SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – Related California recently unveiled the first permanent public art installation in the United States for Berlin-based artist, Alicja Kwade. The installation was commissioned for The Shops at Avery Lane, the street-level shopping area connected to The Avery (488 Folsom Street), Related’s new 56-story sculpted glass tower in San Francisco’s Transbay neighborhood.
According to Kwade’s artist statement, Absorption (2018), is a sculptural abstraction utilizing mirrors and stones to produce an optical illusion that plays with viewers’ perceptions of dimensionality. The installation was included as a way to “contribute something soulful, stimulating, and timeless to the public space at Avery Lane,” according to gallery owner Wendi Norris, who served as The Avery’s chief curator. Norris adds that, ” Absorption was the first work we commissioned for Related California at the Avery, and it served as the foundation on which we built an expansive collection on the interior.”
Designed by the Dutch architectural firm, OMA, The Avery is the firm’s first ever high-rise and ground-up development in the San Francisco Bay area. The mixed use build includes The Shops at Avery Lane, a collection of publicly accessible premium dining and retail purveyors, while the upper floors are comprised of a “548-unit residential tower, 118 luxury-view condominiums, 280 luxury apartments and 150 affordable apartments,” according to Related California.
As to why developers are prioritizing contemporary artwork in the designs of their buildings, Gino Canori, Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer at Related California, says that his team believes “art can enrich private and public spaces,” while also “complementing world-class architecture and design.” Canori further notes that “our residents are fully immersed in arts and culture and appreciate new, distinct artwork.”
In addition to commissioning Absorption, Related worked closely with Wendi Norris to curate a comprehensive collection for both the public and private spaces in The Avery. To date, the collection features twenty-two contemporary artworks by fifteen artists, six of whom are local to the Bay area. Norris states that, “The Avery’s art collection utilizes imagery rooted in universal languages to speak to greater human connectivity…The works are immediately and strikingly beautiful, and over time reveal nuanced layers of concept, process, and historic intrigue.” Related is also working with Norris and local arts editor, Timothy Don, to publish a collection catalogue that will include original essays on The Avery’s curation, artists, and artworks. Far from the days when art was viewed as mere wall decor, Related is finding new ways to elegantly incorporate museum-quality experiences outside of museum gallery walls.