merit can you say that it's good art and no one else is allowed a dissenting opinion? You've yet to claim any credentials if you're making some claim of meritocracy.

Quote:
Hint: "Art" has almost nothing to do with physical beauty or attractiveness (even though personally I find this quite a nice looking piece as I'm sure others do as well).  

Hint: "good" is a comment on an opinion of quality, which which you have little place telling people they aren't allowed to have such an opinion.

Quote:
Also, even if this wasn't "art" by anyone's definition, it's still an important city landmark and a piece of the city's history.  It has as much right to be preserved as any public art.  Certainly more so than many heritage buildings, signs, etc.

Who is saying that it needs to be destroyed? Is preserving it only valid in the context that it absolutely must stay there, that it cannot be moved? I don't think anyone is saying it has to be melted down.

Quote:
People should basically just stop with the "it's ugly" or "it's not art" comments because it's completely irrelevant anyway.  

So you're saying that people can't even say with validity that it's ugly? It's an opinion and I don't think you're in any place to say people can't have that opinion.
Edited by JeffDM - 5/30/13 at 9:51am
post #25 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

It looks very ugly and I believe that almost anybody, even somebody totally lacking artistic talent, could design a better looking fountain in about five minutes.

The photo in this article does not clearly show all of the sculpture details. I agree that from a distance there is not much to admire about the overall shape of the fountain but the artwork is in the details. I think it took a little longer than five minutes to design. It was designed for close up observation. Take a look at this high resolution image.

 

http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3249/2996766277_4b2a362e4a_o.jpg

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post #26 of 68
If the mayor really cares about it then move the "historic" fountain to his front lawn. The thing looks like a steaming bucket of hot asphalt.

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post #27 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

Fountains can be moved. I was talking to an old man about things that were in a local town, he talked about landmarks such as statues and fountains that were moved, and apparently the apocalypse didn't happen.

How do you know? Can you find that town anymore?

I'm surprised WS didn't spin this: San Fran thinks about rejecting Apple Store. Will other towns follow?
post #28 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

The photo in this article does not clearly show all of the sculpture details. I agree that from a distance there is not much to admire about the overall shape of the fountain but the artwork is in the details. I think it took a little longer than five minutes to design. It was designed for close up observation. Take a look at this high resolution image.

 

http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3249/2996766277_4b2a362e4a_o.jpg

Yes, that photo shows the fountain in quite a different light and it looks very detailed. The photo accompanying this article was poor.

 

So, maybe it doesn't need to be destroyed, but it can certainly be moved, if the fountain is not part of Apple's plans.

post #29 of 68
Garish.
post #30 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by city View Post

Put the fountain in the store.

 

Then, afterwards, we can all go dance on Steve Jobs' grave.

 

 

Oh wait, we won't have to.

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post #31 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronbo View Post

Garish.

Hey, it was the seventies. Everyone was on acid. That was a common artistic style at the time.

 

 

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post #32 of 68

Apple customers like surprises, now they might have to reveal their iFountain?!  hahaha

 

If Apple buys the property, then the property owner should have the right to build as they see fit on their private property.  That's what property ownership is all about!

post #33 of 68

Good for San Francisco.  Stand up for what is important.

 

Apple could open a new store in downtown Austin instead.   I bet Texas would be glad to have it, along with more Apple offices, employees, and the new Mac manufacturing that Tim Cook is talking about.

post #34 of 68

If the fountain is so special they can easily move it into Union Square; there's plenty of room there. The fact that it lies in the shadow of a Levi's store doesn't speak much to it's significance, although it is fairly interesting, and I do remember waking by it as a kid. I'm sure it's important to some, but not a reason to cancel the Apple Store plans. And for those criticizing the "blank wall," minimalism can be beautiful, particularly in juxtaposition with the relative chaos and dirtiness that is San Francisco. 

   

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post #35 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by PatchyThePirate View Post

If the fountain is so special they can easily move it into Union Square; 

Or they could move it over to Golden Gate Park near Haight and Ashbury as a monument to the hippies who no doubt inspired the work.

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post #36 of 68
First of all, I didn't know San Francisco was so high on nostalgia being one of the most "progressive" and "backward" cities in the US. Second, I've never seen such an important landmark with no name especially given that the designer named all her other pieces. It doesn't even have its own Wikipedia page...probably because it has no name and is so insignificant that no one more than several blocks from the square even knows it's there.
post #37 of 68

In San Francisco, the mayor is keenly interested in micromanaging some ugly fountain that sits in the shade of a hotel behind a failed, awkwardly triangular retail store, but has no problem with the fact that the City's failing transit system has an ontime rating of 58%. 

 

Priorities in a direct democracy! Have some washed up columnist setting the City's agenda.

post #38 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

End of the Vietnam war was sort of a big deal, but then you were probably not around at the time, were you? 

 

Except the Vietnam War was not over in 1973.  It lasted until 1975.   I was around at the time.

post #39 of 68

While I love my beloved San Francisco, I am ashamed that it is being run by a bunch of monkeys.

I walk by that fountain several times a week.  It's not even viewable from Union Square, it's in the shadows, and it's mainly occupied by vagrants, homeless folks, and panhandlers.  I either walk the other side of the street, or walk past it fast.  Most folks would not even know its there.

I highly doubt most San Franciscans would even care if its moved or not.  It's just a small minority of loudmouths having their hissy-fits while sipping their tea at the Palace.  They do not represent the majority of San Franciscans.

The Levi's building where the fountain is situated is an eyesore.  An Apple store there would really liven the street up.  Get rid of that fountain.  No love will be lost.

post #40 of 68
"Babbling Pigeon-shitter" or "A Hundred Jobs and Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars in Tax Revenue"

You decide.
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