As you can tell by the new bar that has appeared at the right of my posts, I have finally joined twitter! It took me a while to get to grips with WordPress so I get a feeling I will find Twitter just as tricky!
I thought it would be appropriate to do a twitter related post and after a quick search came across this great little idea…
This is the TweetingSeat by Chris McNicholl, an interactive park bench that creates both a physical and digital connection to its users. The bench has its own twitter feed, every time someone sits on the bench, a log is created and photographs from two cameras are taken of the users and how they interact with the bench and the environment.
I don’t know if the bench has its own wireless that allows others to sit on the bench and update their own twitter but I hope it does! This would be great as you can log your location on twitter and tell the world you are tweeting from the TweetingSeat.
More information on the TweetingSeat is available here.
Blogging about Berlin got me thinking about other trips I have been on in the last few years. My visit to Vienna last June instantly came to mind. The city was incredible, I have never seen a place so packed full of beautiful ornate architecture. We were lucky enough to be staying a short distance away from the MuseumsQuartier. This became my favourite place, each morning we would take a stroll down to the area and explore a different exhibition or gallery.
The images below show the courtyard space at the heart artistic region of the quarter. We were lucky enough to have brilliant weather so could spend a lot of time out in this space.
These benches in the courtyard are a brilliant addition. In my research I discovered that the benches are a regular feature of the space but that they often appear in different formations and each year change colour. Flipped over, the same pieces could be used as tables, incorporated into cafes as serving tables or used by school parties for art activities.
Lounging in the sun in these was fantastic. People watching, planning the day ahead or simply discussing what we had seen. The space was incredibly social, people happy to share the seats and as places became available they were instantly occupied by someone new.
The courtyard itself is surrounded by a number of art museums, all of different architectural styles and containing different types of art.
For more information about the MuseumsQuartier click here.
I went to Berlin over a month ago and I am still finding ways to incorporate my findings into my MA research. I took a lot of images of interesting features on the streets of the city. This mirrored and a similar exercise I did in Manchester and I have to say the results were rather different.
The above images show some of the more run down elements on the street. Although they have become rather neglected and could do with being cleaned up I still feel they have a huge amount of value. The design of the objects is interesting, bright and colourful, appropriate to the current trends at the time of their inception, with I slight tweek I can see theses pieces being equally as relevant today. The seating is clever in their separation along a solid base and the angular bike racks are great, if looking a bit dull at the moment.
These benches show the more modern side of the city. The pieces really reflect the space that they are in. Materiality, form and construction have all been considered to fit their context and create something, beautiful and long lasting. Hopefully these pieces will date as well as their older neighbours above.
It isn’t just street furniture that has opposing styles throughout the city. From graffiti and posters to something as simple as the materials that cover the ground, within a small space in the city, there can be a number of different urban personalities and clashing styles. This makes the city exciting, you never know what you are going to come across next.
I loved my time in Berlin, I would go back immediately if I could!
Since looking at free running I have been considering other forms of sporting activities that could occur in a public space. Skateboarders and BMX riders instantly came to mind.
The Bench below has been specifically designed to prevent skate boarding. Although the bench is beautiful I cant help but dislike the idea that its purpose is to prevent something that can bring joy to so many. The bench is called the Zipper Bench and is by WXY Architecture + Urban Design.The bench in the image below does the exact opposite of that above. Its purpose is to aid grinding. Its form is simple, elegant and purposeful.
In my study of Architecture a key idea that was often engaged was that of an ‘active frontage’. The idea was to create a self policing space by surrounding a space with functions or activities. By surrounding the bench below with activities the use of the bench in the middle should be limited to non-threatening pursuits. Groups of kids hanging around and vandalising the area should be reduced. Instead people are given a space to gather and have fun with the urban sports they enjoy, but as they are surrounded by other people going about their everyday lives they should be less inclined to misbehave.
The bench above is from a range of ‘Skateable Furniture’ by Tom Hawes. Hawes himself states “The design of public spaces needs to respond to the uses of it by the public. If young people are using these spaces for positive activities like skateboarding, then the design of these spaces needs to evolve alongside these new uses, not discourage and criminalize, alienating and socially excluding the youth.”
I have begun to develop an obsession with interesting street furniture and today this example caught my eye. By Maruja Fuentes the recycled plastic tessellating shapes can be used to create different patterns for leaning and sitting or individual seats. The panels are simple, low cost and come in many colours.
The number of urban spaces I can think of that these would be great in is almost endless! They would be fairly unobtrusive and could be erected simply and quickly. I particularly like the contrast of the clean white lines of the seats against the graffiti background in the example photograph.