Oliver Schau

Cities looking for new ways to spruce up their public spaces might consider this idea, from Hamburg.

Spring is here, and with it a new round of ideas for making public spaces more appealing. In 2009, New York City installed 376 beach chairs in Times Square

And last summer, Oliver Schau brought us “Street Furniture,” a series of impromptu public seating areas that sprouted into being through the wrapping of yellow drainage pipes around Hamburg’s existing urban infrastructure. The low-cost, weather-resistant and highly flexible plastic cushions turn bridge trusses into recliners, bike racks into loungers, and safety rails into sofas. Moreover, the bright yellow accents brought attention to the commercialization of the city’s public space.

Schau’s ingenuity won the former architecture student a design award from the HFBK Leinemann Foundation for Education and the Arts.

“The interventionist and experimental approach to me is more important than the quest for a ‘perfect’ product,” he tells Der Spiegel. Schau’s Street Furniture presents itself as a tool, an empowering design concept that has been almost effortlessly realized. The emphatically lackluster nature of his material draws attention to the resourcefulness of its application. His squishy yellow pipes tactfully reclaim public space for the public.


All images courtesy Oliver Schau.

This post originally appeared on Architizer, an Atlantic partner site.

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