In the latter half of the nineteenth century downtown Minneapolis was one of the most active flour-milling districts in the nation.But by the late-twentieth century the mills were gone. In 2002 the City of Minneapolis began an archeological effort to uncover this history. The result was Mill City, a ruins “park” which exposed the vast network of locks, dams, tunnels and machinery of this great enterprise (see photo).
All of this history came to bare when our clients asked us to create a fireplace/television area in their condominium, whose many 8’ tall windows overlook the Mill City ruins. They appreciated the history of their surroundings and encouraged our interest in creatively incorporating that into the project. They wanted this to be a centerpiece in their home and gave us full creative control.
Taking cues from the ruins and the client’s collections of “steampunk” sculpture and furniture, we imagined this fireplace/television area as some sort of machine uncovered during the City’s archaeological dig. Per their request the machine is oriented to allow visual access to those in the kitchen and living areas. Cranks on the machine allow the TV be tilted and rotated as needed. At night the machine’s right-hand crank mechanism is visible from the street where it appears as a backlit sculpture in harmony with its surroundings and history. Built by Friberg Industries, Photos by Ken Friberg and Paul Knutson