Streetlights in Motion

As an architect, I look at the design of almost everything in my daily life. Maybe you do too, to a certain extent.

Today, I was wondering what's going to happen to gas stations once the majority of cars shift to electric. Will they become convenience stores? Will they begin to get replaced by other uses? Will they become battery recharging stations?

Now pivot, and when's the last time you really looked at streetlights? What if streetlights weren't so boring and they became pieces of art? What if streetlights were in motion and became animated by swiveling down at night so that they could provide downlight when dark, but rotated back up and become standing torches during the day so that they would be out of the way?


Well my friends, such a streetlight exists... existed; and it was designed by Philippe Starck, installed in San Francisco on Howard between Third and Fourth Streets. Like anything else designed by Starck, these curvaceous and organic looking street-lamps aren't cheap at a whopping $22,000 each, but then (circa 1996) San Francisco Mayor, Willie Brown, managed to convince JCDecaux to provide them for free as free advertising for their company, until recently. Check out the Instagram video below of just how they work(ed). 

turning on: #philippestarck street lights on howard and 3rd

A post shared by Brock Keeling (@brockkeeling) on

Curbed San Francisco recently wrote an article that the streetlights will be going out of service, or at least to be serviced,  for an undetermined extended period of time. 

Perhaps you've been by the block that had these streetlights and never noticed them. Or maybe you've only been by during the day and never even realized they were street-lamps. One of the coolest pieces of working public art in City by the Bay, will be replaced with temporary LED lights to aid ongoing construction in the area.