Raygun Gothic Rocket Ship – San Francisco, California - Atlas Obscura
Raygun Gothic Rocket Ship is permanently closed.

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Raygun Gothic Rocket Ship

A rococo retro-futurist future-rustic vernacular between yesterday’s tomorrow and the future that never was. 


A 40-ft-tall rocket ship glimmers in the sunlight on the rare occasion that the San Francisco fog allows it, and against the backdrop of the waterfront and the majestic Bay Bridge, this retro-futuristic icon is the jewel of Pier 14.

This spectacular sci-fi sculpture is the creation of Bay Area artists Sean Orlando, Nathaniel Taylor, David Shulman and the dedicated crew of the Five Ton Crane Arts Group, who helped to bring their fantastic vision to fruition – a larger than life 1930’s-1940’s pulp fiction space ship, gleaming silver legs forever prepped for lift off, three interior chambers fitted with all of the whimsical knobs and dials that you dreamed of as a kid.

Originally created as a 2009 art installation for the Burning Man Festival in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, the large-scale immersion based piece currently resides on Pier 14, illuminated and dreamy at night and flashing with retro ingenuity during the day. Its presence inspiring the imaginations of all who see it, it stands tall as a symbol of what could have been, but never was.

While the inside of the rocket was interactive when installed at Burning Man, unfortunately at its current location ADA restrictions, as well as a containment breach of parasitic spider lancers that started breeding like crazy (according to an insider) have rendered the interior of the rocket currently off limits.

Update: The Raygun Gothic Rocket Ship is no longer installed the the Embarcadero; the temporary public art installation is now over. It was also set up at a temporary “Launch Pad” installation at a five-day city-wide event on Art, Science and Engineering in Calgary, Alberta, Canada called Beakerhead in 2013. During that time the inside was interactive.

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