Community Focus: Soofa Benches








An interesting project that Miller IDS touched in our shop is the Soofa Bench, a project for the Office of Sustainability of the City of Austin. The Soofa Bench is a “smart bench,” and the bench has a built-in charging station powered with solar panels for mobile devices. It is BYO-USB cable, otherwise you are good to go, or shall we say good ON the go!

The benches were designed by three graduate students from the MIT Media Lab and the Harvard Innovation Lab. Currently the City has installed Soofa Benches in the Seaholm Eco-District, a lovely, grassy community hub tucked away north of Cesar Chavez, south of West 2nd Street and east of the former Seaholm Power Plant, which now houses numerous businesses including Honest Food, Trader Joes and UnderArmor Wired.

Austin is one of the cutting edge cities on the forefront of this device, included with Boulder, Boston and Jersey City. And it makes sense for Austin; as a community that values the outdoors but remains connected to our devices, what a great city to test our abilities to “rethink Austin for a bright green future.”






To read more on the Soofa Benches in Austin go to Our tiny part at Miller IDS was to create the aluminum labels that explain what the smart bench does. We thank the folks at Office of Sustainability for thinking of us!


Featured Artist: Shannon Fannin

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” -C.S. Lewis

Meet this month’s featured artist, 20yr Austin resident and fine vehicle artist, Shannon “Shan” Fannin.  Over the last two years, she’s painted classic cars from the 1930s to high performance supercars like the McClaren P1 and plans to paint motorcycles as well.

Shan’s paintings are a mix of realism, expressionism, and abstraction.  Each of her paintings captures the form of the vehicle, and she plays with distorting the reflections in the body.   

 ‘1951 Chevy Pick Up Truck’ is the piece that really says ‘Shannon’.  She says, ‘A bit of my personality went into this piece. We share a bit of chaos, cheer, and vibrant vitality. This painting makes me happy. I hope it does the same for others that see it.’

Shan believes that Life has a way of waiting patiently until you are ready for your purpose.  Shan always wanted to draw and paint as a child. As a teenager growing up in San Diego, she took advanced art classes and juggled working six days a week to help support her family. Patiently, Life waited 25yrs for her to come back to her art. Her husband suggested going back to art and her supportive instructors at Austin Community College taught her to create what made her happy. 

Shan became fascinated by the expansive car culture, stories, people, and history of the vehicles when she and her husband purchased and restored a 1961 Ford Thunderbird.  At an artistic level, she marveled at the abstract reflections in classic chrome and the complex tonal values of modern vehicle bodies. 


Shan had her first solo exhibition at the prestigious Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance 2016 where she was commissioned to paint an award winning vintage Lamborghini Miura. In June, her 1961 Mercury Monterey painting took 1st place at Texas State University BIG Show. She flew to England over the summer to attend the Goodwood Festival of Speed in order to photograph vehicles for future paintings. Her paintings have been in venues throughout Austin including Austin Bergstrom International Airport, the statewide Art Hop competition, and numerous publications. She is represented by a northern California gallery, and is currently seeking further representation nationally.

Shan is available for commissions and her work can be purchased through her website. You can socially find her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.