Seattle Design Festival, Vacant Seattle
Designer: Daniel Robinson
Design Oversight/Consultation: Kristine Matthews, Nicole Fischetti, Marta Bernstein
Project Manager, Fabrication Consultation: Meg Graham
Through the tumultuous course of the pandemic, many small businesses across Seattle went under, and the city’s normally bustling downtown emptied of workers. This ‘great vacancy’ became an opportunity to consider how we might reimagine Seattle, allowing it to emerge as a more equitable city. Our Vacant Seattle installation for the 2021 Seattle Design Festival encouraged visitors to participate in this creative re-imagining. On the inside, visitors used stickers on a map of Seattle to flag what changes they wanted to see in neighborhoods across the city. On the outside, they ‘filled the vacancy’ with individual messages to their city. Seeing the installation populated with hundreds of responses over the course of the two-day festival was an inspiration. The installation was subsequently exhibited at the University of Washington’s Jacob Lawrence Gallery.
Vacant Seattle was inspired by the work of UW Architecture Professor Elizabeth Golden, who explored the concept of ‘The Great Vacancy’ in her own research.