We’ve been making customized bike racks and site-specific furnishings for years, but I’m pretty sure this is the first time we’ve fabricated cats.
The Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon (FCCO) in Portland is a great volunteer-based, veterinarian-founded organization that takes in thousands of stray cats every year from around the region for spaying or neutering, all at no charge. They’d originally wanted a couple of standard Sol bike racks for their their new building, but realized during planning that it was also an opportunity to get their message out to the neighborhood in a friendly, playful way. So this is what they had us build instead:
The racks (which work just like a typical Sol rack) are instantly recognizable as cat faces, but with a unique detail: the flat-topped ear on one side is what’s called an “ear tip”, and it’s a standard indication that a stray has already been spayed or neutered. So in a way, the racks help spread the word about spaying and neutering without saying a word.
Because we do all of our fabrication here in the US, Huntco is able take on all kinds of custom orders, often on short notice and based on simple, straightforward descriptions from the client or architect.
Besides being a lot of fun for us — who wouldn’t want to fabricate an enormous cat face out of powder-coated steel? — they also add unmistakable character to the streetscape, and help organizations announce themselves in a way that’s a lot more approachable and distinctive than another sign or billboard.
This project was in Portland, but people are looking for secure, functional bike parking in cities all over the US. Here’s hoping more of it has a face that makes you smile.