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Local architecture firm redesigns SF shoeshine stand destroyed by taxi

Thing One steps up to help rebuild

New shoeshine stand open, featuring wood interiors. Photos by Justin Beadle

On August 23, a Yellow Cab taxi heading up Market Street jumped the curb and crashed onto the sidewalk at Sansome and Sutter. While no one was killed, the sidewalk’s popular shoeshine stand was crushed and destroyed. One local architecture firm stepped up to help rebuild.

Justin Beadle, principal at Thing One, offered Susan Giammona and Saleem Bey, operators of the ruined stand, pro-bono design work to help them create a new one. (The crash happened directly across the street from Beadle’s office.) A group of ten local volunteers helped build the new stand over a two-weekend period using materials provided by a crowdfunding campaign in Mr. Bey's name.

“When the taxi destroyed the old stand, it destroyed the workplace of two craftspeople,” says Beadle, adding, “In designing and building a new stand, I wanted to restore the place, as well as the work it supports. More than that, I hope that a new architecture will allow others to see the dignity of those who work at the stand.”

As for the design of the stand itself, Beadle explains, “The shoeshine stand is an occupiable piece of street furniture, not just something you can sit on, like a bench, but something you can enter. At night it is a solid volume, like the light pole it is attached to, hardened against whatever Market Street can throw at it. During the day it reveals a soft interior of clear redwood, an extension of the tones of the brick sidewalk, inviting you to sit in a warm, comfortable space.”

The stand, which opens to the public on March 8 for $5 a pop from 12 p.m.-2 p.m., uses a construction system of cross-laminated redwood to create a thin yet sturdy structure ready for life on Market Street.

Scene of the accident on August 23:

Photo by Brock Keeling