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Salesforce Plaza

San Francisco, CA

Studio 431 Custom Elements
Custom Bench Seating

Design Partners: 
Ji Hyun Yoo, Principal at SWA

In San Francisco’s SoMa district, right in the shadow of the city’s skyline-topping Salesforce Tower, Salesforce Plaza is a convergence of downtown activity. In addition to providing much-needed respite space for hustling young professionals, the plaza also serves as the gateway to Salesforce Park, a 5.4-acre, four-city-block-long urban rooftop oasis accessible by gondola. To frame the plaza, welcome the park’s visitors, and delineate the public gathering and gondola boarding areas, landscape architecture and planning firm SWA sought a sweeping, sculptural seating solution.

SWA looked to Landscape Forms’ Studio 431 custom division to quickly make its concept a reality, tasking the team with crafting the bespoke, semi-elliptical bench in short order. "This was a unique project in that it was very fast with a short lead time," says Landscape Forms Senior Business Development Representative, Rebecca Casey. “We knew we had to execute SWA’s vision for a bench that was beautiful, sculptural and fitting for this high-profile location, but we also knew manufacturing had to be especially time efficient, and on-site installation had to be as smooth and simple as possible.”

The Studio 431 team put its engineering expertise to work, developing methods to expedite the bench's manufacturing and installation while ensuring a seamless fit and refined finish. Consisting of over 600 peaked wood boards in an arcing, piano key orientation, this was no easy feat. The team was able to group the boards into 39 unique profiles—each with an identifying number on the underside—to reduce manufacturing time and simplify replacement should they become damaged. To keep installation quick and manageable for a small crew, Studio 431 designed the bench to be shipped in twelve 7’-long sections, each of which were then secured simply atop welded supports.

Spanning just weeks from manufacturing to final installation, the project was an overwhelming success. The large-scale bench’s curvilinear form and sculpturally profiled seat provide organic contrast to the surrounding urban grid and, with Studio 431’s design accommodations for integrated lighting, it lends Salesforce Plaza an artful illuminated signature as people observe from the gondola and rooftop park above.