Heart Deco & The Phoenix

An evolving creative project based in the San Francisco Bay Area from 2010 - 2016. Building community through art, music, performance, and creating extraordinary moments for people.

Heart Deco (2010 - 2012)

In May of 2010, artist Adam Ebel bought a classic open-top double-decker British bus and brought together a team of engineers, friends, and creatives to build an ambitious mobile art and sound installation. With only 8 weeks until their final deadline they got to work transforming this former San Francisco sightseeing tour bus into something extraordinary. With a large loudspeaker system that was adapted to the vehicle, and a focus on modular design with both daytime and night-time affordances, the number of considerations and logistical challenges were significant. The team  also set a high bar for design, materials, safety, and other considerations, and established ambitious design goals. Throughout the course of these projects the team learned many valuable lessons, especially what it means to invest in the creative process when you are doing things that have never been done before.

The Phoenix Redesign (2013 - 2015)

In 2013, Adam presented a new vision for the project to the team, and they agreed to push the boundaries of what's possible by redesigning the project from the ground up. It began with the core build team (Justin Grant, Alex Nolan, and Adam Ebel) in design meetings and planning sessions, defining project milestones, scrutinizing renderings, gathering the necessary equipment, raw materials, tools, and other needed supplies. Alex and Adam began work on an elaborate “exo-frame” around the vehicle — a network of welded steel rectangle tube from the chassis up (and throughout) the top deck to provide additional support under heavy weight loads and other stress factors. Justin began constructing a massive aluminum & stainless steel Phoenix along with a dozen steel faux-flames. Another area of intense focus was developing a modular assembly on top of the vehicle to attach an array of aesthetic elements. While Adam was focused on building out the front and rear faces of the vehicle, and the lighting systems. After many months of planning and construction the new exterior design was complete and it surpassed everyone's expectations. For the next few years the project was very active, organizing local events and participating in large-scale events in San Francisco, Treasure Island, Oakland, NYC, and Nevada.

In 2015, after 5 years of pioneering mobile art, music, and community in the Bay Area and beyond, it was time for the team to take a break and the Phoenix project went on hiatus.

Resurrection (2016)

In 2016, Heart Deco & the Phoenix was resurrected for a historic event on Treasure Island. They teamed up with old friends the Disco Space Shuttle for “Terminus: the last Treasure Island warehouse party”. It was held at the legendary Building 118 (also the facility where the Phoenix redesign happened) which was a historic art and creative facility that was targeted for demolition by the city of San Francisco to make way for redevelopment on the island. The event was a massive success.

In early-2017 the decision was made to sunset the project, and subsequently all of the projects assets were donated to artists and organizations who were identified as worthy recipients. And while this magical projects adventures may have ended, many great new projects have sprouted from former members of Heart Deco & The Phoenix.

Special Thanks

Much love and gratitude to everyone that contributed to Heart Deco & The Phoenix over its 6 years of active service. The list of names is far too long at this point, but extra special thanks are due to the remarkable individuals that joined us each year. We were lucky to have had such dedicated, skilled, and awesome people along for the ride, and without whom none of these adventures would have been possible, and not nearly as much fun.