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Lucky Penny

AB Design Studio

Shared By

Angela Cook

Project Name

Lucky Penny

Project Status



  • General Contractor: Young Construction

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Project Description


Sitting among the warehouse-type structures in the heart of Santa Barbara's Funk Zone, sits the Lucky Penny. Aptly named for the facade, which adorns over 15,000 pennies glued and grouted to the exterior walls, the Lucky Penny facade is the first of its kind in Santa Barbara and perhaps the western state. The inspiration for this project came from the collaborative effort of the ownership, the design team and the community. This small building was once the ICE BOX for the Castagnola Fish Company and we always referred to it as the Jewel Box. For months, the team discussed what could be done with this building. What should it be? How should it relate, or not? In the end, the restaurant purveyor suggested using Pennies. We all laughed and then queried about this possibility.

The fabrication of the penny wall at Lucky Penny turned out not to be for the careless or the OCD-prone. Wall assembly was a six-month community effort involving Funk Zone-local after school arts program that volunteered their labor in exchange for Lucky Penny contributions to their nonprofit organization.

"To create the penny tiles, we reached out to local non-profits to assist in an "art project" in which coins were glued by hand onto 12-inch-square plastic mesh sheets. Those sheets then were applied to the building with epoxy mastic and thin-set mortar, just like conventional ceramic tile," Lucky Penny managing partner says.

Today, the Lucky Penny is more than a local eatery. It has become a tourist attraction and a place that people take pictures of and with. It is part of the Funk Zone and is part of the community and is enjoyed by people of all ages.
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