John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
The "Buurbecue" acts as the food-grade grease that gets friendly chitchat rolling.
This yard-bridging grill would be kind of annoying if your neighbor was a jerk and kept bogarting the bratwursts. But I guess that's the point of the people who made it: Too often we don't know our neighbors, even when squeezed up against them on tight city blocks. So why not make an effort to see who they are?
The "Buurbecue," crafted by Amsterdam marketing firm Natwerk, acts as the food-grade grease that gets friendly chitchat rolling. It's a grill that straddles a backyard fence so that each neighbor can attend to his own ribs and veggies or, in this weirdo assemblage, hot dogs and fish. Conversing would be natural when facing a fellow grillmaster like this. Unfortunately, so would toppling off such a ladder-mounted stove. Being pelted with hot meat and burning coals – haha, two buddies could talk about that for hours!
About the origins of the Buurbecue, which will not be cloned by Weber anytime soon, the designers write:
At Natwerk we believe that brands can win the hearts and minds of their clients, fans and customers with their behaviour or actions. And that's exactly what we practice. We celebrated the summer season with a little exercise. So we asked ourselves: 'What would we do if we were a brand in barbecuing utilities?' Here's the Buurbecue or NeighBourBQ, breaking down social walls while enjoying the most popular outdoor activity, because this summer we're doubling the fun.
As far as I know, the above Buurbecue is the only one in existence. But you can make your own using two 10-foot ladders and a large tray full of glowing charcoal. That's another thing to talk about with your new best friend: whether you both have fire insurance.