Counter Rotation for One Taylor Street Transit Center, in Montpelier, VT is a collaboration between Gregory Gómez and Rodrigo Nava.
The team of Gómez and Nava created the sculpture from two distinct parts: a carved, granite bench and a split-flap counter. They are connected both formally and conceptually. Designed to be equal parts, they engage visitors of the Transit Center. Working together, they highlight the History of Commerce and Transportation in Montpelier, along the Winooski River. The sculptural elements remind and edify visitors of early local histories, and offer intriguing information, through simple technologies.
Located on an exterior covered plaza of the Transit Center is a six-foot diameter carved granite round bench, the features suggesting a millstone, such as those used in mills that had been along the Winooski and North Branch Rivers. The smooth bench has spots for visitors to sit, and can be pushed around, by two or more visitors, in a clockwise manner. A single brass circle is mounted flush on one of the smooth rises between the seats. When the round bench is pushed one revolution, the brass circle passing true North, (marked by an “N” on the floor of the exterior plaza) a switch is activated on the split-flap counter. This is located on the wall immediately adjacent to the bench.
Split-flap signage has traditionally been used in train and bus stations, and has stood the test of time for durability in busy public locations. Here, too, the Transit Center sign is visually and audibly exciting, with cascading numbers and letters. Rather than announcing arrivals and departures however, the 16-character split-flap sign delivers cryptic graphic information to visitors. With each revolution of the bench, the sign presents one of 20 different messages. These represent local history and culture, images from Indigenous people, science and math images, and short poems by four Vermont Poet Laureates. This website serves as a description of the distinct graphic messages that are revealed with every turning of the granite bench.