(Saul Sugarman/The Bold Italic)

Swooning over San Francisco’s Tetris house

In one of San Francisco’s historic neighborhoods, largely defined by Victorian homes in singular shades of pastel, one house stands out. Painted in blocks of lime green, aquamarine, deep plum, and seemingly every hue in between, the house looks almost pixelated, or as some neighbors have pointed out, like a giant game of Tetris. 

(Xavi Panneton)

In recent weeks, photos of the home have drawn strong reactions on social media, where commenters wrote “yuck,” “hideous,” and “I don’t get it.” But the naysayers appeared to be significantly outnumbered by fans. “We love San Francisco,” the online magazine The Bold Italic wrote in a caption with a picture of the house. “This is why it’s home.”

For the artist who took on the project last summer, Xavi Panneton, the idea of paying homage to Tetris was never on his mind. Instead, the homeowners hired him to “go full mural” and to be “bold and fearless with color,” he said. Panneton, who was a San Francisco resident for decades and now lives in Oregon, took inspiration from the home’s horizontal paneling, and custom-mixed each color in his studio.

The result is an amalgamation of San Francisco, old and new: classic architecture coupled with a vibrant, tech-y splash of rainbow. As Panneton described it: “minimalist design theory but in a maximalist way.”

“I take it really seriously as a designer when I’m doing something where you have to respect the architecture,” he said. “It’s about trying to put as much thought and care into the design so that it’s an honorable design, while being radical at the same time. And, you know, San Francisco does have a radical side.”

Amanda Ulrich is a journalist based in Southern California.

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