Immersive Placemaking: The Layers in Stephen Galloway Studio’s Artwork

Immersive Placemaking: The Layers in Stephen Galloway Studio’s Artwork

I’m overjoyed and honored to introduce my latest public artwork, Elysium, created for my hometown of San Francisco. Elysium is the centerpiece of the newly remodeled Powell Street BART Station. Situated in the heart of San Francisco’s historic and tourist hub, this underground station has undergone an impressive transformation. Elysium, with its captivating round backlit design, pays homage to the iconic architecture surrounding the area and draws inspiration from the distinct “bubble” tile that adorns the station’s walls. Its purpose is to create an immersive experience, drawing a sense of openness and light down into the underground space and infusing both visitors and residents with a profound sense of place.

The piece is a 16’ diameter glass artwork surrounded by a 1’ wide powdercoated aluminum escutcheon. The laminated glass contains a printed image with a diffusion layer and is backlit by a custom designed LED system.
Elysium epitomizes my approach to place-making. When crafting public and integrated artworks, I strive to subtly, and at times more overtly, raise people’s awareness of their surroundings. Through meticulous research and personal exploration, I discover captivating elements that capture my eye and curiosity. These threads are woven together to transform the conditions under which viewers encounter their environment.

San Francisco, in many respects, is a young city, its downtown architecture predominantly postdating the 1906 earthquake. Amidst the abundance of steel and glass structures, a keen observer who gazes upwards will be rewarded with exquisitely detailed buildings representing various styles from the 20th century. Just above the Powell St. Station, standing on Market Street, one can behold three splendid architectural gems. The gray-hued Flood Building, crowned with its rounded corner tower, stands as a testament to its resilience, having withstood the devastating quake of 1906. One Powell, a white art deco building erected in 1921, served as the headquarters of the Bank of Italy, now known as Bank of America. And then there’s the Pacific Building, distinguished by its vibrant green tiles and Moorish influences, a marvel constructed in 1908.

The Powell Street BART Station is a bustling transit hub, frequented by local commuters and visitors from all corners of the globe. With this project, my mission is to spark a newfound appreciation for the city’s beauty among commuters and leave visitors with a vibrant image of this world-class city to carry back home.

Visit the Stephen Galloway Studio website here.