Sit and Sip at the Intelligentsia Parklet in Logan Square


Our newest parklet—a miniature community space with native grasses, public seating and bike parking—is up and running next to Intelligentsia Logan Square. As new members of the Logan Square Community, we wanted to do our part to add recreational space for pedestrians and bikers, especially as the summer sun hits in early June.

Inspired by PARK(ing) Day, this modern micro park occupies street space instead of sidewalk space. This placement allows foot traffic to pass with ease down busy Milwaukee Avenue, while also giving the stretch the benefits of a patio. Except this patio isn’t just for Intelligentsia or any one business—it can be used by anyone who happens to pass by.

“There’s not a lot of community space on this block, so it’s nice hospitality for people to have somewhere to enjoy the sunshine,” says Krista Kane Witzig, Retail Manager at Intelligentsia. “It’s open to the community, so anybody from nearby businesses can hang out and enjoy it as well. People love it.”  

 Design of seating area naturally shields bikes from the elements

When designing the parklet, we wanted to do more than create space for people to linger while visiting the square. We wanted it to be safe, practical and beautiful, too. To comply with accessibility requirements, the parklet is flush with the sidewalk, supporting entry for wheelchair users. To protect all patrons from the elements and passing vehicles, the parklet wall serves as a barrier; no one wants to get drenched by a puddle due to a fast moving car. We wanted to avoid a solid, all one-height barricade, so we varied the heights to allow for both park-users and drivers to be able to glimpse the street from their respective POVS. By alternating heights and staggering seating (some high top; some low lounge) with planters, we didn’t install a visual stopper toward streetlife, but hoped to add to it.
Sketches show the parklets development from raw concepts to detailed models

For the design itself, we wanted to compliment Intelligentsia’s minimalist, ultra modern palette, while staying true to our own preference for natural materials. The result was a bold, linear silhouette complimented by native grasses and a sturdy aluminum frame with cedar decking that stand up to the elements—cedar is naturally resistant to rot. The structure was fabricated by Standard & Custom (check out gif below). To add to the city’s stock of bike parking, lock-up posts are available on the side of the parklet, partially concealed from the elements.

The parklet is open to anyone, not just Intelligentsia patrons!

Enjoy a gif of the parklet’s fabrication