Winner selected for Minneapolis Convention Center’s Creative City Challenge

(MINNEAPOLIS) — March 6, 2013 — The Minneapolis Convention Center, City of Minneapolis and Meet Minneapolis, Convention & Visitors Association, proudly announce INVIVIA + urbainDRC and their project, MIMMI: The Minneapolis Interactive Macro Mood Installation, as the inaugural winning project for the Creative City Challenge – Art in the Plaza. The creative team will receive a $50,000 all-inclusive fee to design, create, install and uninstall the project in the convention center’s plaza on Second Avenue South by early June and will inhabit the space for the duration of the summer.


The Creative City Challenge is an annual two-stage competition for Minnesota architects, landscape architects, urban designers, engineers, scientists, artists, students and individuals of all backgrounds to create and install a temporary, interactive, site-specific, eco-focused ‘portal’ to the City of Minneapolis on the Plaza of the Minneapolis Convention Center that would draw residents of the city to the Minneapolis Convention Center as a central meeting space for the surrounding area. Achieving these objectives will encourage further exploration of downtown and other areas around the city.


“The MIMMI proposal puts the convention center’s green roof/plaza in the public eye in a unique way,” said Lisa Goodman, Minneapolis City Council Member, Ward 7.  “It is not just a spectacle that will engage and delight the community; it will be an asset in our ongoing efforts to make downtown Minneapolis, this public plaza and the Loring Park neighborhood yet another destination for families, residents and visitors.”


MIMMI will really activate the plaza space and, we think, will get people to explore all the great things that Minneapolis has to offer,” said Jeff Johnson, Minneapolis Convention Center executive director.


MIMMI itself is an emotional gateway to Minneapolis bringing residents and visitors together to experience and participate in the collective mood of the city. In an age when we can be instantaneously connected with one another virtually, while simultaneously distanced from those closest to us physically, MIMMI seeks to challenge this paradox and unify the virtual and physical layers of our community by using technology to visualize the city’s collective moods in a new way, while also reinforcing serendipitous gatherings under the installation. MIMMI is a large, “cloud like” inflatable balloon suspended from a slender structure hovering 35 feet above the ground and visible from blocks around the Minneapolis Convention Center. It collects and reflects the aggregate mood of Minneapolis, through abstracted colorful light displays and climatic behavior depending on residents' emotions. Whether the city is elated following a Twins win or frustrated from the afternoon commute, MIMMI reflects these fluctuations. Everyone can enjoy MIMMI's company and both watch and participate in her changing behavior while enjoying the city and connecting with new places and people!


"As Google CEO Eric Schmidt stated 2010, today we are generating in two days more information than in the last 5000 Years of human history,” said Mona El Khafif, Associate Professor of Architecture and head of the URBANlab at California College of the Arts and jurist for the Creative City Challenge. “Most of this information is in digital format and creates through social networking tools like Facebook and Twitter a new form of digital public spaces and interfaces. Our cities will be more and more influenced by real time data and digital spaces. This is a paradigm shift that challenges the traditional physical city and its reality. MIMMI is a good example of a merger of these two different worlds into a hybrid public space."


“Interaction in public spaces is challenging. How do we get strangers to engage with each other in a meaningful way, to share a sense of ownership towards such a space?” said Melissa Mongiat, Daily Tours Les Jours, a  interactive Montreal Design Firm, and jurist for the competition. “MIMMI is a remarkable experiment in this direction – it creates a spectacular meeting point animated by participants and the city.”


The winners were selected from a shortlist of five finalists chosen selected through a public voting process which took place on the Minneapolis Convention Center’s Facebook page. The finalists then were invited to develop their proposals for presentation to a jury and the winner was selected on how well the project included each element of the evaluation criteria.


“The MIMMI proposal is a spectacular first project for the Creative City Challenge competition,” said Gulgun Kayim, director, Arts Culture and Creative Economy, City Of Minneapolis. “The program is intended to highlight and showcase the talents of our creative community and the local young architects on the winning team now have an exciting new platform to display their talents.”

Members of the winning creative team are:

·         Brad Cantrell

·         Jack Cochran

·         Carl Koepcke

·         Artem Melikyan

·         Allen Sayegh


Biographies for the five winning team members are located here:


The jurists for the competition were:

·         Thomas Fisher, Dean, University of Minnesota School of Architecture and Design

·         Robert Hunter, Minneapolis Art Commmsion member and Architect at James Dayton Design

·         Lisa Goodman, 7th Ward Council Member Minneapolis City Council

·         Erica Prosser, Policy Aide, Mayor’s Office

·         Mona El Khafif, Associate Professor of Architecture and head of the URBANlab at California College of the Arts

·         Melissa Mongiat, Daily Tours Les Jours, a  interactive Montreal Design Firm


More details on the project from the winning entry are here:


Minneapolis city partners for the Creative City Challenge include the office of Mayor R.T. Rybak, Minneapolis City Council and the city coordinator’s office. The goals of the Creative City Challenge are driven by the new direction of the Minneapolis Convention Center and the City’s efforts to celebrate the creative assets of Minneapolis, aim to draw attention to the City’s natural and creative assets and attract new talent to the area.



Image of a model of MIMMI: The Minneapolis Interactive Macro Mood Installation. Credit INVIVIA + urbainDRC.



Meet Minneapolis is a private, not-for-profit, member-based association. It actively promotes and sells the Minneapolis area as a destination for conventions and meetings, works to maximize the visitor experience and markets the city as a desirable tourist destination to maximize the economic benefit of the greater Minneapolis area.



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Kristen Montag, media communication manager, 612.767.8038,, Minneapolis_PR on Twitter.