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Giant Tricycle Doubles as Bike Parking and Public Art at City of Columbus Public Utilities Department

Anne Evans Anne Evans Giant Tricycle Doubles as Bike Parking and Public Art at City of Columbus Public Utilities DepartmentFun and functional public art at the City of Columbus Public Utilities Department. Photo by Tim Lai of Tim Lai ArchitecT.
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A giant red tricycle has appeared at the City of Columbus Public Utilities Department located at 910 Dublin Road.

The new piece of public art doubles as a bike rack for the facility and was designed by Tim Lai ArchitecT.

“We love the fact that these bike racks will be installed at different Recrecation Centers, to be enjoyed by the broader public,” says Eliza Ho, Principal at Tim Lai ArchitecT.

Tim Lai ArchitecT submitted two designs, Dreaming Big (a.k.a The Trike) and Visionary (a.k.a. The Glasses). Through online voting, The Trike was selected to be fabricated and installed.

Eliza Ho next to The Trike. Photo by Tim Lai.

Eliza Ho next to The Trike. Photo by Tim Lai.

The bike racks were installed September 29th through October 1st.

“They are a long-term public art project and we hope that they will be up for at least as long as other, similar park infrastructure,” says Lori Baudro, Project Coordinator for the City’s Planning Division. “The Pilot Art Bike Rack Program was initiated with the Columbus Art Commission in 2013 in partnership with the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department. It predates the Mayor’s Executive Order to create a public art program.”

The program was inspired by Downtown Nashville’s successful art bike rack program.

“Those involved with Nashville’s Metro Arts Program were very generous in sharing materials and information with Columbus,” says Baudro. “Our program was a pilot project. Now that it’s finished, we’ll talk with project stakeholders to get their insight and perspective on how it went and how it could be improved if it’s decided to do a second round.”

Four different bike rack designs were installed at nine community center locations throughout the city, as well as the Public Utilities Department. Jeff Anderson, a Landscape Architect and Parks Development Specialist, managed the fabrication and installation phases.

“Tim and I enjoy seeing unexpected art dotting the city,” says Ho. “I think these bike racks, including all the other chosen designs, are nice additions to enrich our built environment.”

The Columbus program did a city-wide call for artists living and working in Columbus and fourteen artists responded, with eight proposals advancing to the voting stage.

Ho shares their vision behind The Trike:

We enlarged the trike for its playfulness, something people will find fun to look at, to sit on, and to use. The inspiration behind The Trike is to play up the fact that a trike doesn’t need a bike rack. The Trike is red because it’s a primary color and a symbol of energy and vibrancy.

Ho and Lai would love to see more art bike racks built around the city and Baudro agrees, although if another round is done, she says the call for artists may be expanded to state-wide.

“We’re really pleased with how they turned out,” says Baudro. “I’d say that if we did it again, I’d hope for stronger artist interest.”

Photos by Tim Lai.

For more information about the art bike racks, visit https://columbus.gov/planning/publicart/bikeracks/.

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