Maxwell Street Make & Shake

Street Furniture and Pop-up Workshop

2019 — Built

Furniture Design; Exhibition Design; Community Engagement

Collaborators: Leslie Baum, Borderless Studio

This project invites the public to celebrate the Jewish legacy of Chicago's Maxwell Street Market by hosting a design workshop to make-your-own lulav—a ritual object made up of four plant species, used by Jews to celebrate the fall harvest festival of Sukkot. Traditionally, the lulav is a bouquet of date palm, myrtle, and willow branches alongside a yellow citron. To commemorate the holiday and the bounty of the land, Jewish communities shake the lulav in each of the cardinal directions—north, south, east, west, up, and down—symbolizing how sustenance and the divine presence can be found all around us. Like the harvest that Sukkot celebrates, the Maxwell Street Market is a cornucopia of all kinds of goods, produce, and cultures. The Make and Shake workshop envisions a contemporary lulav for the American Jewish diaspora, made from plant species native to the Midwest and the Market's vendors.

A family of street furniture pods provide seating, bins for workshop supplies, and temporary work surfaces. In collaboration with artist Leslie Baum, visitors are guided to design and assemble their own lulavim, made from native species such as wild onion, prairie grass, corn stalk, and heirloom apples. A human-scaled, wobbling Lulav Placemaker broadcasts the workshop and invites visitors to use their whole bodies to shake the Lulav-inspired art object in all directions. After the event, the street furniture provides public seating for future happenings at the market.

Fabrication: Building Brown Workshop
Photography: Zack Morrison, Joseph Altshuler, and Paola Aguirre