Conversation Wall was designed for Umpqua Bank’s new South Lake Union store as a temporary installation to engage the local community and celebrate the bank’s recent opening.
South Lake Union is one of the fastest growing neighbourhoods in the US. At such a pace, a community barely has time to shape itself. How can a community bank talk to a community that’s not yet a community? The Conversation Wall is an opportunity to identify what matters to people. After all, our conversations shape our economy.
An illuminated sign invites passersby to fill-in-the-blank: ‘We want to have a conversation about ____’. Participants can text conversation topics to complete the phrase. Categories for submission help frame a relevant conversation, keeping topics centred around the area where everyday life and banking overlap: Growing, Making Connections, Finding Balance, Thinking Ahead, and Succeeding. Each of the submissions is displayed on the wall in real-time, sharing everyone’s views publicly and calling out to everyone to contribute.
We also created postcard size calling cards for Umpqua staff to use – when meeting people around the neighbourhood, or as a thoughtful moment to end a tour of the new bank space. The cards are another way to ask neighbours, ‘What kinds of conversations should happen here?’. A wall inside the bank displays the hand written messages.
Over the course of the 2 month long installation, we’re gathering all of the submissions to curate a series of events based on community interest. This Conversation Series is currently in progress. South Lake Union friends, stay tuned.