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Energy at the Midtown Public Market

en∙er∙gy [en-er-jee]

the capacity for vigorous activity. exertion of vigor or power. vitality and intensity of expression. a source of usable power. the force driving and sustaining activity. enterprising or ambitious drive.

activity. verve. intensity. renewable. drive. force. power. vitality. initiative. enthusiasm. work. spirit. passion. reaction. stamina. effectiveness. juice? strength. efficiency. endurance. potential. friction. dynamic. current. solar. geothermal. wave. hydro. desire. resilient. determination. pep? perseverance. capable. kinetic. competence. ability.


Energy is the essence of life. Defining energy can be difficult due to the multi-faceted nature of the term. I perceive design to be the culmination of energy. Design supports activity, begins with passion, strives to be efficient and so on. Observing energy can be interesting as well as provocative.

The Midtown Public Market is a great place to observe the nature of energy and examine how design can influence energy. My visit to the Midtown Public Market had been my first; however, immediately I became engaged. The people, the music, the food (especially the fresh produce), the art. The colors, the smells (mmmm the smells), the sounds (music and people). What I liked the most was being able to come into connection with the people who had, in some way or another, a direct involvement with the production of the goods sold throughout the market. It’s more personal. I have lived in a suburb most of my life and have only been exposed to the larger scale supermarkets (e.g., Cub, Byerly’s, Kowalski’s) and shopping centers (e.g., Target, Marshall Field’s). Since coming to the University and living, being exposed to the city more often, the atmosphere feels different. In places like the Midtown Public Market I see the connection of the community and it’s much more natural in comparison to the warehouse style shopping experiences back home. The energy is in the people, the connections being made and the transactions (both monetary and information) taking place.

Creating Energy in the Midtown Public Market.
As a consumer…
• Interact with vendors. Ask questions. Where do they farm? What inspires their creativity (artists)? How much does this cost?
• Interact with other customers. “Your girlfriend would love these flowers?. “Which one do you like better?. “I was looking for something like that, where did you find it??.
• Examine the goods. Are the tomatoes ripe? How fresh are the lilies? Would my brother like this? Touch, feel, weigh, taste, smell, try, play. How much does it cost?
As a designer…
• Create spaces that allow for and facilitate social interaction.
• Provide dynamic circulation throughout the space.
• Create by observing what already happens and needs to happen.

Using Energy in the Midtown Public Market.
Had trouble separating the using from creating and exchanging. Let me re-visit this and come back to it later…

Exchanging Energy in the Midtown Public Market.
• Buy something.
• Help someone carry their items to their car.
• Converse with someone, tell them a story, or be a listener.