Guerrilla public street furniture

Oliver Show, a young German artist, took on what he saw as “the commercialization of public space” with a daring, inventive project in the German city of Hamburg, according to Architizer.   Using flexible, yellow drainage pipes, Show turned bike racks, safety rails and more into cushy seats.  His ingenious guerilla art project has won the former architecture student a design award from the HFBK Leinemann Foundation for Education and the Arts.

The artist, Oliver Show, says that “the interventionist and experimental approach to me is more important than the quest for ‘a perfect product.”  His work is underscored primarily by its use as an empowerment tool.  Using cheap, durable material, Show’s work aims to “reclaim public space for the public.”

The sculptural, flexible seating areas are created by wrapping yellow drainage pipes around the city’s existing infrastructure including bridge trusses, bike racks, handrails and trees. The material is low-cost and weather-resistant, and its bright colour enables it to stand out among the largely neutral hues of its surroundings.

When urban spaces are designed to prevent people from getting too comfortable – a problem that could be partially solved by coming up with some creative solutions for homeless housing – they perpetuate a cycle of constant motion that keeps city residents from pausing to notice, enjoy and interact with their surroundings. If only urban planners would take more cues from artists, and from the very people who use the infrastructure they design.


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