Coffee Pot Pergola

Lake City Neighborhood
Seattle, WA

Funding Source: Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs & Seattle Department of Transportation

Lake City is a Seattle neighborhood known for its fast food restaurants, eclectic shops, car dealerships and fast-moving traffic. Behind its flashy façade, however, lie deep ravines with native vegetation and salmon-bearing streams. Lake City also has a rich past as an idyllic retreat for weary urban dwellers. The artist imagined campers drinking coffee around a campfire at the artwork site where currently resides a bustling cafe. These and other real and imagined inspirations evolved in the mind's eye of the artist and resulted in this local landmark and outdoor eating venue.

The artist was part of Seattle Department of Transportation's Lake City Way Multi-Modal Improvements design team. He chose the site, worked with the design team to lay out paving and planting areas, and created construction drawings to incorporate into SDOT documents. The artist partnered with community leaders and residents to identify the best-loved aspects of the community and to evolve their expression.

The theme of cars and bustling transportation is reflected in the shiny curves of the piece, inspired by the curves and fins of automobiles from the 1940's and 50's. The hidden natural areas of Lake City inspire the plant-like tendril structure.

Another theme, the celebration of the cross-cultural social ritual of drinking hot beverages, comes from a desire to inspire togetherness among people of the many cultures in the neighborhood. Nearby cafes supply the needed beverages to make the space function as intended. The design process included neighbors from many cultures who provided handwritten samples of writing in their language that the artist transformed into welcoming words embedded in the paving.