Designer: Karen Cheng and Kristine Matthews
Location: Seattle, Washington, USA
Award: Professional Notable
Change Elevators, Paccar Hall, University of Washington
This installation reflects upon the dynamic relationship between business and change. The word 'CHANGE' appears inside two elevators, along with 18 synonyms. Each synonym is highlighted with actual loose change (an international coin). On each floor, the word CHANGE is modified by an exterior word, creating six unique word pairs.
We thought that the donor's intent (to celebrate business and its impact on society) would be best served by an installation that would say something significant about the nature of business. We wanted to find a concept would endure over time (throughout the life of the new building), but we were afraid of "preachy" and obvious ideas and themes (i.e., concepts about business leadership, the importance of innovation, etc.). Given the large student audience, we also wanted the installation to be playful -- to be something that people of all ages and cultures would relate to and enjoy seeing every day.
The "CHANGE" concept actually grew out of our desire to incorporate actual "loose change" (coins) into the fabric of the installation. During the design phase, the bankruptcy of General Motors was very much in the news, and several business school faculty members commented on the radical changes facing this iconic American company. We realized that the theme of "CHANGE" allowed us to pair the physical material of coins with a universal business concept -- the need for companies and corporations of all kinds to adapt, transform and embrace change in order to survive.
Core77: What's the latest news or development with your project?
There isn't any latest news or development on this particular project (it is pretty much finished), but we may do another design installation in another UW Business School building that is currently under construction. The CHANGE elevator installation has been very well received.
"Everyone is really identifying with the CHANGE piece. The words outside each floor are being memorized. Thus, when one is inside the cab and the door opens, a glance outside the door tells you what floor you are on! More important, my colleagues are delighted with it. I think it makes a wonderful statement for the School, presented in a witty and humorous way. Very well done to you and Kristine. And the execution is excellent."
- Roland E. (Pete) Dukes, Durwood L. Alkire Endowed Professor of Accounting, and Project Manager, New Foster Facilities, Foster School of Business, University of Washington
What is 1 quick anecdote about your project?
There was a lot of debate and discussion about what word pairs to use, featuring "CHANGE". We were quite fond of "CHUMP CHANGE", but it didn't make the final cut!
Also, initially we were a little stumped by what to do on the library floor, because it is entirely covered with carpet and the stone tiles only extended a few feet beyond the elevator doors.Â Then Mark Reddington (the LMN architect who designed the building) came up with the idea of simply using a question mark and an exclamation mark for that floor. So it reads: CHANGE? and CHANGE!
Read on for full details on the project and jury comments.