double happiness – mammoth // building nothing out of something

double happiness

Bureau de Mesarchitecture’s “Double Happiness”, an installation for the 2009 Shenzhen-Hong Kong Bi-City Biennial, is described by the architects as a piece of “nomad” “urban furniture”, allowing users (who presumably own a forklift) to “reanimate” and “reappropriate” the public spaces of their cities, which, despite the obvious deficiences seems to me an appropriately ambitious aim for the design of street furniture.  Who wouldn’t care to occasionally swing suspended a story above Broadway (a series of these marching past Times Square might serve very well to liven up the now-permanent pedestrian plaza), or to sway gently while watching crowds meander past the White House?  Even those unable or unwilling to climb the platforms could share vicariously; I’m reminded of the small crowds which often formed in the parking lot on the site of the former Washington Convention Center this past summer and fall to watch the trapeze school which had set up shop in one asphalt corner.

But, as Stephen suggested to me earlier today, it’d be rather more interesting if it wasn’t merely an innovative piece of furniture, but an architectural device for hacking billboards, as the post and frame’s form gently suggests — a modular package of guerilla playground equipment.  Bands of roving swingers might snap them onto billboards under the cover of nighttime darkness, then sway child-like in and out of the harsh glare of the bulbs spotlighting advertisements, before melting back into the city with their illegal swings, waiting for the next spontaneous reconfiguration; the posts, railings, poles and signs of the city the armature of their playground.

[image and link via Archiact; update: see Yes Duffy’s Urban Swings project, via Luke Perry in the comments]

3 Responses to “double happiness”

  1. That looks incredibly fun!

  2. luke says:

    it is cool. check out the urban swings at they did just this in SF….

  3. rob says:

    Thanks for the link, Luke. That’s almost exactly how we imagined it…