201 California Street - CODAworx

201 California Street

Submitted by ESI Design

Client: Beacon Capital Partners

Location: San Francisco, CA, United States

Completion date: 2019

Project Team


ESI Design

Industry Resource


Industry Resource


Industry Resource


Industry Resource



Tasked with refining and unifying the lobby of 201 California Street, ESI Design created a mechanical, water-based light installation that reimagines the traditional lobby water feature. The design draws inspiration from the building’s geometry and the natural environment of California.

The illuminated wall uses the natural interplay between light and water to generate changing surface textures. A pool of gently moving water is augmented with controllable light that projects rippling imagery onto the wall.

Changing patterns are created as light is refracted through a pool of water onto the wall. Water drops into a pool through 13 computer-controlled valves, and waves are generated by two mechanical paddles.

Together, the drops and the waves interrupt the surface of the water to keep the light patterns on the wall active and dynamic, mimicking the sunlight hitting California’s lakes and rivers.

The colored light varies in shade, intensity, and combination over the course of the day, with different playlists corresponding to rush hours and off-peak time. Between the various texture and color combinations, the installation has well over 100 settings, ensuring variety for those who see it day after day after day.


Beacon Capital Partners asked ESI Design to create a refined experience in the lobby of 201 California with a clear focal point and unified feel.