These creative projects have brought a fresh perspective to the connections between art, public places, and community development, maximizing impact on cities around the globe this year.
Our team has been inspired by these various initiatives and the global placemaking community, ranging from eco-friendly solar benches to developing family-friendly urban areas in France to the lively revitalization of neglected public spaces in the USA.
Check out some of our top picks here!
“A Solar Powered Bench That Spins Ever so Slowly” is a collection of benches that does just that. Like graphics from the Flower Power era, this activation makes a statement about the future of public infrastructure and what energy sources can be used for.
The retro look, brought to life with today’s sustainability values and solar harvesting, gives the illusion of a garden of flowers when viewed from above.
“The Arches,” created by Collectif Parenthèse, is an initiative that aims to enhance the urban environment for children.
The project focuses on the theme of “the city at child height” and is located in the Arceaux district of Montpellier. One of the challenges faced by the area was the lack of a clear separation between spaces for different modes of transportation and public gathering spaces.
This temporary activation provides a solution for the community while the area undergoes development. With a focus on the community’s children, “The Arches” features swings, motor skills courses, and a misting area, creating an inviting environment to encourage community engagement.
Bringing digital creativity to the streets of Montreal, Yoshi Rotten’s SOLEIL consists of 365 images of the silver sun reflecting the colours of its surroundings. Coloured by hand with digital tools, each SOLEIL brought the beautiful reminder that time exists only at that moment.
In Hungary, Hello Wood presented the “Garden of Communities” at the heart of Veszprém.
This pavilion, constructed of planters, each containing a sapling, celebrates the unity and cooperation of the 116 municipalities in the Veszprém-Balaton region.
The uniquely shaped planters create a spectacular exhibition space open to all. The contrast between the geometric architectural forms and the vibrant greenery establishes an enchanting atmosphere, drawing visitors to explore the pavilion.
The duo’s signature bright palettes and graphics adorned colourful geometric sculptures, encouraging interaction and engagement. Inspired by the city’s diversity, their installation invites visitors to play in all areas of the garden. Capturing the dynamic energy of old and new, “PRISMATIC” reshaped this urban landscape into a bright, interactive canvas.
Collaborating with One Hat One Hand, artist Leah Rosenberg brought vibrant, durable metal benches to Mercy Housing in San Francisco.
Drawing from their prior collaboration on the ‘Everywhere A Color’ installation, these benches merged functionality with artistic expression. The result was a visually engaging public art that encapsulated the artist’s intentions while bringing joy to the community.
Our final top pick from 2023 is “Mirror Gate” by Argentinian Artist Pilar Zeta, located in Giza.
This artwork serves as a portal connecting the past, present, and future, standing against the backdrop of Egypt’s pyramids. As part of the third edition of Forever is Now, Pilar’s piece was constructed from diverse materials and engages viewers in a ritualistic experience.
“Mirror Gate” encourages introspection and a connection with ancient energy, serving as a symbol to foster a deep connection with the past while moving towards an elevated future.