Crate Space: Milk Crate Installation

Installation Nation images-01Installation Nation images-05Installation Nation images-08

Crate Space- a playground installation


This installation is based on three elements: the value of play, transforming the commonplace, and a celebration of typography as art. The project consists of 200 color-coded milk crates held together with cable ties and anchored with steel tent pegs. The crates are used to build 6 sculptures that together form an interactive gathering space. Some crates are also kept loose for free play and building.
The milk crates are configured into:

  • a large three panel sign which spells the word JOY. These panels form an amphitheater and help define the space of the piece
  • a large activity table
  • a tall cocktail-style table
  • a large yellow couch
  • a bookcase/library
  • a small herb garden
  • several chairs and stools
The project is sturdy, can be reconfigured depending on the space it is installed in and is highly interactive. The goal is to create a welcoming space where people feel free to play, interact, relax, read, or simply hang out.

Celebrating Play

This piece is a temporary built space, a pop-up playground. It creates a place that invites and celebrates play. Ray Oldenburg, in his book The Great Good Place writes about the importance of “third spaces”- places to gather besides work and home. He writes that these spaces are vital to community building. This piece serves as a sketch for how these can function. The work is playful both in the way that it is constructed and in the interactions it enables. It fosters an open, collective spirit, to be enjoyed by everyone, adults and children alike.

Transformation of the Commonplace

One of the highlights of this piece is its celebration of the humble building material- the milk crate. Why milk crates? I volunteered in the kitchen at Second Helpings in Indianapolis, an organization which provides meals for people in need. They use milk crates for storing and organizing. I wanted to use a material which could be repurposed after the installation and donated to Second Helpings.

I have found milk crates to be endlessly configurable. I’ve even created a very handy standing desk with them. This installation shows a few possible configurations, and it will be interesting to see what people come up with on their own.

Celebration of Typography 

 My work centers on two modes: grid-based color gradient paintings and interactive typography sculptures. This piece grows out of both ways of working. The modular nature of the crates and their specifically chosen colors mimics the paintings, while the JOY amphitheater forms a large-scale typographic sculpture. My goal is to celebrate lettering as an artform- we see this artistry all around us and I would love for people to take notice of it in their daily lives.


I believe that is a fun, interactive and colorful installation. The multihued blocks stand out in the outdoors and the piece is welcoming and accessible. The choice of the word JOY is deliberate: the piece is intended to have a sense of exuberance and generosity. Anyone can take part in it. The colors are attractive and create a playful and creative atmosphere.



Installation Nation images-10Installation Nation images-07Installation Nation images-09    Installation Nation images-02Installation Nation images-04