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Top off our 50th: And the winner is…

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Seattle native’s “trees” design nets most votes in Space Needle’s #TopThis roof contest

SEATTLE—The votes are in! Seattle resident Nicole Commins will be the first person to ever have their personal design painted atop the roof of the iconic Space Needle. In a contest that drew more than 100,000 votes, Commins’“trees” design was the public favorite and, as a result, will adorn the Space Needle’s roof from October 2012-April 21, 2013. Painting will begin just as soon as weather permits.

Part of the Space Needle’s ongoing 50th anniversary celebration, a call for designs was issued on August 21. After review by a panel of internal judges, the top designs were posted to the Space Needle’s website for public voting on September 28.  The public had through midnight on October 20 to vote for which design should adorn the roof of Seattle’s iconic tower. The finalists represented 4 general categories that were common to the hundreds of initial entries:

  • Galaxy Gold: The retro orange hue currently topping the Space Needle struck a chord with countless calls, largely from Seattleites, for it to remain.
  • Nature: From fish to trees, clouds and rain, there were numerous designs celebrating the natural surroundings that make the Pacific Northwest unique.
  • Pacific Northwest heritage: The history of the region was a theme for many. It took the forms of music, Native American art, technology and nods to local visual and performing arts.  
  • 50th anniversary: Adaptations of World’s Fair memorabilia and designs inspired by nostalgia and people’s first interactions and memories of the Space Needle also made up a large category of contenders.

Nicole Commins, 29, is a self-taught freelance graphic designer, who lives and works in Seattle.  She found out about the roof painting contest from her father, after he read about it while riding the train from Edmonds to Seattle and suggested that she enter.  She grew up in Edmonds and attended Shoreline Community College.

In her entry, Commins described her inspiration as “THE EMERALD CITY!  Luscious green, as far as the eye can see.  Such a beautiful state we live in.  Having traveled to many different parts of the world, I can truly say that Seattle is one of the most beautiful cities that we live in.  The city is inspiration in itself. Picture our cities beautiful skyline, with its unique Space Needle, painted a top, beautiful, vibrant shades of green.  And what kind of green what you ask? TREES of course!  Beautiful Evergreen trees, as if you were standing in the middle of one of Washington’s state parks, looking up to the tree tops!  And what better foreground to have before the mighty Mt. Rainer in the background of this lovely scene besides trees?  Trees within our beautiful city. A stand out amongst Seattle’s, all too well known, grey sky. “

The design will adorn the roof through the Space Needle’s 51st birthday, on April 21.

About Space Needle

In 1959, an unlikely artist inspired by the Stuttgart Tower in Germany was sketching his vision of a dominant central structure for the 1962 Seattle World's Fair on a placemat in a coffee house. The artist was Edward E. Carlson, then president of Western International Hotels. His space-age image was to be the focus of the futuristic World's Fair in Seattle, whose theme would be Century 21. Carlson penciled the shape that would become the internationally known symbol for Seattle, the Space Needle.
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