San Francisco Visitor Information Center

August 2012 / San Francisco Travel

Revitalizing San Francisco's official visitor center

San Francisco Travel approached my team at Gensler to help realize their dreams of a new and refreshing take on the San Francisco Visitor Information Center. The previous design resembled a dark basement filled with library racks for brochures. It’s defining feature was a full length counter at the back of the space where the resident “geniuses” helped customers waiting in line for information or purchases. We approached the project from the customer’s viewpoint, intending to foster the best possible interaction between visitor and genius. Our solution incorporated branded architectural design that emphasized function and ease of use. The result has become a space that truly resembles the life and vibrancy of its city.

The visitor center is now open! Visit it today.

We designed the back wall with a central monolithic orange surface with a large branded informational “i” and the words “Welcome to San Francisco” in large dimensional letters on top. Super scaled custom-designed maps of San Francisco and the greater Northern California area flank both sides of the central orange wall. These maps are designed specifically to provide the necessary information for visitors to gain the necessary context for their journeys through San Francisco and California without overloading them with information. This wall is infused with touch-screen monitors with a user interface that allows visitors to see more detailed information about the city and their journey.

The full-length counter has been replaced by two large dealer-style tables with overhead and tabletop signage depicting their functionality. These tables bring the staff out into the space closer to the customer, and allow multiple parties to engage with the geniuses from all sides without losing the efficiency or content requirements from the old counter.

The perimeter walls have been maximized for use with new brochure storage with customizable signage racks for flexible organization. These walls include large-scale stylized illustrations by a local San Francisco artist to help draw the culture of the city into the space.

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