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The 16th Avenue Tiled Steps Project

The 16th Avenue Tiled Steps Project in S. Francisco consists in 163 steps built in 1926 and from 2003 covered with mosaic tiles thanks to the idea of the neighborhood residents Jessie Audette and Alice Xavier.

The artists Aileen Barr and Colette Crutcher dedicated their experience to the creation of the step risers designing a sea-to-sky pattern, where at the bottom is water and fish and towards the top one can reach the leaves, the birds and the sky.

16th_avenue_tiled_step_project_water_detail Water - Detail of the 16th Avenue Tiled Steps, S. Francisco
16th_avenue_tiled_step_project_sun_detail Sun - Detail of the 16th Avenue Tiled Steps, S, Francisco










Although the work has been done by professionals with high-fire outdoor tiles, more than 300 people were involved in the realization of the 163 panels through the workshops held by the artists themselves. The project was also supported and sponsored by dozens of enthusiasts, who even offered their personalized pieces, like small animals, that were embedded in the mosaic work.










The entire project was inspired by the steps of Santa Teresa (Rio de Janeiro), made by the artist Jorge Selaron, who in 1990 used the colours of the Brazilian flag to cover the 215 steps with a myriad of tiles from all over the world.

Selaron_Stairs,_Rio_de_Janeiro,_Brasil Selaron Steps, Rio de Janeiro

However other famous steps influenced the 16th Avenue Project, among them there is the Scala steps of Caltagirone in Italy, made in 1606 to connect the old and the new town, it is a 130 meters long flight (142 steps) decorated with locally handcrafted majolica. Every summer for the patronal feast thousands of candles arranged to create a tapestry of fire are lit to give life to a couple of hours of show of wonderful lights.

The then-mayor of Caltagirone Francesco Pignataro was among the many attendees at the inauguration of the steps in 2005, when the project was completed.