The Shared S(h)elf Project - CODAworx

The Shared S(h)elf Project

Submitted by Isha Patel

Client: Creating Connections Competition

Location: Dallas, TX, United States

Completion date: 2024

Artwork budget: $3,000

Project Team

Designer and Manager

Isha Patel


Designer and Manager

Pavithra Sriram

Design Co:lab


Award-Winning The Shared S(h)elf Project Combats Loneliness

The Shared S(h)elf Project, a creative endeavor designed by Placemark and Design Co:lab, leverages interactive design to combat urban loneliness. This award-winning installation, measuring 8×8 feet, utilizes sustainable materials like repurposed yarn, wood, and paper to foster community connections and encourage interactive participation.

Key features of the installation include yarn bombing, origami stations, and a novel gift-sharing box, designed to engage participants in shared creative activities that promote presence and interaction. Easy to assemble and scalable, The Shared S(h)elf can be adapted and replicated in various urban settings worldwide, making it an ideal model for enhancing public spaces.

This project not only won the People’s Choice Award at the Creating Connections Competition in Dallas but also set a benchmark for how art can be used strategically to enhance community interaction and combat social isolation. Through its innovative use of tactile materials and play-based elements, The Shared S(h)elf invites people from all walks of life to engage with their urban environment in meaningful ways.


The integration of commissioned artwork into The Shared S(h)elf Project was central to its design ethos, particularly in leveraging art therapy to engage the community. The project's primary goal was to use artistic activities to encourage people to pause, reflect, interact, and engage with each other, thereby combating urban loneliness and fostering deeper connections.

Incorporating art therapy activities, such as yarn bombing, origami folding, and interactive writing exercises, the installation provided a creative outlet that promoted mental well-being and social interaction. These activities were carefully chosen to be accessible and appealing to a diverse audience, ensuring that everyone, regardless of their artistic skill level, could participate and benefit.


The collaboration process for The Shared S(h)elf Project was a testament to teamwork and innovative thinking. This project was brought to life through the collective efforts of designers, CNC tech experts and volunteers. At its core, the project utilized just six CNC-cut plywood sheets, allowing for a design that championed no-tool, no-glue assembly with self-locking and supporting joinery. This approach not only streamlined the installation process but also emphasized sustainability and ease of replication.

The assembly of the project was completed in just six hours in Dallas, a feat that underscored the efficiency and practicality of our design choices. This rapid build was possible due to meticulous pre-planning and the seamless integration of all team members' expertise. Artists and craftsmen worked alongside designers to ensure that each component not only fit perfectly but also served its intended interactive purpose.

Throughout the process, communication was key. Regular meetings and updates ensured that everyone was aligned with the project's objectives and timelines.

Additional Information

The Shared S(h)elf Project was more than just a public installation; it was a movement towards addressing urban loneliness through interactive and tactile experiences. Central to its theme was the use of playful and tactile materials like yarn, paper, and wood, which were chosen not only for their sustainability but also for their ability to foster hands-on engagement. These materials invited passersby to touch, create, and interact, transforming a simple act into a shared, communal experience. This project was meticulously designed to encourage people to pause in their busy lives and connect with others in a meaningful way. The inclusion of elements such as yarn bombing and origami stations added a layer of whimsy and accessibility, making art therapy approachable and enjoyable for individuals of all ages and backgrounds. Each component of the installation was crafted to support not just the physical interaction, but also to create emotional connections among community members, thereby directly combating feelings of isolation. Through The Shared S(h)elf Project, we aimed to demonstrate how public spaces can be transformed into hubs of creativity and interaction, ultimately fostering a sense of belonging and community.