Inaugural Downtown Denver prototyping festival launches Saturday; showcases how community-led design, art and technology can transform public spaces

July 22, 2016

The Downtown Denver Partnership and Downtown Denver Business Improvement District announced the 2016 Downtown Denver Prototyping Festival today, an interactive event where nine local designers will unveil prototypes designed to transform public spaces, and showcase how participatory design, art and technology can create connections and greater ownership of public spaces and how they are used. The prototypes will be on display on the 16th Street Mall and Curtis Street from July 23 through 31, including the final weekend of Meet in the Street on July 23 and 24. The community is encouraged to interact with each prototype and provide feedback on their experience. The Prototyping Festival is produced in partnership with the City and County of Denver. 

Community members spanning all walks of culture, practice and discipline were encouraged to submit creative proposals for the Prototyping Festival that were sustainable, engaging and created a unique sense of place along the Mall. 34 prototype submissions were received from the community in May. Accepted submissions, determined by a committee of Downtown stakeholders along with staff from the Partnership and City, received a stipend of up to $2,500 to support project creation and installation. 

“We are focused on ensuring public spaces in Downtown Denver, including the 16th Street Mall and its adjacent streets, are authentic, self-sustaining places supported by the entire community,” says John Desmond, executive vice president of downtown environment for the Downtown Denver Partnership. “The Downtown Denver Prototyping Festival is a great opportunity for the community to directly engage with our public spaces by experiencing and interacting with the prototypes to discover first-hand how these works can transform the Downtown environment and experience.” 

Descriptions of each prototype are listed below, and additional details and conceptual designs can be viewed on downtowndenver.com. Photos will be available upon request beginning July 25.

Aperture
Sort Studio, Meredith Dale and Brian Dale

Aperture offers a contrast to the bustling environment of the 16th Street Mall by creating an inviting infrastructure for people to relax in an urban beach hut under a framed view of the ever-changing Colorado sky accented with dynamic patterns of light and shadow.

Iridescence
Fentress Architects, in association with Piedmont Plastics and Steel Storage Systems, Inc.

Iridescence brings giant plastic prisms (ranging from 3 to 6 feet tall) that reflect light to create rainbows, enhancing the sense of place as both a 3D piece of art as well as a unique seating area.

Mile High Mosaic
Emelia Jost, Worth Group Architects and Myka Works

Mile High Mosaic is a dynamic installation that explores the materiality, color and texture of “Colorful Colorado” by inviting visitors to touch and engage with screens constructed from wallcovering samples.

Peak1six
Shears Adkins Rockmore Architects

Peak1six invites visitors to explore the mountains in the heart of Downtown Denver, offering a uniquely visual experience that transports visitors to the mountains while immersed in the center city.

Pseudopod
Inworks

Pseudopod, inspired by the trumpet fungus mushroom, invites you to take a seat on this user-configurable bench that can be configured in hundreds of distinct iterations, and enjoy the unique lighting and joyful oddity it brings to the urban landscape.

Rainbow Street Seating
Nick Fish, Yong Huang, Tony Yue, AtelierHAY and WorthGroup

Rainbow Street Seating creates layered and abstract shaped seating that encourages interaction to transform pieces to create unique urban topographies that function as a street playground, a concert stage, a place to meet up and more.

Treeflexion!
Dig Studio, Ryan Sotirakis

Treeflexion! embraces the urban tree canopy of the 16th Street Mall by providing a unique space to linger, interact with others and “look up” to appreciate the essence trees bring to the Mall.

Urban Mall Diorama
META, Herb Kindsfater

Urban Mall Diorama Pass creates an environment of stillness and a platform to heighten awareness of the spatial experience.

Wheels Go Round
Kate Davis Studio

Wheels Go Round leverages spinning bicycle wheels to hear their distinct and unexpected sounds and an opportunity to stand and create a unique urban symphony.

The Downtown community and visitors are encouraged to engage with the prototyping festival by interacting with the prototypes and providing feedback through a passport program. Passports will be available at the Em’s Ice Cream cart on the 16th Street Mall between Champa St and Curtis St. Participants are asked to record their impressions of the installations on the passport to receive a free scoop of ice cream from Em’s Ice Cream.

The Prototyping Festival is a component of The Mall Experience, an ongoing collaboration between the Partnership and the City and County of Denver. and involving the Regional Transportation District, that aims to bring more people to the Mall and encourage them to stay longer. Analysis of Meet in the Street, including the Prototyping Festival, will help hone in on long-term changes to the Mall and adjacent sites following an initial report and recommendations from Gehl Studio released earlier this year. Meet in the Street is presented by DaVita, and produced by the Downtown Denver Partnership and the Downtown Denver Business Improvement District.