Park(ing) Day 2011: “Plastic Bag Shack”

Inasmuch as Park(ing) Day highlights wasted urban spaces, so too did our choice of material and spatial concept—an ethereal volume of light created by discarded plastic sacks. The project also made a timely nod to Seattle’s plastic bag ban of 2012!

Some 600 sacks were gathered (a month’s worth of shopping by employees of a medium sized office), sorted by color, and snipped of their handles. Using a household iron, we placed the bags between sheets of wax paper and melted them together into long rows. We then ironed the rows together, forming a large “quilt” of sacks. By folding the quilt and ironing the sides together, a large sausagelike form was created, with a door on one end, and an attached air tube (also made of plastic sacks) that attached to a household box fan. When switched on, the fan provides enough atmospheric pressure to keep the structure inflated.

Inside, users experience the street in a new, intimate way. While opaque to the street scene, the interior is filled with light through the translucent bags. Car traffic and street activity can be heard and felt as air rushes by the enclosure.