Park Yourself envisions a playful series of instagrammable “People Parking Lots” to engage people in various play and rest positions. Designed through anthropometry, this installation calls for the participation of people to “come alive”, where people from all walks of life can position themselves within the frames for poses and photography opportunities.
1. What are the key elements of Spatial Design?
Park Yourself is built upon community interactivity, context adaptability and pandemic-resilient principles that are integral to effective placemaking.
The “People Parking Lots” are vibrant and colourful, offering a cheerful and welcoming space for individuals and groups to engage with one another while maintaining social distancing practices. The universal form and adaptable modular design allow it to effectively revitalise underutilised public spaces in diverse contexts and locations.
Overall, the project is dedicated to improving social activity, transforming public spaces into vibrant, inclusive and community-oriented spaces.
2. What is your favourite Spatial Design trend right now?
There is a growing emphasis on pandemic-resilient designs. The pandemic has transformed the way people use public spaces and highlighted the need for adaptability, creativity and safety. Open, versatile and interactive public spaces are becoming increasingly popular as they cater to the evolving needs of our society.
Aligning with this trend, Park Yourself cultivates an interactive and engaging experience while promoting social distancing and safety. The placement of frames provides a visual guide for users to maintain safe distances from one another.
We believe that this trend will continue to shape the design of public spaces in the post-pandemic era, accentuating the importance of bringing people together safely in a vibrant and creative environment.
3. What was the most difficult moment when developing your idea?
One of the most challenging aspects in developing Park Yourself was ensuring that the frames fit the average size of adults and children.
The process first involves meticulously drafting the silhouettes and dimensions of the frames that align with the human “scale”. To perfect them, we conducted hands-on testing within the neighbourhood by pinning life-sized drawings to the wall and inviting strangers to stand within the shapes. These amendments allowed us to fine-tune the design to ensure it was comfortable, accessible and safe for users.
4. What are some new things that you learned about yourself and the users as you were designing?
Through the design process, we had initial concerns that the cushions might be taken away and were deciding on whether to secure them down to the installation or leave them scattered.
However, during our soft launch, we observed something surprising. Children were having a great time placing the cushions around, building “pillow forts” and “stepping stones”. Their creativity flourished, introducing an unexpected layer of interactivity and enjoyment to the installation. This observation finalised our decision to leave the cushions as loose items.
It was a pleasant surprise that all cushions were accounted for, highlighting the community’s civic-mindedness and responsibility. This experience taught us the value of trusting the community.
5. What are your future plans?
Our future plans include expanding the Park Yourself concept by developing a second version of deployment in a broader range of underutilised and diverse environments. We are excited to continue revitalising public spaces and promoting the message of creative and interactive design.
6. What was the inspiration behind your product/design/idea?
During the pandemic, a lot of public spaces and playgrounds were closed. So we asked ourselves, “How can we design an installation in a public space that brings people together in a pandemic, while maintaining safe-distancing measures?”.
This question became the inspiration behind Park Yourself’s response to create spaces that unites people while adhering to social distancing protocols during the pandemic. Our aim is to merge the social distancing in a playful, interactive and vibrant manner. In other words, we wanted to bring the “social” into “social distancing”.
7. What is your design superpower?
Our design superpower is the ability to transform ordinary spaces into an extraordinary experience. We see the hidden potential in public areas and turn them into vibrant, engaging and memorable spaces.
This allows us to create designs that capture people’s imagination and invite them to participate and make long-lasting memories. We believe that design should evoke emotions and spark creativity.
7. What is the best part about your job?
The best part about our job is witnessing the positive impact of our designs on the community. Seeing families, friends and individuals come together to enjoy and interact with Park Yourself brings a sense of fulfilment and joy.
We also enjoy sharing our design strategies and ethos with students and the creative industry, contributing to a culture of creative and interactive public space design.