The Seattle Design Festival Block Party is a two-day fun street fair visited annually by 30K+ people of all ages, sizes, and abilities to celebrate the powerful ways design affects our lives. This event presents an opportunity for the design community and the public to come together and interact through large-scale design installations, performances, and design activities.
I led the design & execution of an interactive installation - '(re)wall' in response to the festival's 2017 theme: 'power' to educate visitors about sustainability & recycling. After the festival, the installation was customized for Google.
(Re)wall is a 20 by 40 feet custom light brite designed using un-usable plastic bottles. One side of the installation remains static with "power" written in bold text, giving visitors a perfect backdrop for their power poses. The other side is a dynamic lite brite, constantly evolving with visitors writing or drawing their own creations, or modifying those of other visitors.
We need plastics. What we don't need is plastic waste. Today humans are making more new plastics than we’re disposing of, causing a rapidly growing threat to our environment with no good solution to this problem. Our vision was to engage in a public dialogue about the 'power' of a circular future in which the very concept of waste doesn’t even exist.
No single company, organization, or government can tackle the challenge of creating a circular future alone. This demands collaboration across industry, society, policymakers, businesses, and consumers to deliver the resources and capabilities to accelerate systems-level change. Our goal was to connect with visitors of all ages at a deeper level, while making the installation bold, sustainable, and fun. After brainstorming several ideas, we decided to build a wall for visitors to reflect on what 'power' means to them and collaborate to create a giant lite brite using plastic in recycled and regenerated form.
Visitors use the backdrop to strike a power pose & reflect what power means to them.
Visitors collaborate to create a huge lite brite by interacting with plastic in a recycled and regenerated form
The best way to reduce waste is to design it out of sustainable products from the start. Once we finalized the concept, we experimented with materiality to discover an interactive product that is sustainable, free, and abundant. I collaborated with Recology Cleanscapes, one of Washington's largest sustainability leaders and waste management facilities. We visited their recycling plant to learn the recycling process firsthand, and find the right interactive material for the installation.
The interactive materials used in the installation are 100% recyclable and unusable plastic bottles that haven't been stamped with branding - common in everyday life but rarely seen in their recyclable form. We gathered over 6000 bottles and turned them into a 20' x 40' lite brite.
Over the next few weeks, we iterated multiple physical and digital prototypes for the lite brite. This was a combination of 3D modeling, laser cutting, and hand sketches. We also designed a wooden wall framework to support this giant installation on-site.
Our installation was a huge hit & defined the power of collective effort & sustainability at scale. It was extremely successful in creating public engagement while capturing the curiosity of all the user types and ages - from a 2-year-old kid to an eighty-year-old adult! After the installation, the lite brite was customized and installed at Google.