Client: City of Palo Alto
Location: Palo Alto, CA, United States
Completion date: 2016
Artwork budget: $26,500
Public Art Agent
City of Palo Alto
The City of Palo Alto launched a creative seating pilot for three sites along the retail corridor of University Avenue featuring Colin Selig’s eco-friendly sculptural seating, repurposed from scrap steel propane tanks. The benches are comfortable, durable and contain 99% post consumer reused content.
This project was spearheaded by Public Art Program Manager Elise DeMarzo, who wanted to replace rotted wood slat benches with something more interesting along the commercial section of University Avenue at the intersections of Brynat, Waverley and Emerson. In a press release she stated “The Public Art Program is thrilled to bring Selig’s whimsical and environmentally sensitive seating elements to downtown Palo Alto. The public has voiced a desire for something unexpected and different, and we hope that the businesses and the public will enjoy Selig’s work.”
Representatives from the Public Art Program, the Department of Public Works and the Downtown Business and Professional Improvement Association visited the artist's studio to see samples of the artist's seating and confirm its comfort and durability. In collaboration with the artist a set of five seats were chosen for the three installation sites. The specific designs selected by the committee are contemporary riffs on seating from the victorian and mid century modern eras.
The artist has done extensive research to ensure the comfort of his seats. The combination of curved seat and curved backrest provides good lumbar support for a wide range of body sizes, an ergonomic advantage over traditional benches with flat seats. The whimsy in his work engages people of all ages and backgrounds while its durability and inherent ecological message make it ideal for the public realm. The artist's hope is to inspire others to consider new possibilities for reusing materials.