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 in Seattle WA 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 gathered 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.