Sad news for fans of good taste, high art, and French whimsy. The famed street lamps on Howard, located between Third and Fourth Streets in San Francisco’s Yerba Buena neighborhood, are officially a thing of the past. At least for now.
Designed by Philippe Starck, who has reimagined everything from hotels to toilet brushes, the lampposts’s tips stood straight up during the day, swiveled down at dusk, then swerved up again in the morning.
Due to construction at the new Moscone Center, however, the swiveling lights have been removed only to be replaced with energy-efficient lamps of the LED variety. Alas.
“The Philippe Starck streetlights on Howard between Third and Fourth streets were removed and stored at the Public Works maintenance yard,” a spokesperson with Department of Public Works tells Curbed SF. “We will not be reinstalling them on Howard Street...we are holding on to them for the time being and seeing if they could be reused on another project, perhaps in a park. At this point, we have no specific plans.”
Here the lamps are in action:
A bit of history on the beloved lamps: In 1996, then mayor Willie Brown fell in love with the lights during a visit to the JCDecaux factory in Plaisir, France. So enraptured was the former mayor that he had them installed on Howard Street. Free of charge, of course.
As of Friday, there remains only one Starck lamp standing. You can see it across from the new Moscone East building and next to the entrance of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts at Howard and Third.