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
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, with further versions due to be installed in the London Bridge area in 2016.