Inspired by the many deckchairs that inhabit Toronto's Kew and Balmy beaches during the summer, SlingSwing seeks to reinstate the colour, movement and function they provide, within a winter context.
The elements of a traditional deckchair, a canvas sling and a frame, are reconfigured to provide users with an enveloping shelter from the winds and to create a fun, comfortable, meeting place, suspended above the icy sand. The slings are clustered together to trap pockets of air within the layers of canvas, and to bring people together to keep warm.
From afar, the colourful canvases evoke a sense of summer warmth and beach nostalgia, whilst the breeze continuously animates their forms, bringing movement and dynamic colour to the winter landscape. The bright orange of the canvas was inspired by the life-saving paraphernalia attached to the stand, both as a reference to stand's function, and to act as a warm, contrasting beacon within the frozen landscape.
Fresh Air Squares, London, 2015, ongoing
The portable micro-park replaces two standard car parking spaces, to provide urban greening, public seating, and air quality monitoring functions.
The approach was to create a singular sculptural seating element around which zones of planting and small pockets of public space could occur and overlap, encouraging passers-by to stop and gather. The resulting interwoven seating and planting provide a buffer zone to the busy road, and create an organic extension of the pavement. Materials are low cost and off-the shelf, with the bench and base elements constructed entirely from standard scaffolding boards.
The parklet also houses an air quality monitor that feeds real-time data to an app and website designed by Kings College London, forming part of their wider network of air quality data collection points within London.
This first parklet has been delivered as part of the Team London Bridge ‘Fresh Air Squares’ initiative, supported by the Transport for London Future Streets Incubator fund. Additional benches were installed in and around the London Bridge area in 2016-17, with further versions and configurations planned for 2018-19.
NEC Birmingham, 2018
The project marks the first collaboration between WMBstudio and Make Liverpool, a collective of makers, fabricators and artisans. Based in warehouses in the north docks of the city, the space offers local makers flexible workshop and collaborative space.
Commissioned by Spanish timber product manufacturer FINSA, the project is an exhibition stand for the KBB 2018 event at Birmingham NEC, and is part of their push to directly connect designers, manufacturers and makers, and to further develop the concept of the fourth industrial revolution.
Conceptually the installation is conceived as a piazza containing a freestanding inhabited wall. On the piazza facing side, the wall presents a three-dimensional sculptural colour swatch, composed of a selection of colours, textures, woodgrains and veneers taken from the wider FINSA product range. Panels are arranged as two gradients that alternate and intersect, juxtaposing colour with texture.
The triangular cladding modules are rotated to create variations in light, shadow and depth, and encourage alternative perceptions of the surface finishes. On the rear side, the wall is carved to form three niches, each housing a prototype kitchen, with an additional opening acting as a threshold between the two sides.
The wall structure is crafted from raw redwood timber sections, contrasting with the factory-finished panels, and celebrating the elemental base material of all FINSA products.
Prefabricated for re-use at other trade events around Europe, the design is intended to allow full re-purposing of all elements – The coloured triangular ‘pixels’ will be converted into stools and benches for local organisations, whilst the structural cubes will be re-configured to form a shared tiered seating and presentation space within a new co-working space, close to FINSA's UK head office.