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Artsy Manhole Covers Coming to Mercer

You may have noticed the big silver thing that went up on Mercer and Boren about a week ago. The 28-foot tall cylinder of stainless steel is called Origami Tessellation 324.3.4 (Fractured). Well, there's more art work is coming to the Mercer Mess by the same Seattle artist, Ellen Sollod: benches, tiles and even manhole covers.

Sadly, no pictures are available but Calandra Childers, Communications & Outreach Manager at the Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, sent this email describing them.

The stone benches are influenced by boat forms as park is so close to the water. They are concave on one side and convex on the other and feature rough-hewn backs, referencing coal and lumber. The granite has a cleft (or rough) finish on the convex side and has cleft details on the top surface; the rest of the bench is hewn.

Mosaic Inlay - "Lost in Thought"
As South Lake Union becomes more pedestrian-oriented, the streets will fill with the cacophonous noise of traffic, trolley bells, and sundry conversation. All the while, pedestrians will amble along sometimes noticing what is around them and other times being oblivious. "Lost in Thought" captures the sense of being alone in a crowd. The colorful inlays will present three vignettes of human and animal silhouettes with thought and speech bubbles that incorporate punctuation marks as stand-ins for text, allowing the viewer to complete the thought.

Hatch Covers - "The Web"
The manhole cover design refers to the many industries in South Lake Union involved in new technology and biotech as well as the network of the city itself. The web has long been associated with the internet, the "world wide web", medicine, the "web of life", and the interconnectedness of systems the fiber optic network and the electric grid. The design references an alternate "web" for the city.

As for the sculpture, which has creases as if it's been folded up (like origami), Childers said it's based on something called. Tessellations. It's the process of creating a pattern formed by the repetition of geometric shapes. In an interview on the Office of Arts & Culture Affair blog, Sollod said she was inspired by the biotech going into the South Lake Union area:
I was interested in speaking to the future of SLU and was struck by the growth of biotech and high tech. At the same time, we have the newly improved SLU park. So, I was also interested in talking about nature. Fractal forms are common in nature, science and art. A tessellation is a repetitive pattern, like a fractal. So my goal was to speak to all three and this form seemed right.
· New Mercer Street art installation inspired by South Lake Union biotech [Komo News]
· Huge new sculpture on Mercer [Lake Union Beat]
Kery Murakami