November 19, 2019

Unison and Port of San Francisco Dedicate Welcome Tower - New Temporary Art Installation On The Embarcadero

SAN FRANCISCO — November 18, 2019 — San Francisco based home co-investing company Unison today joined with Mayor London Breed, and the Port of San Francisco to unveil Welcome Tower at Pier 14 on the Embarcadero. Welcome Tower is a dynamic new public art installation by multi-disciplinary artist Sean Orlando. Welcome Tower will be on display at Pier 14 through October 2020.

“Welcome Tower is a great addition to the waterfront, said Elaine Forbes, Executive Director of the Port of San Francisco. “We are confident that this piece will inspire residents, visitors, and commuters alike to reflect on the unique character of our city in one of the most beautiful spots along the Embarcadero at Pier 14.”
San Francisco's Welcome Tower

Welcome Tower is a 30-foot-tall reinterpretation of San Francisco’s iconic Coit Tower. The structure is made of reclaimed wooden front doors representing architectural styles across San Francisco’s historic neighborhoods, from Queen Anne to Art Deco to Craftsman, painted by world renowned decorative painter and architectural gilder Tania Seabock. In addition to doors, the first level features fish-eye peepholes that invite onlookers to gaze into 3-D shadow boxes created by eight individual local artists: Maurice Cavness, Ake Grunditz, Leslie Grunditz, Ubin Li, Olga Lopata, Jody Medich, Tania Seabock, and Imogen Speer. The structure occupies the same Pier 14 spot that Orlando’s Raygun Gothic Rocketship filled in 2010-2011.

“This collaborative work of art serves as a reminder of the importance of working together to build more affordable housing and ensuring that every San Franciscan has a safe place to call home,” said Mayor London N. Breed. “Public art, like the Welcome Tower, makes our city more vibrant and helps support local artists, and I’m glad to see its installation at the waterfront.”

Artist Sean Orlando said, “So many artists are being forced to leave San Francisco — a creative class that has been a cultural foundation for many generations. Realizing a large-scale installation requires many hands, different perspectives, skill sets and techniques. It gives artists an opportunity to express themselves as part of a larger collaborative piece. We wanted to look at iconic landmarks in San Francisco and we wanted to use doors as a medium. We want people to think about what San Francisco means to them — to think about San Francisco as a home.”

“Unison commissioned the Welcome Tower as a gift to the city and people of San Francisco to serve as a symbol of innovation and creativity coming together in order to pioneer new solutions for those who want to make this City home,” said Thomas Sponholtz, Unison CEO. “The growing challenge of housing affordability and home ownership continues to have an impact on us all whether you’re trying to buy a home or are an existing homeowner. It is a complex yet solvable problem and as a community of creative innovators and pioneers we can find new solutions together.”

Addressing the City’s housing affordability crisis is a top priority for Mayor Breed. Mayor Breed has set a goal of creating or rehabilitating 10,000 units of affordable housing in San Francisco by 2020. To date over 8,100 units have been created or rehabilitated. At the Port of San Francisco hundreds of affordable units are also planned and/or in development, including 88 Broadway, which will be a 100% affordable housing site; Mission Rock, which will include 40% affordable housing units; and Pier 70, which will include 33% affordable units. On November 5, 2019 San Francisco voters passed Proposition A, the largest affordable housing bond in San Francisco’s history with 71.2% of the vote, bolstering the city’s efforts to address the housing crisis. Passage of Proposition A will dedicate $600 million for the creation and rehabilitation of affordable housing.

Sponholtz added, “San Francisco has been a hub for culture, art and freedom of expression, not just for our nation but the world. However in the last several decades, skyrocketing property values have made homeownership in San Francisco a real challenge for the many people who have shaped this city. The miniature murals remind us how creativity, diversity and innovation have shaped the identity of the city that we love. We applaud those working on this problem and call on the other members of our community - both public and private - to face this issue by leaning into the San Francisco spirit of collective courage, ingenuity and creativity.”


About Unison
Unison is a San Francisco-based company that is pioneering a smarter, better way to buy and own your home. We are a team of professionals with an extensive background in finance and real estate who are committed to helping homebuyers get the home they want, and homeowners finance their life needs without adding debt. We believe in a world where buying and owning a home is not a zero-sum game, and that with the right partners, everyone can win.

About Sean Orlando
Sean Orlando is a multi-disciplinary installation artist, museum professional, and community organizer and the founder of Engineered Artworks. His collaborative and immersionary large-scale sculptural installation projects have been shown at The Crucible, Chabot Space & Science Center, Maker Faire, Landor & Associates, The American Welding Society, The Port of San Francisco, Coachella, Dorkbots, Burning Man, The Worth Ryder Gallery, Warehouse 416, The Smithsonian, The Exploratorium, and more. He has been supporting and creating public art in the Bay Area for over two decades.

About Five Ton Crane
Five Ton Crane is a diverse group of artists, builders, makers and inventors from the San Francisco Bay Area. The name implies the intention: Five Ton Crane does the heavy lifting that the individual artist couldn’t do on their own; by pooling resources, interests and talent to create opportunities for bigger, better and bolder Art. From giant projects like the Raygun Gothic Rocketship to group shows locally and across the country.