Cloud Nine

Project, 2015
San Francisco, California
collaboration with Matt Hutchinson / PATH


Cloud Nine is a digitally-fabricated, information-rich cloud that hovers over the Pier 9 plaza on San Francisco's Embarcadero. Fabricated from stainless steel, the cloud takes advantage of the site’s solar exposure to produce a shifting field of shadows for pedestrians to experience from below. Supported by eight slender columns, the cloud cantilevers towards both the plaza and street as a welcoming gesture to the public. Its geometry, together with a minimal pattern of painted grid lines on the pavement, creates a cohesive, inviting space for passersby on the Embarcadero.

The installation is fabricated from stock steel components that have been customized with a series of computational design and digital fabrication techniques, demonstrating how these technologies can be leveraged to produce dynamic, publicly accessible artwork. Its materiality and lightness evokes the famous San Francisco fog, but also the paradigm of the data-infused cloud that now seems to permeate all aspects of contemporary culture. The installation itself is embedded with data, in the form of waterjet-cut perforations that communicate text via Morse code patterns. Throughout the day, the sun projects this data down to the plaza below, where pedestrians—knowingly or not—become immersed in a cloud of information. At night, the cloud will be lit from below with LED lighting, providing an entirely different atmosphere than during the day.


Project Credits: 
Design: Adam Marcus, Matt Hutchinson (PATH)