Olson Kundig Architects’ [storefront], Seattle’s homegrown gallery for urban experimentation, has been overhauled once again. Last month, it was a music lover’s haven, rekindling the cultural narratives of the world’s fast-disappearing record stores by inviting visitors to browse through neatly filed vinyl collections and stage listening parties. Their latest experiment takes advantage of the city’s thriving coffee culture, taking the form of an indoor mushroom farm nourished by nutrient-rich coffee grounds salvaged by local baristas.
Together with CityLab7, a Seattle-based design collaborative, Olson Kundig Architects have created an interactive installation within [storefront] that includes an impressive mushroom-growing tent constructed out of salvaged plywood and plastic, and a gathering area for educational workshops, lectures, and community lunches, all centered around a twenty-foot-long table made of reclaimed timber. Visitors are invited to tour the cocoon-like tent and witness urban farming firsthand in the form of 215 oyster mushroom growing bags, expected to eventually yield over 200 pounds of mushrooms, all to be donated to programs that feed local families.
Visitors can also observe how repurposed coffee grounds from nearby cafes (including Starbucks) become the compost that catalyzes urban agricultural practices such as this one. As Olson Kundig explained, “When the installation concludes, the team hopes to have sparked new relationships within the community, fostered dialogue about new business practices such as localized urban agriculture as a viable food source, and demonstrated the role that individuals play in urban food and waste systems.” This will probably be the first year Seattle’s art crawls will include a mushroom harvest.
[All photos © Kevin Scott]