Ribbons

CompanyCliff Garten Studio
Lead DesignerCliff Garten
Design TeamCliff Garten Studio: Cliff Garten, Principal, Matt Gilio-Tenan, Greg Corso, Karin Nelson Metal Arts Foundry Inc. QCP, Quick Crete Products Corp. Seattle Solstice HKS Architects Cliff Lowe Associates, Inc.
PrizeLandscape Architecture / Outdoor Designs

Commissioned by the U.S. General Services Administration Art in Architecture Program, as part of the GSA’s retrofit of a historic building for their new Pacific Rim headquarters, the installation of the landscape sculpture entitled Ribbons elegantly shifts the hierarchical orders of Beaux-Art and Second Renaissance Revival architecture into a site specific contemporary landscape sculpture at the center of the building’s 24,000 square foot courtyard. Designed by Arthur Brown Jr., architect of San Francisco’s City Hall and three other landmark Civic Center buildings, 50 UN Plaza was built in 1936 as the final structure in a seven-building complex composing the San Francisco Civic Center, which was designated as a National Historic Landmark District in 1987. 50 UN Plaza is a showcase for appropriate sustainable measures in a significant historic building. Awarded LEED Platinum certification, the renovation is a stellar example of Deep Green Retrofit. To meet the challenge for sustainable materials and stay within budget, for Ribbons Garten developed a system of interchangeable, repeatable sculptures fabricated by casting recycled concrete in fiberglass molds and carved the granite fountains from remnant blocks. Ribbons is a significant sculptural response to the architecture and sustainability by extending the contemporary dialogue between sculpture, architecture and landscape to integrate the three into a single statement comprised of a sculptural matrix of paving, seating, fountains, and planting. The titular sculptures twist and fall to form a rhythmic circulation system that loosely reflect the twists of a ribbon. Two carved dark gray-green granite fountains, individually weighing 4,500 pounds, anchor the long axis of the courtyard providing the subtle sound of water flowing over their polished surfaces. The integrated composition of sculpture and landscape, uses the vertical movement of a grid of Himalayan White Birch to counter balance the horizontal emphasis of the sculptures.