This installation is a unique collaboration between art and business—two distinctly contrasting disciplines at the University of Washington. The School of Art, Division of Design was commissioned to develop a permanent installation for Paccar Hall, their new campus neighbor and the home of the UW Foster School of Business. It’s not a typical place to find a permanent installation, but it takes full advantage of the everyday movement of elevators to create a unique reflection on change.
The installation reflects on the dynamic relationship between business and change. The word “change” appears on the floor of each elevator, along with 18 synonyms (adapt, innovate, transform, etc.). The synonyms are each highlighted with actual loose change, international coins that hint at the diversity of the UW Foster Business School as well as the global nature of business. The word “change” inside the elevator and the related words outside the elevators are rendered in Trade Gothic stainless steel letters embedded in the granite flooring.
Working closely with both the architects and the client, the designers knew at the outset that they wanted to create a piece that was integrated right into the fabric of the building. The last thing anyone wanted was a traditional approach: creating an artwork that would be wheeled into the atrium at the last moment. The Change elevators were certainly a fabrication challenge, but with everyone on board wanting to get it right, the result is very special.
The word “CHANGE” appears on the floor of two elevators, along with 18 synonyms (ADAPT, INNOVATE, TRANSFORM, etc.). The synonyms are each highlighted with actual “loose” change (international coins that hint at the diversity of the University of Washington Foster Business School as well as the global nature of business).
As the elevator moves from floor to floor, the interior word “CHANGE” is modified by another word just outside of the elevator, to both the front and back:
Floor 5: I CHANGE / YOU CHANGE
Floor 4: LEAD CHANGE / MANAGE CHANGE
Floor 3: EXPECT CHANGE / EMBRACE CHANGE
Floor 2: LOCAL CHANGE / GLOBAL CHANGE
Then on Level 1 and the basement, the elevators open in the opposite direction, putting CHANGE first:
Floor 1: CHANGE IDEAS / CHANGE LIVES
Basement: CHANGE ? / CHANGE !
Faculty member Pete Dukes said, “Everyone is really identifying with the CHANGE piece, and the words outside each floor are being memorized. Thus, when one is inside the cab and the door opens, a glance outside the door tells you what floor you are on.”
Carryiing the “change” theme even further, synonyms for change are each highlighted with actual “loose” change (international coins that hint at the diversity of the UW Foster Business School as well as the global nature of business).
Close and early coordination with LMN Architects and Sellen Construction group was a great advantage as the elevator flooring specification could be changed to match the stone tiles planned for the adjacent floor areas. This allowed a visually seamless solution between inside and outside the elevators.
Dean Jim Jiambalvo noted: “My colleagues are delighted with it. I think it makes a wonderful statement for the School, presented in a witty and humorous way. And the execution is excellent.”