Update: Sunnyside Neighborhood Sign

March 17th, 2013 by Bill

While Stites Design works primarily in the electrohuman powered transportation world, there are sometimes opportunities to stretch the working field and express designs in a fresh medium.

Here are some photos and updates on how the Sunnyside Neighborhood sign has progressed. It is designed to present a kinetic effect with it’s rotating sunflower. The visual effect of the counter-rotating spirals is hoped to provide a mesmerizing outward radiation of the light passing through the sunflower.  And it will be rain driven, not wind driven.

This sign will be sited in Portland, OR.; on the southwest corner of SE Stark Street and 33rd Ave., on the property of Laurelhurst Village.

A gracious thank you goes out to Valerie Garrett, who has hand-painted this sign.  With her color talents, and my work in metal and construction, we are a great team from Sunnyside.



Partial Sign with Steel Banner for lettering

We placed a couple of small lamps behind “Sunnyside Neighborhood” to show the cutout letters.  When the sign is installed, natural light will provide the background illumination.


Laser cut steel flower – approx. 36″ diameter

This front portion of the flower will be mounted on a central bearing to allow easy rotation.



Fixed Steel Spiral – with rotating flower laid down

The fixed spiral in the background will be bolted to the painted wood portion.  Note the water cups on the rotating portion that is laid down in the foreground.




Laser cut steel flower over spiral background

Here the flower parts are juxtaposed as they’ll be mounted.  The Rotating Flower is hoped to be rain powered.  The water cups on the back of each petal will generate force to gently rotate the front spiral clockwise.




Laser cut steel sunflower, with 36 water cups welded on

We’re trying to catch enough water to slowly spin when it’s raining.  There will be a rain catchment system along the top edge of the sign, then funneling water into the cups … that’s the theory anyway.




Close up of water cups, one on the back of each petal

The water cups are made from 1 x 2 rectangular tube that has been chopped into 1″ pieces.  The ‘bottoms’ of the cups are rectangular plates welded at the four corners.  Each cup is then welded onto each petal – all 36.




Sneak Preview – with steel banner and flower

This is probably the closest approximation to the final look we could assemble.  The flower parts will be green in front, and purple or yellow behind – which do you think?

There will also be a steel trim around the whole wood portion, and this trim – along with the ‘steel banner with lettering’ – will be allowed to rust and take on an earthy brown color.  This should bring it all together and ‘ground’ the sign.

The big question is when will it be finished?  We are hoping for a May opening, but still plead for ‘artist privelege’ on timing.

Thanks to everyone in the ‘hood for their patience.  I recently moved my shop out of the neighborhood, and we are still in transition.

I still live in Sunnyside, and really looking forward to taking walks past the sign … especially when it’s raining.


One Response to “Update: Sunnyside Neighborhood Sign”

  1. Nora says:

    It looks great, Bill! (I like yellow)

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