Transit Center's Floor Blooms With Art

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

When the Transbay Transit Center (now officially known as the Salesforce Transit Center) opens in downtown San Francisco, travelers will have a myriad of transit options. As a bonus, the public art will provide a visual feast for the eyes. One of the four featured artists is Julie Chang, who designed the terrazzo floor for the Grand Hall. Chang is a San Francisco-based artist who, at the time of her selection, coincidentally lived within blocks of the new Transbay Transit Center.

Using a visual vocabulary that includes European wallpaper patterns, Chinese textiles and contemporary graphic design, Chang creates laser-cut acrylic chandeliers, graphic two-dimensional works and painted floor murals. Her work explores the “nature of identity as an imposed character,” and the way in which patterns serve as powerful and ubiquitous markers of class. Chang received her MFA at Stanford University in 2007. She is represented by Hosfelt Gallery in San Francisco and New York and has participated in numerous exhibitions throughout the Bay Area as well as the 2006 International Symposium of Interactive Media in Istanbul. She also received a MFA Studio Award from the Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito in 2007.

The terrazzo floor of the Grand Hall will welcome visitors into a warm and inviting environment that evokes a lush sunlit Victorian garden. Mined from local ecology, design elements include California poppies and jewel-toned hummingbirds highlighted by mirrored glass. Integrated into the design is a subtle overlay of icons and patterns, which are drawn from the rich tapestry of people and cultures across the Bay Area: flower-like circular rings from an Indian sari, cloud-like curves inspired by Chinese embroidery, Japanese crests, diamonds and chevrons found in a variety of sources including African textiles and Grecian pottery, and star and cross motifs from Islamic tiles.

Spanning three city blocks and designed to serve 11 transit systems, the expansive bus-rail hub is overseen by the Transbay Joint Powers Authority, whose Public Art Program includes three other commissioned artworks that also merge seamlessly with the grand and elegant architecture of the Transit Center, highlighting its elegance, sophistication and timelessness.