Your City. The place you inhabit, work in and contribute to… just like your home. Or, is it, really? Can you treat streets as an extension of your living room, or are they hostile conduits you negotiate hurriedly merely to reach your destination or avail goods and services from? Yes, events like the annual ‘Equal Streets’ in Bandra, Mumbai attempt to help us do just that – reclaim our city’s streets from the traffic and chaos to use them to do what we like. But, installing street furniture is the more permanent urban intervention that is likely to attract citizens to spend time on the streets and make them their own. Furniture for the street, unlike that for a home or workplace, needs to be strong, rugged, sustainable and easily replaceable, in addition to being attractive and user-friendly. Out of an exhaustive range of wonderfully designed pieces from all around the globe, here is a sampling of some which are brilliant in their simplicity and sustainability. The list also includes some attempts being made to reclaim and reorganise messy and chaotic city spaces in our own seemingly impossible country. These are hacks that help us own our cities again, making their streets, pavements and squares attractive and inviting enough for us to linger on a while…..
Neon signs, fantastical light shows and videos playing out on enormous screens that actually are the faces of buildings have come to be the hallmark of most big or iconic cities of the world; their lit-up city-scape silhouettes inextricably fused with their names and identities. Media facades and LED displays have moved beyond just their Vegas or Broadway definitions to become a ubiquitous aspect of any modern city-scape. The way a building is lit up at night has become a part of its design process and an integral aspect of its aesthetic, giving rise to terms such as ‘mediatecture’. And, even further, building facades are lit up on occasions to convey an opinion or a point of view, to express solidarity with a cause or with people affected by an event, as in the case of the Paris Attacks, or simply to commemorate a historical event or celebrate a festival. These facades have animated buildings which were just mute spectators thus far with their imposing yet stoic presence into expressing, informing, marketing and entertaining on a mega scale.
This October witnessed the joy of St+Art urban arts festival spreading colours across the streets of Bengaluru for the very first time. International and national Street artists gathered in Bengaluru, to paint the town red with their creativity, flooding its streets with murals, installations, performances, talks and screenings. From Cubbon Park to MG Road to Majestic Metro Stations, art centres were formed in startling public spaces, attracting a diverse crowd, to experience an eccentric form of art celebration. The festival, saw the works of 12 prolific Indian urban artists along with 4 influential international artists. The lineup of artists included Appupen, Aravani Art Project, Baadal, GuessWho, Shivo Shiv Suleman and Ullas Hydoor from Bengaluru itself. The works of well-known artists, Daku, Anpu from Delhi, Inkbrushnme, Sameer Kulavoor and Siddhartha Kararwal from Mumbai and international artists Artez from Serbia, Dan Goldman + Ram Devineni from USA, Remed from France, were also featured.
What’s the thing we have with these patterns of repetitive elongated segments? We seem to love the look of the barcode. Although stripes, monochrome or technicolour, and timber or metal slats and strips have been used by designers since the beginning of time as striped wallpaper, upholstery and the like, and even those LED strips lighting up from concealed positions under stairs and POP have now come to be old hash, we still don’t seem to tire of ‘em stripes! And this seemingly old and simple technique of treatment seems to lend itself unceasingly to endless reinventions in any day and age. Well, with many projects on the latest list of best interiors brought out by the INSIDE World Interiors for 2016 using this stripe-y feature; it seems quite the flavour of the season…
A thought provoking name, Design Equilibrium is a design studio founded by a Haryana-based architect Dhruv Sarveshwar Lal in the year 2012. Their team consists of young, energetic and dynamic architects, inspired by the principles of light, art & proportions as explored by the legendary architect Le Corbusier.
Translating their principles into practice, the studio has recently completed the interiors of a casual restaurant ‘Bigwich’ in Chandigarh. Informal, dynamic, experimental, interesting – are just the first few words one can associate with the interiors of this restaurant.
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