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Powell Street becomes a vibrant destination again

Posted on January 23, 2012 9:31 AM

Powell Street


Not only was the Powell Street Promenade an opportunity to showcase Audi design philosophy, it was an opportunity to make a difference and demonstrate the positive impact that good design can have on a community and city.

The stretch of Powell Street between Geary and Ellis was already a popular destination, rivaling some of the world’s most famous streets, including Times Square, NYC and Oxford Street, London. However, it was severely lacking a vibrant street life. Seating was scarce and sidewalks were overcrowded and congested. Our goal, as well as that of San Francisco City Planning and the Union Square Business Improvement District was to redefine the pedestrian experience and revitalize the street.

Change doesn’t necessarily happen overnight. Although the space has only been in use a few short months and we envision the Powell Street Promenade becoming a downtown fixture in San Francisco for many years to come, the results have already proven positive. According to a study conducted by the Union Square BID, Powell Street is quickly transforming into a true destination and not merely a corridor for shoppers, commuters and tourists to pass through.

Audi connect for all

Posted on January 9, 2012 9:12 PM

Progress on Powell

Audi connect is the name given to the A7’s enhanced infotainment system, which combines an in-vehicle WiFi link with a first-of-its-kind navigation system that uses the web to access information in real time. But the thing that really sets Audi connect™ apart from the competition is that it actually transforms the car into a WiFi hotspot, with the ability to connect up to 8 WiFi-equipped devices. You know, just in case you wanted to turn your backseat into a spare office.

Using this feature as another source of inspiration, Audi took the promenade one step further by turning the space into a free WiFi hotspot for everyone to enjoy. Now visitors can window-shop and check email at the same time.

Progress on Powell

Progress on Powell


A boldly designed car deserves a boldly designed world

Posted on January 5, 2012 2:14 PM

Watch Audi of America and designer Walter Hood set out to re-imagine two of San Francisco’s most crowded and congested blocks in this short documentary.


From headlights to streetlights

Posted on December 19, 2011 9:21 AM

Progress on Powell

One of the unique attributes of Walter Hood’s design for the Powell Street Promenade is that it actually has two distinct personalities. One during the day, and the other at night when the promenade comes alive thanks to a series of LED lights which accent and reflect off the installations like glistening jewels.

The inspiration for the lighting comes directly from the LED headlights on the Audi A7. The Audi LED technology is one of the most identifiable features of the brand — an engineering feat unto itself, re-creating daylight in a headlight. LED is more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs and last the lifetime of the vehicle. This defining characteristic immediately became a fascination for designer, Walter Hood. “One of the things that is really beautiful about Audi design is the way the technology inspires form, particularly with the lights. It's one of the first cars where you look at it and you actually see the LED technology."

But what is most remarkable about the LED lights on the Powell Street Promenade is what’s powering them. Audi is dedicated to efficient and sustainable energy solutions and envisioned a space that might showcase this philosophy. And so a series of “gateway towers” were erected along both sides of the street with photovoltaic solar panels mounted on top. The captured solar energy is transformed into electricity by battery packs at the base of each tower, making the LED lighting completely self-sustainable. Who knows, it might just catch on.


And now we cut the ribbon

Posted on July 13, 2011 8:26 AM

Progress on Powell

This is a day we’ve been looking forward to for some time. It began with a simple notion that a boldly designed car, like the all-new Audi A7, deserved to drive in a more boldly designed world. To us, that wasn’t just a catchy slogan on a billboard. It was something bigger. A mission. That we could take the same approach to design and innovation and apply it to the world beyond our cars. And that’s exactly what we set out to do when we partnered with the city of San Francisco and the Union Square Business Improvement District to transform two of the most popular blocks in the city to create a better pedestrian experience. On Wednesday, July 13, executives from Audi joined Mayor Edwin M. Lee and representatives from the city and community to cut the ribbon and officially unveil the new Powell Street Promenade.

For those of you who haven’t been following along, we invited renowned architect Walter Hood to design a space that was not only inspired by the Audi A7, but also used the same materials. The result is a space constructed almost entirely from aluminum, inspired by the Audi ASF® frame. The sculpting of the furniture recalls the car’s dynamic lines. Solar towers reflect our company’s strong commitment to efficient and sustainable design solutions by powering our signature LEDs, which have become streetlights. And finally, the high-speed Wi-Fi is something we’ve introduced in our cars as well. In the end, we hope people will experience and interact with Powell Street in a whole new way. It’s a fitting tribute to a city that shares our spirit of progress.

Progress on Powell

Progress on Powell

Installation in full swing

Posted on July 12, 2011 2:18 PM

Progress on Powell

Ribbon cutting is only one day away, and all the weeks and months of planning are finally coming to fruition. So if you happen to be in the city, stop on down Wednesday, July 13 at 10 a.m. to join us in introducing the all-new Powell Street. In the meantime, finished elements have been arriving on-site for the past week for installation. As you can see, the aluminum and wood grates were laid down to create a platform that will extend from the sidewalk and cover the parking lanes.

The unique marriage of wood and aluminum reflects the meticulous craftsmanship that went into developing the refined interior of the all-new Audi A7. The street furniture was designed to rise up from the grates in twisting and bending metal forms. Pictured here is a standing table getting acquainted with its new home. Come back to see the completed space unveiled.

Progress on Powell

Progress on Powell

These aren't your parents' park benches.

Posted on July 12, 2011 10:32 AM

Progress on Powell

Ribbons of aluminum arrived from the metal fabricator, NorCal, to await assembly at Atthowe’s warehouse where things were gearing up for installation. Unlike the railings, these are wider and shorter, and when three of them are placed side to side, they just so happen to form one of Powell Street’s new places to take a load off.

Again, like much of the promenade, the benches draw their inspiration from the aluminum chassis of the all-new A7, the Audi ASF® frame. While the twisting and sculpting of the metal is intended to reflect the dynamic styling of the luxury sedan, we prefer to see a piece of art that stands alone. We’ll let you decide if you want to take a seat or stand back and admire.

Progress on Powell

Progress on Powell

About Audi Progress - Powell StreetAbout Audi Progress - Powell Street

Design. It's in our DNA. It's why we believe that a boldly designed car deserves a boldly designed world. A world that lives up to the same philosophy of uncompromising craftsmanship and innovation that defines our cars. So we launched the Audi Design Project: Progress on Powell Street. An urban design initiative inspired by the all-new Audi A7, with the mission to re-imagine the world beyond our cars. We took two of the most storied and overcrowded blocks in San Francisco, and set out to redefine the experience.