Hyatt on Union Square Fountain [Ruth Asawa]

Lauren Dare

Sr. Editor

Apple loses battle with Ruth Asawa's Union Square Fountain.

Commissioned in 1970 by the Grand Hyatt Hotel that sits behind the fountain. You can see the hotel's initials (HH) on the front.


Asawa built a replica staircase in her yard so that the fountain and the hundreds of miniature sculptures on it would fit in perfectly with the stairs in front of the Hyatt.  Using baker's clay, the artist looked to house guests and school children for models. The sculptures were then cast in bronze.


Can you spot the Jefferson Airplane tribute? Other things that can be found on this piece: Lombard Street, Charlie Brown, The Grateful Dead, Superman, and, of course, the Golden Gate Bridge.


There are 41 individual bronze plaques, about 26 x 32 inches each, covering the 43 feet encompassing the fountain. If you are looking at the center 'HH', the city is loosely divided in fourths in relation to Union Square: south is to the left, north to the right, The Pacific Ocean at the top and the Bay at the bottom.


In what started to become a David vs. Goliath situation, this fountain was slated to be "relocated" and replaced by Apple's thoroughly unimaginative new flagship store. Needless to say, there are many critics and they are not pleased.


Update: Bowing to public pressure Apple's architects have revised their plan and submitted new drawings that move the fountain a few feet over.