SHiFT

Seattle, WA
308 sq ft  

SHiFT is a rhythmic portal, for all wheels and walks of life to enjoy.

Guided by a group of creative volunteers on the move, SHiFT came forward with the challenge of how transportation fit into the Seattle Design Festival’s 2014 theme, DESIGN IN MOTION. The prompt was to lower the real and perceived barriers of urban transportation between those using cars, bikes, buses and feet.

SHiFT is a protected space for bikers, a visually stimulating screen to drivers, and a unique and beautiful urban element to pedestrians. It acts as a filter to allow for whimsical interaction. The installation was designed as an entryway for the weekend festival, but was also intended to exist long after in an area of shifting speeds within the city and right of way. The festival demonstrated our idea, with the ability of scaling it up to the scale of the city for perhaps the length of a parking space, city block or entire urban corridor.

SHiFT‘s form is directly tied to its materiality. The slatted Alaskan yellow cedar screens are an activator, filtering light, sound and action between zones of moving bodies. Alaskan yellow cedar, being native to the Pacific Northwest, is a resilient material for outdoor use and met the requirement for short term and prolonged use. Using computer modeling and a CNC router, we split each 1x12 plank to form two curved slats with no resulting waste. The wave form was derived from the frequency of notes in an ascending and descending Major Scale in music.

The various hues and levels of warmth caused from the sun’s reflection off of the yellow cedar is augmented by angular response to the form’s geometries. The various ambient conditions will always create a unique experience depending on one’s speed, height, mode of transportation and many other ephemeral factors, such as the slat’s geographical location, season of the year, time of day, and weather conditions.

Although the screens do not kinetically move, the passerby is encouraged to move and explore to realize the screen’s full potential. The wave form design succeeded in luring the public into questioning the world around them in a new way. We all shift and change throughout our daily commutes. Through interaction at varying speeds, SHiFT hopes to continue to create a whimsical, active and positive story between cyclists, motorists, and pedestrians.


Funding, engineering and logistics for SHiFT provided by KREKOW JENNINGS.

The following individuals or companies contributed talent, time, energy or other resources to make SHiFT possible.

SHiFT Participants

Design Team

Chloe Csadenyi-Benson
Robert Deane
Dylan Fuller
Steven Lazen
Veronica Park
David Witte

Krekow Jennings

Rik Adams
John Blackham
David Delfs
Steve Lohrentz
Todd Luff
Gene Templeton

Additional Volunteers/In-kind Contributors

Jack Blackham
Peter Blackham
Elliott Paint Company
Fa Sheng Temple
Fremont Brewing Company
Northwest Custom Interiors
Superior Stucco
Urban ArtWorks  (Kathleen Warren)

SDOT

Dongho Chang
Seth Geiser
Jennifer Weiland